Government approves Carnival safe-zone events: No fetes, parades

A devil, a central figure in J'Ouvert, spits fire during Carnival in 2020.  - PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE
A devil, a central figure in J'Ouvert, spits fire during Carnival in 2020. - PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE

After months of consultations with stakeholders and uncertainty, Government has given its approval for Carnival safe-zone events to be held.

In a release on Wednesday evening, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts said only concert-type events would be allowed. These would include soca and calypso concerts; calypso tents; soca, calypso, extempo and chutney competitions; steelband concerts; Carnival King and Queen shows; and Carnival theatre.

However, no fetes or parties will be allowed because of the risk of increased spread of the covid19 virus.

The ministry said, “While PCR testing of patrons was considered as a form of risk mitigation, it was not deemed realistic as the cost per test per patron would be uneconomical.”

It said events will be limited to only fully vaccinated people (staff, patrons, service providers, artistes), at 50 per cent capacity, with controlled entry and exit points, and sanitisation upon entry in accordance with the public health regulations.

The ministry said stakeholders suggested and agreed that mask wearing and other covid19-type precautionary measures be followed.

“Most stakeholders were in agreement it would be inadvisable and irresponsible to attempt to host Carnival in the way we are accustomed to with a parade of the bands and open events in light of the ongoing pandemic.”

Stakeholders included, among others, the National Carnival Commission, TUCO, Pan Trinbago, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bands Association, representatives of the chutney soca fraternity, the TT Promoter’s Association, Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, iGovtt, the Ministry of National Security, the Tobago Festivals Commission, and corporate citizens.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell said this was a first step in restarting the events sector.

“Given the economic importance of Carnival, we felt it was necessary to consider what was possible, and what events can be had safely. We look forward to the development of a calendar of events and its subsequent marketing so that we can all have a safe taste of the Carnival that is truly a part of all of us.”

The announcement was made mere hours after the promoters’ association, at a news conference at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, called on the government to allow safe-zone Carnival events. Read story here


"Government approves Carnival safe-zone events: No fetes, parades"

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