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Monday, February 11, 2013

Government of Haiti supports Carnival's musical diversity and refutes charges of censorship

 Every year the Carnival in Cap Haitien provides an outlet to Haitians from all walks of life to participate in a fun filled event that allows them to put aside their daily worries.  The Carnival is also an event where Haitians are given carte blanche to criticize their leaders and their government.  

Unfortunately some recent media coverage of this year's Carnival has raised doubts about the government's commitment to the musical diversity and the political tolerance that are such an important part of the event.

The Government of Haiti strongly refutes any suggestion that carnival songs or music has been censored. All carnival songs are in play on radio stations without limitation, reaching 10 million Haitians all over the country with no interference from government.

The selection of bands for the carnival parade is complicated by a limited number of 'chars', the need for each band to raise considerable private sponsorship, consideration of the carnival theme, which this year is 'environment' and the need to give new artists their chance and opportunity to participate. This unfortunately means unavoidable disappointment for some groups each year.

While there is a tradition of criticism and protest in Carnival music, it is also worth noting that in a recent independently run nationwide poll, over 70% of Haitians surveyed have confidence in the government notwithstanding the grave challenges the country faces.

Carnival is the best of Haiti, music, culture, community - an event in which there are no spectators, and where everyone is a participant. The Government of Haiti is working hard to ensure that Carnival in Cap Haitien is a secure and successful event. Bonne fete!'