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Monday 19 February 2018
Commentary

Welcome to de FeteLand

Jamille Broome writes a weekly column for the Newsday.

The title of this song by Kerwin DuBois and Kees Dieffenthaller is the perfect marketing strategy for TT’s Carnival, and a sign with those very words should be the first thing every passenger sees when their plane lands at the Piarco International Airport.

And as soon as visitors enter the terminal, soca music should be playing throughout the airport, so as to leave no doubt in their minds that this is the Soca Kingdom and for us, it’s soca ‘til we die.

FeteLand really captures the Trinbagonian culture because “nobody knows why we choose to drink whole day and nobody cares if they have plenty bills to pay.” At Carnival time, problems dissolve into thin air, crime is non-existent, politicians don’t matter, and “broke” is deleted from our vocabulary. There is a lot of negativity and hardship in our country, but “now is not the time for that — here’s not the place for that;” for the entire Carnival season in TT we go into a zone; a bubble (wining pun intended) that distracts us from the constant reminders of the corrupted, crime-infested, murderous “s---hole” that we hate to love and love to hate. I honestly hate living in this current version of Trinidad, but every year I pack my mental suitcases and move to FeteLand and it is always an amazing experience.

Being completely engrossed in Carnival festivities and ignoring the state of the country for a few weeks does not make anyone less of a patriot; the citizenry is desperate for a break from the runaway murder rate, skyrocketing dead-body count and fecklessness that passes for leadership. It does seem that drinking, liming and partying is what we do to past the time in Trinidad and (maybe on a lesser scale) Tobago, but what else is there to do? Of course, on Ash Wednesday, we will return to the regular scheduled programme of being frustrated citizens, but for now, it would be nice if those who indulge in Carnival could do so without being judged for enjoying a vacation from the reality of a dismal Trinidad. I have seen comments on social media and in the newspapers that condemn partygoers and masqueraders for having fun during this rough period in our country, and those comments have been especially critical of politicians and other prominent figures in society who attend parties and other events.

While I understand why a segment of society would be upset by these images and videos of feteing and masquerading politicians when the country is clearly sinking, we have to remember that, when stripped of their titles, they are no different to the rest of us.

As a matter of fact, I appreciated seeing our former president supporting various all-inclusive events and I enjoyed seeing our Prime Minister support Carnival in San Fernando by playing mas; if our leaders do not set an example in promoting our culture, who will? Mandating that politicians stay at home during Carnival is really an unfair demand of the very people who are responsible for allocating the funds to make the season a success.

At the end of it all, Carnival is the only thing we have to sell to the world because our pitch lake is no longer ours, our bird sanctuary now has very few birds and our oil is running out.

And on top of knowing that’s all we have to offer, we now have a vociferous group of party-poopers complaining about noise levels for three out of 52 weeks in a year.

Despite the concerted effort by several people and agencies to force us to listen to music in parties and on the road using headphones, Carnival will still be “sweet fuh days.”

This is de FeteLand and this is our culture to preserve and enjoy for as long as we live, so for those who want to complain about nudity and noise, feel free to migrate and then burn your passports upon arrival at your new home. Unapologetically, from Boxing Day to Ash Wednesday “we doh have no behaviour — it’s total disorder,” so your complaints will only fall on deaf ears.

With just one week to go before we “mash up de savannah stage,” the reality is that FeteLand will soon revert to being Trinidad where the Gunman Association of TT are in charge.

Undoubtedly, the crime rate will deter thousands of visitors this year, but to the Trinbagonians who have decided to grace us with their presence and to the foreigners visiting for Carnival, welcome to de FeteLand. Enjoy and be safe! Jamille85@msn.com

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