Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs and Tobago West Member of Parliament Shamfa Cudjoe has weighed in on the calls for Tobago to host a separate Carnival from the sister isle, Trinidad.
Speaking with Newsday following the distribution of grants by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts together with the National Commission for Self Help at the Signal Hill Community Centre on Tuesday, Cudjoe said the discussions must be had.
“I think that this is something for the culture fraternity on the island to discus – the different stakeholders, the mas makers, the masqueraders, the average Tobagonians – as to whether or not they see this as something that can help.
“I see this as something that can help… but any activity that would help to fill the hotel rooms and bring tourists to our shores, I’m sure that would be welcomed. But I am sure that once the negotiations and the consultations are held, Tobago stakeholders and the Tobago people would come up with a plan that suits the Tobagonian-ness.”
This as Kelvon Morris, spokesman for Citizens In Support of Tobago Development, said the group was planning to host a stakeholders’ conversation this week to thrash out the issue which had been a longstanding debate on the island.
Saying Carnival had become more than culture, Morris believed the festival must be used to boost tourism in Tobago. While Morris believes Tobago is wasting time and money competing with Trinidad Carnival, he said he would not stop the event in Tobago, adding his aim was really to get consensus on a way forward.
The issue of a separate a Carnival for Tobago has been a longstanding discussion, with former culture minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters previously saying that having a separate Carnival in Tobago at another time of year was a viable proposition. The idea was supported by soca superstar and 2019 Road March winner Machel Montano.