The Public Entity of St. Eustatius has decided that, in the interest of public health, the Statia’s 2020 Carnival celebrations are cancelled indefinitely. Although meetings were held with the Carnival Foundation, Musical Foundation and the St. Eustatius Lions Club, to dialogue on different scenarios (local carnival or Carnival later in the year) the Executive Council is of the opinion to continue with Carnival preparations would be an irresponsible thing to do given the times in which we are living. “Carnival is the largest cultural festival. The manner in which Carnival is celebrated will not allow for social distancing, which is one of the main precautionary measures necessary to prevent the spread of the corona virus. There will be more opportunities in the future to celebrate Carnival.”, says Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.
Annually, the Public Entity is one of the main contributors to Statia’s Carnival. Taking into account the negative impact, the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic is already having on the economy of St. Eustatius and also the anticipated decline in income the Public Entity will experience as a direct result of this, it would be irresponsible to grant permission for Carnival in any form. “Local businesses are already suffering. Some residents already have less money to spend. It would be counterproductive for the business sector and community to spend limited resources on Carnival 2020”.
The local authority has further reached out to the Dutch Central Government for support which has been granted through an Emergency Package and additional measures to help the local government and employers. Organizing Carnival in 2020 would be sending the wrong message on every level. Other relevant parties consulted included the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Brigade (BKCN), Caribbean Netherlands Police Department (KPCN), The Public Health Department (GGD). Island Policy Team (EBT) and the Advisory Council. The report of the Dutch Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) has also played a very important role in the decision that has been taken.