Published On: Thu, May 4th, 2023


By Hilbert Haar

Party for Progress-leader Melissa Gumbs has called political advertising during Carnival “tacky.” It is a clear reference to the overwhelming presence of Vision for St. Maarten, the banner chosen by the exonerated former director of the port, Mark Mingo who will be a candidate for the United People’s party (UP) during the next elections.

Mingo’s decision to choose the Carnival-platform to make his future presence in the political arena known is of course a clever one but the question is now whether this will have consequences for future Carnival-events.

The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation has opened the door for other parties to do the same in the future and because original ideas are hard to come by (the monkey see – monkey do effect) you can bet your bottom dollar that Mingo’s initiative will easily find many followers. This would make future grand parades look more like a political than cultural manifestations and one may well wonder how that would look like.

The National Alliance could pick up its old campaign slogan Follow the White Line (any association with cocaine is unintended) and the Democratic Party could hit back with a slogan like Shed Light and People will Progress (any association with load shedding at GEBE is completely coincidental). The United St. Maarten party (USp) would have to poke fun at some of its notorious (ex) members with something like True Conviction. The Party for Progress would probably use something like Progress? What Progress?

Is this what people want from what is more often than not called the most important cultural event of the year? Personally, I don’t think so.

It will of course be interesting to see if Carnival-advertising, as practiced by Mark Mingo, will have any effect on the outcome of the next elections. He sure has set an interesting precedent and the SCDF will have a hard time denying other political parties to do the same thing in the future.

Or maybe it could come out right now, saying it has made a terrible mistake by allowing politics to mix with Carnival and that future political advertising will absolutely not be permitted.

Wait for it. That is not going to happen.


Publisher’s note: Maybe next carnival we will see a politician getting married during the grand parade. Wait for it!