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Improved Christmas Festival and Effective Advertising Can keep Delta and Other Airlines Coming to St. Croix
by Carmelo Rivera

Carmelo Rivera is a licensed Management and HR Consultant.
Carmelo Rivera is a licensed Management and HR Consultant.
      The St. Croix Festival can be a spectacular world class event that can attract hordes of people from everywhere. It can be as nice or better than the St. Thomas Carnival. It can be just as intensely entertaining or even better than the weekend SINBAD shindig. It can be the most dazzling and festive cultural event in the entire Caribbean.
      Thousands and thousands of people could flock through our new airport for a well-earned holiday break and escape from the northern winter. This annual event can be the major economic booster to rekindle the St. Croix entertainment and cultural tourism economy. Delta and other airlines could be packed with passengers coming here.
      Of course, doing what we have always done in the past for the St. Croix Festival is not going to work. We must have an improved product. Unfortunately, each year, we assemble an ad hoc festival committee that frantically scrambles together for a few weeks and the predictable results are a last-minute makeshift scheme devoid of quality and diversity. Actually,we end up with a raggedy and poorly planned parade and a few ugly-looking plywood shacks slapped together and placed at the dusty ballpark for the post-Christmas season. The staging, acoustics, lighting and scheduling of the Village activities are haphazard and poorly organized.
      The rum and johnnycakes village tends to look more like a collection of shacks from an underdeveloped country. It makes you wonder what have we learned in all these years of festival planning. No wonder we are such economic predicament. We seem to have a knack for repeating the same dumb mistakes. The quality of the village and the entertainment were nicer when I was child in Frederiksted.
      The beginning of the new millenium is a perfect time for parting with the failed past and for starting anew. A festival renaissance is a great way to start working together for a common purpose--the betterment of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands economy.
      Here are some suggestions to make our festival a spectacularly successful event:
      Start planning immediately. There are only few months left before the Christmas holidays.
      Let us improve the festival village. Our village should look like a Christmas theme park. The festival village and parade should be spectacular and awesome events like we've never seen before on St. Croix.
      Let's get our architects, designers, planners and our creative people involved to plan and design an aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable village.
      The village should be on nicely paved grounds adorned with palm trees, good lighting and each booth should be an artistic and cultural expression--certainly more than just the usual rum and johnnycake shacks.
      Use experienced professional event planners and promptly assemble a full-time working group. It would be wise to engage an event planning expert, preferably from a big time entertainment and planning outfit, to help spearhead the development, financing, coordination and management of this grand event.
      Insist that our booth operators and vendors be more creative with their cuisine and their presentations. Besides the traditional home cooking, our professional restaurateurs should also get involved in operating booths.
      Advertise the festival internationally and draw people from everywhere.
      Think self-sufficiency. The event must generate money to pay for itself. Like the SINBAD event, the festival should be mostly private sector financed and operated with the full cooperation of the public sector. We should not be coy about charging a reasonable fee for some of the events to defray expenses. We cannot expect to offer everything for free.
      Think quality and have cultural and musical variety. Insist on quality and diversity for everything associated with this event. Every night at the village should be filled with wholesome family entertainment emphasizing our best of the Caribbean and international community. There should be musical variety and well-staged events with quality sound systems. Musical and cultural dance groups from throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere should be invited and hired to participate.
      Build on some of our recent successes like the Jazz Festival, Harbor Night and Jump-up.
      Preserve the village structure for other cultural events. Perhaps, we should make the village a permanent year-round place for special cultural events-such as the Virgin Islands & Puerto Rican Friendship and Eastern Caribbean celebrations.
      Light up St. Croix! Place lots of white lights and colorful lights everywhere throughout the island especially in strategic places like the Market Square in Christiansted and across the waterfronts.
      Plan ample parking, security, clean bathrooms, and other basic conveniences.
      Put the new infrastructure to good use. By December, we should have some new amenities ready to use on St. Croix such as a new boardwalk, a new hotel and a new casino; and most importantly, a vastly improved airport with more incoming stateside flights.
      Keep the village crimeless and spotless with security in all areas and an uniformed cleaning crew working continuously throughout the event.
      Like years ago, open the village early, preferably before Christmas and close on the sixth of January or later.
      Set up a festival management booth in the village to have ongoing coordination. And from the start, closely monitor every aspect of the festival for continuous quality improvement to make sure this venture works!
     
     
     

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   The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) carries out the Secretary of the Interior's responsibilities for the insular areas such as the Virgin Islands. These responsibilities include providing the insular areas with financial assistance for government operations and needed infrastructure, and providing technical assistance and advisory services. This assistance is a recognition that local tax revenues and other Federal programs are insufficient to meet the unique needs of the insular areas. The Secretary's responsibilities also require coordination with other Federal agencies to develop insular policy positions and to enunciate the Administration's position in discussions with the Congress and the insular governments.
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My Millenium Wish List for the Virgin Islands
   Thinkng about the future of the Virgin Islands? This article contains ten major items this writer wishes for the US Virgin Islands in the new millenium. Among these are--Business growth and prosperity; Education advancement and reform; Reinvented government; Reliable and modern infrastructure; Quality and affordable healthcare; Precious environment; Improved neighborhoods and housing communities; Happy, peaceful and caring community; Genuine futurists, visionaries and strategic planners to plot our future; and Renewed faith and reconnection with our maker and spiritual being. What's on your wish list?
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   One of our concerned readers claims to have been informed that because of the sheer size of the Social Security Administration this agency is no where near ready for Y2K. She urges everyone to get a copy of their earnings and pay out records. (Note: We normally do not publish these types of letters, but this one certainly had an important public reminder that we thought merited publication).
  
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   According to Lt. Governor Frank Brogan, "Florida is committed to maintaining, expanding and diversifying its space industry by providing the most competitive business environment possible."
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Improved Christmas Festival and Effective Advertising Can keep Delta and Other Airlines Coming to St. Croix Carmelo Rivera is a licensed Management and HR Consultant.
   To keep Delta and other commercial airlines flying to St. Croix beyond 1999 does not take much imagination--just improve the St. Croix Festival and tourism product. Give tourists good reasons to come here. Thousands and thousands of people could flock through our new airport for a well-earned holiday break and escape from the northern winter. Our Festival can be the economic booster to rekindle the St. Croix entertainment and cultural tourism economy.
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