Section of the crowd gatherd for the opening of Sugar Mas 48. Seated at the front right to left- ambassadors for the National Carnival Queen Pageant, National Carnival Swimsuit Competition and National Carnival Mr. GQ Competition (official Sugar Mas 48 photo)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 22nd November 2019) –
 In observation of this year’s winning theme ‘Why Wait? Let’s Celebrate Sugar Mas 48.’, the annual festivity was officially opened on Friday 15th November 2019 before a massive crowd gathered at The Circus in the heart of the island’s capital Basseterre.

Among the highlights of the night saw the official introduction and sponsorship sashing of 24 contestants collectively for the National Carnival Queen Pageant, National Carnival Swimsuit Competition, National Carnival Mr. GQ Competition and National Carnival Talented Teen Pageant.

Veteran masquerader John James Thomas was introduced as the Grand Carnival Marshall. Members of the audience were also treated to designs of the Junior Carnival costumes paraded onstage by tiny tots to teens.

Sub committee chairpersons for the various event were introduced by Carnival Chairman Noah Mills.

Mills, during his opening remarks for the event, disclosed that registration numbers for troupes have increased this time around.

“We’re delighted to announce that all of the registration numbers have been up. What is going to be a grand parade route which would serve and would bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people. [For] J’ouvert we also have an expansion where the number of troupes will increase, and across J’ouvert and grand parade for the first time you will see a t-shirt mas. This year we are hoping to bring back even brass bands on the street as well as steel pan.”

Mills continued: “We’ve also extended invitations where I’ve been informed that Chatter Box- an Antiguan brand- is coming to St.Kitts with a shipload of people for J’ouvert so we the Kittitian s and Nevisians will be showing them how we party for J’ouvert. Additionally, because of our networking regionally, we’ve been travelling to Trinidad to Antigua. In the summer if this year we took masquerades and Cayon Bull and Huggins Masquerade to Antigua. They were able to perform live on the streets (and) live onstage. We also took Rucas and the More Band to (French) St.Martin) and this year we’re welcoming a delegation from Antigua including the Minister Culture, the Director of Culture, the Chairperson of Carnival and a folkloric troupe and that is because all of the networking that the Ministry, the Department (of Culture) and the Carnival Committee have been putting their heads together and ensuring that Carnival is no longer a local product but an international and cultural and tourism product.”

Ambassador Jonel Powel gave remarks on behalf of the Minister of Culture and Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards who was reportedly off island at the time.

He described the new slogan as a “fitting theme for this year’s carnival” whilst applauding “the bright spark of Ms.Janet Johnson.”

 “And so tonight the wait is over. We’re here to open carnival 2019 2020, Sugar Mas 48,” he commented.

 A mas player, Powell encouraged members of the public to “to join me and everybody else. It is truly something to behold. It is a special experience. Many say that St. Kitts has the best Jouvert in the Caribbean and I believe that, and we need to maintain that standard

 Additionally, he thanked sponsors for coming onboard noting “Alot of this cannot happen just by the contributions of the federal government but we need the participation if our sponsors…”

 He also expressed gratitude to the carnival competition participants as well as event volunteers.

 “We expect a greater and better carnival thank before. I was happy to hear the comments of the chairman in terms of increased participation…,” he added.

 The contestants of the National Carnival Queen Pageant in the order of appearance are: Ambassador Jacynthia Tesheira (Miss St Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank), Tywana Cranston (Miss SKN Development Bank), Kalia Daniel (Miss SCASPA), Nakita Thibou (Miss Universal Caribbean University), Hardai Baley (Miss Carib Brewery SKN Ltd.) and Sheniqua Cannonier (Miss KOSCAB Ltd.).

The six swimsuit delegates: Tasia Jones (The Soup Café), Onique Phipps ( Solid Waste Management),T’Quani McDowell (Carib Brewery SKN Ltd.), Talisha Laudat (Universal Caribbean University), Avis Glasgow (St. Kitts Nevis Development Bank) and Uniqueka Estridge (Royal St. Kitts Hotel).

The six GQ competitors: Xavier Sam ( Royal St. Kitts Hotel), Kemar Bigby (Chameleon Media),Brandon Cox (Vallie’s Tent Rental), Earl Brotherson (Universal Caribbean University),St. Clair Rawlins ( ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation) and Brian Perdereaux ( The Cable).

Talented Teen ambassadors: Shakira Browne of ICCS ( New Generation Engineering), Shanika Johnson of WAHS (Allies Construction), Ashley Wilson of CEMSS ( KOSCAB Ltd.), Shai-Ann Tyson of GSS (Grey’s Legal Chambers), Quniecia Gilbert of CHS (Royal St. Kitts Hotel) and Xyarra Wilson of BHS (Dr. Duane Hendrickson).

Notably, for the sashing of ambassadors (with the exception of the teenage competitors), a few participants were chosen in advance by their employer while the others pick from a raffle bowl in getting their sponsor.

The event climaxed with the female calypso finals with Miss Independent securing a back to back win.