CARNIVAL FOR INDEPENDENCE?
All things considered, there will be no pre-Lent T&T Carnival in 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus far, there have been conflicting opinions on the subject by some of the major players in carnival with the most likely scenario being a carnival in August, under strict Ministry of Health protocols.
In 2022 our republic commemorates its 60th anniversary of Independence, a significant milestone if ever there's one. If a carnival is to be held next year, why not have a premier celebration that coincides with this milestone of nationhood? Pitching in on the ongoing Carnival 2022 narrative, Wee International mas bandleader Ricky Davidson said: "It is totally impossible to have a carnival in 2022. There is nothing we can put in place to separate the vaccinated from the non vaccinated.
"This is a country of hungry carnival people who are dying for a carnival. Let’s control the spread, bring the country to a better place then we do Carnival 2023 looks like the year for it to happen."
I agree with Davidson, three months is woefully too short a period to plan and produce any semblance of a T&T Carnival.
Premier events promoter Randy Glasgow has another point of view and said: "I strongly feel we are in no position to be talking about a carnival of any kind in February.
"We are suggesting NCC first do a feasibility study to stage a hybrid version of Carnival 2022 in August or September, not clashing with Carnivals in New York and London if they are staging one.
"At this hybrid version, we must ensure, once funding is coming from government, our Soca artistes, steel pan players, calypsonians, the mas fraternity, Chutney singers and other creatives be the main beneficiaries of any government financial contribution.
"For this Carnival 2022 hybrid version, let's create some carnival history, doing things creatively different, dynamic over a two or three-week duration and in effect starting the marketing and promotion for the festival 2023 grand return. "Let's have Carnival-related entertainment events and shows across the nation, using designated safe zone venues and facilities.
"Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival is like what the football World Cup is to Fifa. With meaningful dialogue, no foreign carnival body would ever think of trying to compete with the mecca of Carnival on its traditional days prior to Lent."
This partially supports Davidson's idea. But, given the current uptick of deaths and positive cases, T&T Carnival 2023 seems to be the most sensible solution. Perhaps, as a litmus test, government and interest group may be better off piggy-backing off Shell Invaders' Republic Day J'Ouvert in September?
In six months, May 2022, we will have a better handle on the current dilemma, giving all a four-month window to plan a Republic Day Carnival.
(Photos courtesy Wee International)