The 2020 edition of the Tobago Jazz Experience has been cancelled.
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles made the announcement on Thursday during a news conference at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands.
Charles said in light of the fact that Trinidad had recorded its first official case of covid19 and given the premature end of the cruise ship season because of the pandemic, a decision was taken to cancel this year's event.
"The cruise ship season has come to an end. We were expecting from Tobago an additional seven cruise hips (between now and April), those will no longer be allowed to enter," he told reporters.
"I can say to you as well that the Tobago Jazz Experience is off."
The announcement came two days after the Progressive Democratic Patriots deputy leader Farley Augustine raised concerns about whether or not the organisers of the festival would have cancelled it because of covid19. The Tobago Festivals Commission oversees the organisation of the festival.
Charles said several things had to be considered before the decision was taken to cancel Tobago's signature event.
"Trinidad and Tobago has its first case. The issue of the timing of its cancellation was always one that we had to treat with carefully."
He said in order to proceed with the event, deposits had to be made to the international and regional artistes "and, therefore, any cancellation by us in circumstances where it may have been difficult to argue a case of frustration would have rendered it almost impossible to reclaim those deposits.
"Having regard to the fact that the World Health Organisation has proclaimed pandemic status and having regard as well to the fact that there is a first case in TT, the advice that I have obtained legally suggests that we now have an arguable case in order to ensure that we get our deposits returned," he added.
Charles said a decision has not yet been taken on whether Easter weekend festivities in Tobago, including the popular goat and crab races at Buccoo, will be held.
"Everything is up for review."