Carnival advisory 2013


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Gentle reminder for parents and caregivers

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Carnival advisory 2013

  1. 1. “A festive…but safe September for our children” As the country prepares to enjoy the 2013 September Celebrations the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) and the Special Envoy for Women and Children would like to take this opportunity to advise all participating groups and parents of children participating in the various events of safety precautions that all should take to ensure our children can enjoy this season in an age-appropriate and protected manner. The month of September offers the nation a colorful opportunity to teach children about their national heritage and identity. It is their right to have this experience but it is our responsibility to ensure that it is an empowering one that reinforces positive messages about their love for country, their self worth and individual potential. As the 2013 Carnival Road March continues to grow in significance among our citizens; participating groups should reflect on how to maximize the positive impact of carnival on children. There are some lessons to be learnt from the region that are worthy of our consideration. For instance, in other countries like Trinidad, the children’s carnival occurs on a separate day. This separation from the adult carnival allows participating children the opportunity to experience carnival in an age-appropriate manner that enriches their cultural identity without exposing them to in-appropriate behaviors. Additionally, some countries like Grenada, allows a higher level of participation of children by providing the space for them to give input into the development of their costumes and even the choreography for their groups. The general approach taken in the region is to use the carnival experience to encourage children to explore their creativity and showcase their artistic abilities in a manner that ensures the growth of the event for future generations. In most countries there are guidelines that govern children’s participation in carnival. In Belize, there are some agreed measures to ensure carnival is both a positive and enriching experience for children. These require participating groups to:- (a) Ensure that all children participating in the road march have provided organizers with written permission/consent from parent or guardian (b) Ensure that bands allow time for exercise to prepare children for the length of the road march (c) Ensure that children are properly hydrated and that healthy snack, such as fruits, are provided to them during the road march
  2. 2. (d) Ensure that children are not lost or abducted by putting in place safety measures for the movement of children, both to and from, the road march (e) Ensure no inappropriate display of children’s bodies (f) Ensure no lewd or suggestive movements from children (g) Ensure no vulgar or disrespectful lyrics in music (h) Ensure that costumes cover the navel and are knee length (i) Ensure costumes are no lower than the length of a standard bike shorts As each family enjoys the other festivities planned for this month, parents and caregivers also have an important role in ensuring the safety of their children. In the hustle and bustle of the various events parents and caregivers should not lose sight of their responsibility to ensuring the safety of children. We can reduce the number of incidents involving children by following these precautions:- a) Ensure that children do not attend adult events b) Ensure that children are not left home unattended nor in the care of strangers c) Ensure that an adult accompanies children to public restrooms d) Ensure children are monitored and kept nearby, especially at events with large crowds where they can easily wander off and get lost e) Ensure that children know their full names, parent’s name, address and a contact number in the event they are separated from them The NCFC and SEWC take this opportunity to also congratulate the organizers of the various September celebration festivities for their efforts to provide family friendly fun entertainment during this festive season. These events are very important to our development as a nation as they offer our families the time to bond and strengthen their relationships. It also teaches our children about their heritage and nurtures the patriotism needed to build active citizenry. Let us make this a memorable celebration month where our children are inspired by the beauty and richness that is the Belizean culture. ***