NCC, interest groups in talks on Carnival for the vaccinated

On Carnival Tuesday in 2020 these Paparazzi mas band revellers portray Hidden-Masters of Disguise at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. - JEFF K MAYERS
On Carnival Tuesday in 2020 these Paparazzi mas band revellers portray Hidden-Masters of Disguise at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. - JEFF K MAYERS

Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore will meet with the National Carnival Commission (NCC) on Wednesday to decide what kind of event is possible for a Carnival 2022, if there is one.

NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters said in a phone interview on Tuesday that a proposal was put forward for a Carnival 2022 that falls within the ambit of the Trinidad and Tobago Safe Zone initiative.

A meeting was held on Friday between Carnival stakeholders, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell and the NCC, Gypsy said.

From that meeting a proposal was developed and a basic consensus that Carnival 2022 can take place, but with only vaccinated people and in a safe zone.

“The short answer is that we are working on it. I can’t say that we will have anything. I cannot say that. That is not for me to say. That is for the Prime Minister to say. So my line minister will have to take this to Cabinet and Cabinet will have to decide whatever should be done or could be done,” Gypsy said.

He said the NCC was standing by in preparedness to do whatever it has to do and whatever is sanctioned to have it done.

Ramsey-Moore said whatever the pan body does will not be labelled a Panorama but just an event, though she stressed, “We look forward to any type of steelpan event that can generate revenue for Trinidad and Tobago.”

She said from where the pan body sits, any event that is held cannot be called a Panorama.

“Panorama is not just going on stage and performing. Panorama is a community activity which starts months before the finals.

“Pan in itself is about large gatherings and all of that...We meet with NCC tomorrow to discuss an event that can take place in a bubble and also we are, at this time, trying to get as much pan people vaccinated as possible.”

Ramsey-Moore said there has been a serious pushback in the pan community and a questionnaire has been sent out to member bands to determine what percentage of its membership is vaccinated.

“The response is coming in very slow, but until then we will not be able to make a definite decision as to what kind of event we can have.”

Ramsey-Moore also said she could not say that any event held in 2022 would be Carnival; there might be a taste of Carnival but she does not believe that there can be a Carnival as TT traditionally knows it.

She also does not believe TT will lose its dominance on the Carnival landscape. She said as much as TT wanted to have fun, leaders need to be very responsible.

“Yes, I support an event for the vaccinated. I don’t know what that event will be called, whether it is a Taste of Carnival or something called Pan whatever. Definitely we have to be extremely careful.”

The following in the pan world in a mature audience and so the pan body has to be careful, she said.

“Yes, we know there is time to free up and there is time for some entertainment and all of that, and I support that. But then again, TT does not have an ICU like Miami.”

As much as TT wants to enjoy itself, the science has to be taken into consideration, she said.

Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) president Ainsley King said given recent developments with the pandemic and regulations being implemented, it appears there isn’t a choice but to have any form of a Carnival 2022 under the TT Safe Zone initiative. TUCO was also a part of the stakeholder meeting held last Friday.

King said any form of a Carnival or Carnival-related activities is “better than nothing.”

He admitted that this will affect some people and artistes, as people hold different opinions about being vaccinated.

“It have members who are vaccinated, some who are making up their minds and some who decided, bluntly, that they are not going to take it. This is going to be a challenge that is going to be there to face,” he said.

Many people – despite differing opinions – will cry discrimination because they may not be included.

King said the organisation will have to sensitise its members and interest groups on the law and regulations.

He said he was called to be a part of celebrations in other countries during what would have been TT’s Carnival. King said TT needs to look at its place within the global carnival landscape after the pandemic.

“What has been discovered, in America and other parts of the world, is that people are seizing the opportunity because TT is not having a Carnival, and they are seizing the opportunity to create investments into their country.

“That is something we need to be mindful about. They have their situation under control, it seems, and they can start having functions and gatherings, so they decided they are having a carnival,” King said.

He said the covid19 pandemic can – if TT is not careful – lead to the country losingout on something it has branded as its own.

King said many calypsonians had been unable to practise their craft for a long time and if some Carnival-like event could happen, he welcomes it.


"NCC, interest groups in talks on Carnival for the vaccinated"

More in this section