IN THESE remaining hours of Carnival, we ask that all take precautions to have a safe and wholesome celebration as what has been for many another memorable edition of the national festival comes to a close.
Pan arranger Duvone Stewart’s triple crown – his arrangements were played by champions Renegades, Pan Elders and Defence Force Steel Orchestra – shines a spotlight on the important yet often unheralded contribution of arrangers to this most dynamic of artforms.
“I represent a fraternity that needs a voice,” Stewart declared in the wake of Saturday’s historic Panorama victory. Renegades should also be congratulated for their hat trick and for tying the overall record for the most wins.
This Carnival has also been one in which the contribution of our Caribbean neighbours to our festival has received unprecedented acknowledgement. Amazingly, Mr Killa’s victory in the 2019 International Soca Monarch was only the first time a non-national has taken the crown. Perhaps that in itself is a sign of change as we move away from a position of fearing “outsiders” to acknowledging the global ties that have for so long defined us. In the context of international developments, such as the crisis in neighbouring Venezuela as well as the rise of the right globally, this can only be a heartening change; a reminder that we are not by nature a xenophobic nation but rather pride ourselves in the fact that there is a Trini in every country of the globe.
Sunday’s Dimanche Gras presentation also invited us to forget the rough seas and look beneath the surface. Shorn of its competitive elements (the Calypso Monarch and King and Queen of Carnival had already been crowned) it became a celebration of Carnival culture. The production, nominally themed on the Buccoo Reef, was a reminder of the energy and potential of Carnival, even though there were some problems such as a late start, questionable lighting, an excessive running-time, and a wet stage which hindered the egress of come performers.
That said, the new format successfully made an argument for change and underlined the need for a more permanent home to showcase our annual festival. Such a home should cater to the increasing theatricality of our marquee events as well as the need to ensure masqueraders are able to parade over a dry stage safely.
We today praise all, including members of the law enforcement apparatus, who turned out for work to serve the nation. We are grateful for their action in enforcing the law, such as when on Friday police officers had cause to arrest a parent for exposing her child to danger by abandoning him during Kiddies Carnival activities. That incident should serve as a reminder to all to be vigilant and to ensure that the fun is not tarnished by carelessness or worse.