Former senator and government minister Joan Yuille-Williams was not up for any of the awards at Tuesday’s National Carnival Band’s Association (NCBA) prize-distribution ceremony held at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s. But that did not stop culture lovers from issuing her with a warm welcome and ultimately showering her with kudos, as communicated in sustained and rapturous applause.
Sharon Pitt, the event’s co-master of ceremonies (Wendell Ettienne shared the announcing duties) announced that Yuille-Williams would present awards in the category titled Queen of Carnival. Yuille-Williams rose gracefully from her VIP seat at the front of the hall, making her way centre-stage to present accolades to contestants, whose works of mas and ultimate portrayal of these wondrous creations, during Carnival 2012, delighted all who witnessed them.
Stepping evenly across the hall, with her signature poise, the gathering showed their adulation for the former Parliamentarian, fondly referred to as “Aunty Joan.” By this time, Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters had left the ceremony citing a prior engagement, but he did use his time at the event to outline his ministry’s aim for the creative industry, as well as present awards.
During her time in public office, Yuille-Williams served as the Minister with responsibility for Culture, Community Development and Gender Affairs under the Patrick Manning-led People’s National Movement government. But judging from the reception she got, it was now clear for this ex-minister, that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder.