Annual Carnival: Haitians Gear up for Pomp, Pageantry

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This year, the Mardi Gras festivities are seen as controversial in a country struggling with gang violence, kidnappings and political unrest.

“I could go to China to take that (raw textiles) basically because, I know I will work with that, with more money but we don’t have money. But in the last minute, we know that we are still going to be called (by the government) anyway. As producers we don’t have a place where we can go to borrow money”, Arnelle Laguerre, a designer said.

The colorful parade generates money and some say much of those funds are badly needed in the Caribbean nation. For others, the merrymaking is wildly misplaced.

“If the carnival ends today or tomorrow they should start thinking about the carnival for next year. Start thinking about things like the infrastructure, the road where they will have the carnival procession, clothes for children, the ambiance and money the children will need. Think about the children who are dancing and the cash required for their transportation”, dance instructor, Pierre Kerense said.

There has been damage done to parade stands and several vehicles. This has prompted calls for the carnival to be cancelled for the second year in a row.

But Haitian Prime Minister, Jean-Michel Lapin is having none of it.

He said festivities would go ahead as scheduled and along the usual route.

Rehearsals have been taking place in the Haitian capital of Port-au-prince for the February 23- 25 event.

The carnival is the most intense period for Haiti’s dressmakers as it involves parties and other culturally related gatherings.

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