PHILIPSBURG:--- As the largest lessee of the St. Maarten Festival Village, both in terms of the event of Carnival and financial commitments to the venue, the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Monday said it hopes to get the opportunity to meet with the government prior to any decision to relocate permanent vendors inside the Village.
The foundation said it has come to its attention that the Village is a probable, not definite, venue for the relocation of vendors from along Pondfill. “If that is true, then we hope the foundation would be consulted before such a move is made considering the major operational, traditional and financial implications that would be at stake,” the foundation said.
The foundation explained that many realities have to be considered, including most importantly, Carnival’s right to an empty Village as the lessee of the Venue. This is why there is a standing practice that booth holders that operate in the Festival Village outside of the Carnival season, must vacate the Village by March 31 every year to allow Carnival’s booth holders to move as the SCDF takes control of the Village from April 1 until mid-May, annually.
Additionally, all of its booth locations have been allotted for Carnival 2022 and, in some contractual cases, beyond 2022. “So the financial implications for individual booth holders, sponsors, and the foundation are evident. Moreover, the foundation has for years employed a random rotation policy of giving as many people as it can the opportunity to operate a booth in the Carnival season.
“It’s a people festival. It’s a tradition to bring new developments and new ideas into the Village to maintain its unique characteristics for residents and visitors alike. Nobody is permanent in the Village for Carnival on an annual basis,” the foundation explained.
The foundation said that it already has to deal with several government-imposed restrictions in the Village that makes it challenging to generate income to ensure self-sustainability. Many of which were never discussed with the foundation, the largest users of the venue. “Coming off of two years without the festival and the financial hole that has set us and some of our stakeholders in, we hope that doesn’t repeat itself this time around,” the foundation concluded.