The St James Children’s Carnival (SJCC) will go ahead on February 16.
National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairmanWinston “Gypsy” Peters announced this at a media conference at the NCC VIP Lounge at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Friday.
A public notice earlier this year had announced that the event had been cancelled
Almost immediately several committees, organisations, committed individuals and the NCC came together to ensure that as Peters put it, “The children of our nation have an extra day to jump, exhibit, palance and ramajay.”
He said when that happens, it is always a beautiful occasion for TT’s people, culture, and above all, its children and their families. Also, the people of St James and environs will once again have that chance to see one of the most creative expressions of junior mas.
Peters added that the St James Working Council Committee (SJWCC), the Regional Carnival Committee and the NCC will not take that cultural staple for granted.
He said: “I’ve spoken on a number of occasions about the need to invest in Carnival as the best way of not just keeping it alive and thriving, but also as the best way to promote it and generate the kind of interest it needs to persist for future generations.”
Peters spoke of the history of the event, which was the brainchild of deceased politician Ken Valley, and was subsequently run by Yvonne Mungal for more than three decades.
However, the latter fell ill and couldn’t continue this year so the NCC, together with the SJWCC, sponsors and special interest groups came together to keep the parade going.
Peters said: “If we did not get the children involved in a significant way (as) they are or they have been for all these years, today we may not have a Carnival in TT. And we may not have been able to export the product that is a Carnival to the rest of the world, as indeed we have.”
He noted that for the first time in three years anticipated visitor numbers for Carnival had risen, by over ten per cent, with 16,000 expected via cruise ship and 40,000 by air.
“So just as much as the children’s Carnival is a treat for the community, it is a gift to the world which is coming to see it. Therefore we have to protect that gift and keep it in good condition.”
Peters told the interim chairman of the SJWCC, former Port of Spain mayor Murchison Brown, that while the NCC will help with the registration and adjudication processes, it is also ready, willing and able to shoulder the necessary responsibilities to have a wonderful parade.
Brown appealed to the sponsors and DJs who have worked with the SJWCC before to come back on board to help produce another successful parade. He also issued a special appeal to St James businesses to get involved and said all volunteers’ help will also be accepted.
Registration of bands and individuals for the parade can be done at 15 Jerry Street, St James, from February 3-13.
NCC CEO Colin Lucas spoke of the NCC's concern when word came that the parade was at risk.
He said: “As TT people, one thing you don’t want to be at risk is children’s Carnival. That aspect of Carnival ensures that it continues from one generation to another.
"So it’s bad enough if something happens and challenges or undermines big-people mas, but it is infinitely worse if...children’s mas or anything dealing with children’s mas is in peril.
"Once NCC is alive and well, we will put our shoulders to the wheel to make sure things happen and remain safe.”