Friday 19 January, 2018

Zika in focus for Red Cross Children's Carnival

 The 2018 Red Cross Children's Carnival will include a new categories focused on the Zika virus.

Speaking at the launch of the event, George Singh, CEO of Southex Promotions who took over the production of the kiddies mas in 2017, said the new category is meant to educate young people about the mosquito-borne virus and increase volunteers for the Red Cross, among other things.

"In February 2016 the World Health Organisation declared the Zika virus to be a global public health emergency. By September 2016, the US Congress had allocated $1.1 Billion USD to help fight the spread and effects of the Zika virus. USAID has also allocated $145.5M USD to the region's fight and to provide targeted support through the IFRC within the Latin American and Caribbean region," Singh said.

The prizes for the three Zika categories will be $5,000 in cash for each one.

Singh said since his company took over the production of the Red Cross Children's Carnival they have made several improvements to the product. 

"In 2017, one of the first things we did was request a meeting with all the band leaders. In the 62 year history of the event, this was never done. We did not only have one meeting with them but four meetings including a site visit at the QPS, outlining the new layout," said Singh.

"In 2017, we also had meetings with the judges, establishing the criteria for judging, and sharing this criteria with the bandleaders. This was also never done in the past."

Singh said sponsorship also went to new levels with  FLOW and NLCB each giving in excess of $100K to the event.

"Budgets were cut by more than 60 percent in total which became critical in a challenging year. All things compared, reduced expenses, increases in sponsorship in some areas, we were able to maintain profit levels even with a professional event manager on board," he said. 

In 2018-2019, he said, the nation will see a complete re-imaging of the event with new ideas and new energy and a design element to be introduced via a competition to schools. 

The Red Cross Children's Carnival will be held at the Queens Park Savannah on Saturday, February 3 and entrance for kids will be free all day long, with parents paying a nominal fee at the gate.