[UPDATED] TUCO, pan official disagree with non-competitive Tobago Carnival

Tobago band Katzenjammers during the 2020 Panorama medium band finals. -
Tobago band Katzenjammers during the 2020 Panorama medium band finals. -

COREY CONNELLY and STEPHON NICHOLAS

TWO Tobago Carnival stakeholders have disagreed with the inaugural Tobago Carnival Committee's decision to not hold any competitions when the inaugural celebrations get under way in October.

At the committee's first press conference on Friday, its chairman Meisha Trim said October Carnival will be 72 hours of pure bliss, but will not be competitive in nature.

The 15-member committee, which was appointed two weeks ago, is charged with organising the inaugural Tobago Carnival from October 28-30, 2022. They are expected to begin their work officially on May 30.

Saying the budget for the October Carnival is still being finalised, Trim said the event will differ from the national Carnival held in February/March.

“Because of this product being new and a separate build out from what we are accustomed to, we have taken the decision – and it is not final, of course, it is pending final consultation – that there is no need for competition,” she told reporters.

“This is a showcase of our island’s best, pulling out our talent and presenting it to the world for consumption. So it is not necessarily the space for competitiveness. That remains within the national scheme of things when Carnival occurs in 2023…We showcasing talent, craft, art and presenting it to the world.”

But not everyone in Tobago is approving of the committee’s decision to not hold any competitions.

TUCO president Ainsley King said he respected the decision but believes it is a miscalculation.

“This Carnival creates a spotlight that cannot be received in the TT Carnival.

“The TT Carnival is really a Trinidad Carnival. Even the Tobago activities in the TT Carnival are not recognised.

TUCO boss Ainsley King -

“We are seeing a miscalculation...Me being in this thing for years as a performer and administrator, this Carnival should give the opportunity for Tobagonians to be known by the world, as the Trinidad Carnival does for the Trinidad performer.

“It’s a miscalculation. We have to work together. It’s a not a Tobago carnival, it’s an international carnival taking place in Tobago.

He believes Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore should have been given a prominent role on the committee.

“She would have been able to advise and assist.”

Salisha James, chair of Pan Trinbago, Tobago region, said she is looking forward to discussions with the committee.

“The thing is, for the two years of the pandemic there was no competition,” she said.

“I guess when we speak to them and have that consultation that is where the negotiations will take place.

“We are planning something different from national. Our member bands, we have been doing different shows all the time – we want a little competition.”

Trim said the schedule of events should be out by July.

“We have built out a two- to four-week window to present a full plan of action for this Tobago October Carnival. As we move along, we will build out what you would expect but the THA is responsible for 72 hours – Friday to Sunday – of pure bliss and ecstasy on the island.”

She said Carnival lovers will experience, pan, calypso, mas, fetes and elements showcasing Tobago’s rich culture, heritage and history.

Trim said that private promoters will be coming on board to assist in “building out the festivities.”

“So we have to get on board with the promoters that have already gathered themselves in the space and have them present us with their dates. We see where they stand and incorporate it into the full schedule. But the THA-sponsored events are 72 hours – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – of that last weekend in October.”

Trim said the committee has already begun its work.

“The timelines are tight and even though we were officially asked to sign on as of May 30, our work began directly after being handed our instruments of appointment on Tuesday last.”

A masquerader portrays Sea Breeze in Scarborough at Carnival 2020. FILE PHOTO -

She said the committee will engage in “extreme multi-tasking” within the next few weeks.

“One good thing of note is that some groundwork has been done by our deputy chair (Kevon) Mc Kenna in his previous role as consultant to the prior administration.”

Trim thanked the committee members for answering the call to service with enthusiasm and dedication from the onset.

This story was originally published with the title "Tobago October Carnival will not be competitive" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

Tobago Carnival Committee chairman Meisha Trim says the inaugural October Carnival will be 72 hours of pure bliss, but will not be competitive in nature.

She made the statement on Friday during the committee’s first news conference at the THA Division of Finance, Trade and the Economy, Scarborough.

The 15-member committee, which was appointed two weeks ago, is charged with organising the inaugural Tobago Carnival from October 28-30, 2022. They are expected to begin their work officially on May 30.

Saying the budget for the October Carnival is still being finalised, Trim said the event will differ from the national Carnival held in February/March.

“Because of this product being new and a separate build out from what we are accustomed to, we have taken the decision – and it is not final, of course, it is pending final consultation – that there is no need for competition,” she told reporters.

“This is a showcase of our island’s best, pulling out our talent and presenting it to the world for consumption. So it is not necessarily the space for competitiveness. That remains within the national scheme of things when Carnival occurs in 2023…We showcasing talent, craft, art and presenting it to the world.”

Trim said the schedule of events should be out by July.

“We have built out a two- to four-week window to present a full plan of action for this Tobago October Carnival. As we move along, we will build out what you would expect but the THA is responsible for 72 hours – Friday to Sunday – of pure bliss and ecstasy on the island.”

She said Carnival lovers will experience, pan, calypso, mas, fetes and elements showcasing Tobago’s rich culture, heritage and history.

Trim said that private promoters will be coming on board to assist in “building out the festivities.”

“So we have to get on board with the promoters that have already gathered themselves in the space and have them present us with their dates. We see where they stand and incorporate it into the full schedule. But the THA-sponsored events are 72 hours – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – of that last weekend in October.”

Trim said the committee has already begun its work.

“The timelines are tight and even though we were officially asked to sign on as of May 30, our work began directly after being handed our instruments of appointment on Tuesday last.”

She said the committee will engage in “extreme multi-tasking” within the next few weeks.

“One good thing of note is that some groundwork has been done by our deputy chair (Kevon) Mc Kenna in his previous role as consultant to the prior administration.”

Trim thanked the committee members for answering the call to service with enthusiasm and dedication from the onset.

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"[UPDATED] TUCO, pan official disagree with non-competitive Tobago Carnival"

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