SERVING one’s country in any capacity should not have anything to do with your political affiliation, according to Winston “Gypsy” Peters yesterday shortly after he was announced as the new National Carnival Committee’s (NCC) chairman.
Ex-chairman Colin Lucas confirmed that he had officially submitted his resignation to the board yesterday.
When contacted, Peters said he was not surprised by the appointment since he had been contacted by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley previously about the position, but Peters said he indicated he needed time to consult with his family before he made his decision.
Peters, a calypsonian, is no stranger to culture in TT as he had served on the NCC board before, and was also a former culture minister under the United National Congress (UNC). He also appeared at People’s National Movement rallies during the last general election after he distanced himself from the UNC.
“It is not something I am unaccustomed to. I am accustomed to that kind of board affairs so it is just another one. I have been involved with culture and the music industry for over 50 years. I have been on the NCC board before. I have been involved in Carnival all my life relatively early, not only in TT, but in the United States and almost everywhere else. I have been asked to serve and serving in any capacity in my country is an honour.”
He said Carnival in TT was not an event, but a way of life.
“Carnival is the only thing in this country that knows no race, no religion, no political strata. It brings everybody together. It brings the vagrants together with the highest people in society. It knows no colour, nothing, and when you are getting the opportunity to serve in the capacity to enhance the product that is Carnival, there is nothing to turn down.“
He said he did not expect any negative feedback because at the end of the day it was a noble deed.
Saying he was asked whether he thought it was a demotion from being a minister to chairman of a board, Peters said he was “not born a minister nor a chairman.”
Lucas said while he had been “semi-retired” for some time after having retired from the Public Service, he resigned for personal reasons that he was “not desirous” of divulging at this time.
He said he did not want too much public speculation.
“The NCC is close to my heart. It is an organisation I would be willing to advise – in fact any organisation I ever worked with. It is the kind of vibe I would have left with. I have been a part of the Carnival culture for many years and quite enjoyably so. I am glad that they got somebody like Mr Peters as chairman because I think he would make an excellent chairman.”
Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the decision to appoint Peters was solely made by the Cabinet boards committee and therefore it was a Cabinet decision.
She said Peters had a long history in culture and had served at many levels including president of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation, and also culture minister.
“I believe he understands from both sides of the coin what the position requires. I think he has got a lot of experience and therefore I have great expectations that he would be able to contribute in a positive way to the advancement of the NCC, and the Carnival product of TT.”
Calypsonian and former Mayaro MP Winston 'Gypsy' Peters has been appointed as chairman of the National Carnival Commission.
The appointment was announced in a press release from the Ministry of Community Development and the Arts.
Peters, who was once Minister of Arts and Culture under the People's Partnership Government, replaces Colin Lucas who was appointed chairman in November last year.
In an interview with the Newsday, Peters said he was prepared to serve his country in any capacity he could.
He said serving one's country had nothing to do with political affiliation
"Carnival is the only thing in this country that knows no race, no religion, no political affiliation.
"When you get an opportunity to serve in a capacity like this where you can enhance the product that is Carnival, there is no reason why you shouldn't. I will do the best I can," Peters said.