Tobago cultural activist: Carnival safe zones not properly thought out

In this 2020 file photo, Rawle
In this 2020 file photo, Rawle "Axeback" Titus receives an award of recognition from Tobago Mas Band Leaders co-chair Terrence Sandiford. - Photo courtesy THA Info Dept

Veteran cultural activist Rawle Titus is deeply concerned about the Government’s decision to go ahead with safe-zone events for Carnival.

He believes the initiative was not carefully thought out.

“This eh no little child thing, inno. It calls for mature discussion,” Titus told Newsday.

On January 19, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts gave the green light for strictly concert-style events during the Carnival season. These include soca and calypso concerts, calypso tents, extempo and chutney competitions, steelband concerts, king and queen shows and Carnival theatre.

No fetes or parties will be allowed because of the risk of increased spread of the covid19 virus.

The TT Promoters Association and other Carnival interest groups voiced strong objection to the initiative, saying it will have no impact on the events sector, which it said has been closed since the onset of the pandemic two years ago. The association also regarded the decision as an “important intervention for the state public relations machine.”

On Saturday, some Tobago Carnival stakeholders also spoke out against the move, saying unvaccinated artistes will not be able to earn any money during the season. Carnival is scheduled for February 28 and March 1.

They are expected to meet with Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris on Thursday to thrash out issues relating to the initiative.

Titus, one of Tobago’s leading authorities on the island’s culture, believes Carnival safe-zone events will not work.

“It is something I am not sure about in terms of whether it would work. I don’t know that there is the kind of discipline in the society, particularly at Carnival time.”

He said people are not likely to observe all the public health regulations, including wearing masks, during events.

“That (mask-wearing) is something that they (police) still charging people for almost on a daily basis. Then there is the social distancing when people are enjoying a Carnival show, I question that.”


"Tobago cultural activist: Carnival safe zones not properly thought out"

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