More talks needed on Tobago's own Carnival

Visitors have fun at  the launch of Tobago Carnival in Scarborough. PHOTOS BY DAVID REID  - DAVID REID
Visitors have fun at the launch of Tobago Carnival in Scarborough. PHOTOS BY DAVID REID - DAVID REID

Carnival researcher Rawle Titus believes there must be a roundtable discussion involving key stakeholders before any decision is made to host a separate Carnival in Tobago.

"It is doable but with what result is going to be the problem," he told Sunday Newsday.

Tobago Mas Band Leaders' co-chairman Terrence Sandiford and Tobago Band of the Year winner Lou-Ann Melville, revisited the issue in separate interviews on Thursday.

Melville, whose winning 2020 presentation was titled, Caribbean Connection, described Tobago's Carnival celebration as the worst in the region.

She said Tobagonians have been travelling to Trinidad for years to play mas. She believes the time has come for Trinidadians to return the favour by visiting Tobago for Carnival.

Sandiford said a separate Carnival in Tobago would bring immense economic benefit to the island.

The outspoken mas administrator said Carnival activities on the island, in its existing state, "cannot get bigger or better."

Titus, one of Tobago's respected mas veterans, argued hosting a separate Carnival on the island will be a difficult undertaking.

"Especially since we are in a unitary state setting, it is going to involve a whole set of legal ramifications."

Saying the country already has a national Carnival, Titus asked, "Are we saying, therefore, that we should pull away from participating in the national festivities and go with only what Tobago approves?"

Titus added the issue of which interests groups would comprise the Tobago voice on the matter would also need to be determined.

"It is a whole set of intricacies that I am seeing."

The former Senate vice-president said consideration must also be given to the fact that a large number of Tobagonians also go to Trinidad to participate in Carnival.

"So, there is going to be some social dislocation and it is going to be a very intricate affair."

Titus said infrastructural issues, such as parking and accommodation, must also be considered.

He said the hosting of the various competitions could also pose a challenge.

"If you have a calypso competition, for instance, are you going to see calypsonians only resident in Tobago?" Titus asked.

"Even with the Tobago and Windward calypso monarch, we have some implications. There is always the matter of where the person lives.

"It is a whole set of things that have to be ironed out. And we have to sit and talk about these things and come to a consensus."

Penelope Williams, acting chairman of the Tobago Festivals Commission, said she had no comment on the issue at this time.


"More talks needed on Tobago's own Carnival"

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