Sherill-Ann Mason-Haywood, the new head of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora Committee of New York, has described as a success Saturday’s launch of Vincy Mas in New York.
“The event drew hundreds of Vincentians to the FOCH and scores of non-Vincentians who were drawn in by the sound of sweet pan music,” Mason-Haywood told Caribbean Life on Sunday, referring to the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, where the event was held to coincide with the official launch of Vincy Mas in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Video displays of previous carnival actions and this year’s mas bands presentations were on display throughout the event,” added Mason-Haywood, who succeeded her husband, Maxwell Haywood, as chairman of the group, on his death from cancer.
At Saturday’s New York launch, Mason-Haywood said performances came from, among others: Brooklyn 20th Century Steel Orchestra; Don Radix; John Dougan; Oscar James; Hymn legend;
Curtis C; Panchant (Garifuna award-winning artiste);Wiseguy; Dennis Bowman (of Blaksand fame); Fyah Empress and Naphtali.
Mason-Haywood said there were also costume band displays, mainly from Adrenaline, Carnival Players International, Nelson Bloc; and SVG Connect.
In addition, she said there were displays by promoters of private events, the SVG Diaspora Committee, the SVG New York Tourism Office and Caribbean Airlines.
Local Vincentian cuisine, treats and drinks were on sale. Djs Supa Eyes, Young G and Ez Soundz provided music.
The event, hosted by the Diaspora Committee’s Cultural Association, CAVUSA, heard remarks from CAVUSA chairman Awusu Slater and Mason-Haywood.
“The event as a success in volunteerism in the Diaspora,” Mas-Haywood said. “Everyone who participated did so in pure love for country and for the promotion of our country’s premier cultural festival, Vincy Mas.
“We will continue to support CDC [local Carnival Development Committee] and to forge an even stronger partnership in the years to come,” she added.
Vincy Mas, the premier cultural festival in SVG, which is dubbed the “hottest carnival in the Caribbean,” runs from June 29 to July 10.
The Committee said this new partnership with CDC emerged after Ainsley Primus, a Brooklyn-based Vincentian cultural organizer, who had previously spearheaded the annual launch, “gave up the project due to personal reasons.
“CAVUSA stepped in and committed to building on Primus’ efforts,” the statement said. “CAVUSA secured the endorsement of the Ministry of Tourism and CDC, and has worked in close collaboration with chair of the CDC, Ricky Adams, and other members of the committee to ensure the success of the event.
The support for Vincy Mas is “a strategic developmental focus of the Diaspora Committee and CAVUSA, who have proposed the hosting of a ‘Carnival as Economic Development’ forum for key stakeholders in the aftermath of the carnival,” the statement said.
“The ultimate goal is to increase the promotion and packaging of Vincy Mas to Vincentians and non-Vincentians alike, and to increase the visitors to the shores of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the statement said.