New SCDF President Radjouki:Bringing Carnival back to its roots


New SCDF President Radjouki Bringing Carnival Back To Its Roots

New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots

The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) elected a new President recently in the person of 23-year Carnival veteran Edwardo Radjouki who immediately declared that “Carnival has gotten too far away from its roots, too far from who we are” and the foundation must refocus on the further cultural development of the festival, exclusively.

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Radjouki has been a mainstay in Carnival operations for over two decades and prior to that was well known as a reveler who won multiple King of The Band competitions with his majestic costume pieces.

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He said under his tenure and with the assistance of a solid team, he aims to re-position the SCDF to focus on its core duties of developing Carnival through its cultural strengths, thereby saving many aspects of the festival that are in desperate need of revival.

New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots

New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots


A key part of this approach, he explained, is to leave international events to international promoters. “That above all is not our core purpose. Of course we want Carnival to continue to be the major economic driver that it is, but not at the expense of our culture and cultural events. We have to know that our culture is powerful and vibrant. The foundation’s mission is to use this vibrant culture to attract visitors to the island and more importantly showcase the talent and skill we have here. International shows are welcomed in Carnival, but they should complement the culture of the festival, not the other way around,” he said.

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In other words, the SCDF will not host any international events but will leave those concerts to concert promoters. The SCDF instead will look to reviving and strengthening cultural events such as the Junior Calypso Competition.
“The youth aspects in Carnival need attention. The Junior Calypso, Junior Pageant, Youth Extravaganza, Youth Parade have all fallen off significantly. If we are to self-reflect, we placed too much energy and focus on things others wanted us to do. The SCDF is filled with people with significant Carnival experience and we have to put that experience back to work for our culture before we lose it. It must start with our youth. Not just to get them participating again, but we must execute programs that will instill an appreciation for culture and the role Carnival plays in our culture. We have our work cut out for us but we will be focused,” Radjouki said.

New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots
New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots


He added that he will engage the Culture Department and all schools to encourage them to get children involved in creating costumes to participate in the children parade. “Arts and crafts in our schools is important, or as we used to call it ‘handycraft’. The children should be included in depicting St. Maarten’s culture to the world through their own creativity at school. We will work very hard on this aspect,” he noted.
Radjouki also noted that the foundation will be addressing its challenging financial position after the pandemic and a Carnival year in 2022 that was further undermined and complicated by government’s ill-fated attempt to put the festival on bid.


“Many people do not understand the gravity of what the government did to the foundation. Their efforts literally crippled us financially and we are still dealing with the aftermath of that. We have a serious backlog of payments to service providers, payments of prizes to participants and performers, it is a major challenge.

We have communicated to these folks that we are working on resolving these arrears and we are confident in our plan moving forward that we will avoid such pitfalls in the future.

We are so grateful for the patience extended to us and I would like to assure everyone that we will do good by them within short. The foundation had to fight an unplanned battle during and after Carnival,” Radjouki said.
The rest of the board of the SCDF remained mostly in-tact with some reshuffling. Franciane Peterson returns as Secretary and Mike Granger as Treasurer.

The President, Treasurer and Secretary form the Executive Board of the SCDF. The rest of the board is comprised of Immediate past President Alston Lourens who is now the Vice President with Roland Rommy, Angela Colli, Vida Boyrard, Paula Gordon and Marie Gittens returning as board members. The SCDF also welcomed a new associate member to the board in the person of long-time Carnival volunteer Renasha Richardson.


“I don’t want to be misunderstood. Will we work with people who want to use Carnival as a vehicle to promote St. Maarten? Yes. Will we have international shows? Yes. Are we open to new and creative ideas? Absolutely. But we will elevate our culture even more in the festival. Our past President did a wonderful job of this with our Cultural Night, Pan Explosion, Cultural Parade, Village Cook-Up and more. Now we focus on reviving, enhancing, and getting back to who we are,” Radjouki concluded.


The foundation opened registration for Carnival 2023 in July of this year and has already announced the dates for Carnival 2023 which will run from April 14 to May 3, 2023. The schedule for Carnival 2023 will be launched in the next few weeks.

New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots

News Release

New SCDF President Radjouki:
Bringing Carnival back to its roots

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