CARNIVAL IN COVID-19
Would there be any semblance of Carnival 2022, originally scheduled for Monday, February 28th and Tuesday, March 1st? Well, a few of the heavy hitters in mas have spoken but it's still anyone's guess.
People are now waiting to hear what Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO) and Pan Trinbago have to say.
It goes without saying that, given the ongoing health concerns and restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no way that carnival as we know it can be held in three months. Several suggestions have been made by some of the main players in mas, including designating the Queen's Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain as a Safe Zone for a display of costumes and a Parade of Bands.
There is no way I see this happening given the nature of my people.
With health protocols demanding participation only by the vaccinated, I feel that the Socadrome in Woodbrook is the best venue for any type of mas as it offers complete security as well as strategic points of entry for scanning vaccination cards.
But, there are myriad challenges even at the Socadrome for masqueraders and patrons alike. What happens before and after a band parades? Where will there be assembly points for masqueraders? What happens to the music trailers before and after? Will DJs be allowed to play music on the streets?
Mas is just one component of Carnival but, let me briefly touch on two others, pan and calypso.
There is no way I can see Pan Trinbago staging any Panorama competition, given the very nature of the event. Maybe, one or two pan shows, also with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols observed, can be held?
Then, there's calypso? In recent years, we've seen a significant reduction in attendance at calypso tents, even competitions. These events, with their long-winded programs, are simply no longer attractive. But, calypso productions and competitions, attended only by the vaccinated, can be considered?
TUCO North Zone scheduled a special meeting on Friday, November 19 just to address the challenges of Calypso 2022.
The last time the days of T&T Carnival fell on February 28-March 1 was 1938 and what a momentous year that was. Coming in the wake of the Butler Riots and social unrest of 1937, the authorities anticipated further problems for Carnival 1938.
The local colonial administrators formed the Carnival Improvement Committee (CIC), headed by Port-of-Spain Mayor Garnett McCarthy.
The CIC was mandated to especially police calypsonians and their lyrics. Ironically, the 1938 Carnival turned out to be one of the quietest ever.
Hopefully, by December 1, we will have a clearer picture of what Carnival 2022 will be, provided that all the Special Interest Groups, Ministry of Health and government get on the same page.