Colour, vibes, fireworks in Tobago carnival

A masquerader from Zain Carnival Band plays her mas during the Tobago carnival parade of the bands, on the Rockly Bay carnival stage on Milford Road, Scarborough, Sunday. Photo by David Reid
A masquerader from Zain Carnival Band plays her mas during the Tobago carnival parade of the bands, on the Rockly Bay carnival stage on Milford Road, Scarborough, Sunday. Photo by David Reid

COLOUR, splendour and vibes dominated the parade of the bands on Sunday, in Scarborough, Tobago.

The event, which brought the curtain down on the island’s inaugural carnival, saw several bands parade from the Shaw Park Cultural Complex and along Milford Road through the streets of the capital.

Masqueraders also danced on the controversial stage in the sea, alongside the I Love You Tobago sign.

The stage, bordered with a wrought-iron railing, also had a colourful banner bearing the words, Welcome To Paradise, at the centre.

The parade took place before a large gathering of spectators, who lined both sides of Milford Road to view the colourful presentations.

Bon Accord-based band Fog Angels, led by Tele Cruz, was the first band to hit the parade route at around 12.30pm. Tobago Business Chamber chairman and attorney Martin George and several of his friends enjoyed themselves in the band.

Zain’s Treasures of Speyside, Iconic Mas and Jade Monkey’s A Tribute to Blaxx also crossed the stage during the early part of the parade.

Trinidadian Marlon Rampersad portrays his costume Ganges meets the Nile during the parade of the bands on Sunday, along Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago. Photo by David Reid

The faces of spectators, of all ages, lit up when the fog and confetti machines near the VIP stands heralded masqueraders crossing the stage in the sea.

Some spectators even joined the bands as they made their way along the route.

Newsday spotted Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Division Tashia Burris on the pavement taking in some of the fun as the bands passed.

Former PNM political leader Tracy Davidson Celestine was also seen at Bar Code enjoying the parade.

After crossing the stage in the sea, bands went back along the Claude Noel Highway to Orange Hill gas station, then past the Shaw Park Cultural Complex, before making their way back to Milford Road.

Around 3pm, when the last band had crossed the stage in the sea, people were eager for more. There was come confusion among a few spectators as they felt the carnival was over, unaware the bands would be coming back to that area.

Despite this, many people who spoke to Newsday were in awe by the quality of the parade.

Nicklon Baker said he was happy to see Tobago carnival drawing large crowds again.

“Some people, especially Trinidadians, won’t know but this is the most people I’ve seen in the parade of the bands before. Normally, we would have bands with 30 and 40 people. I’m glad we got our time and the focus we deserve. We can only get better from here.”

Ten-year-old Jelicia and her mother Jennifer from Trinidad told Newsday they were just happy to experience Tobago’s inaugural carnival.

Though many had become impatient and left, scores of spectators limed along the pavement to see the bands make their final lap just after 5 pm.

A grand fireworks display to mark the end of the island inaugural carnival thrilled masqueraders and spectators.

National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters was present for the festivities and said the Tobago carnival must be a fixture on the island’s cultural calendar.

“It has to be. It is the Tobago carnival. I don’t want them to celebrate Carnival in February along with Trinidad. I don’t. I want it to be carnival in Tobago,” he told Newsday.

Claiming he was among the first set of people to initiate talks about a Tobago carnival, Peters said, “It is here now and I am happy.”

Arcadia Mas Band revellers enjoy themselves on the Rockly Bay stage during the parade of the bands on Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago, Sunday. Photo by David Reid

Peters said he arrived in Tobago on Friday and enjoyed all of the events he attended.

“It is fantastic. It is good. I think it can only be improved on.”

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris described the inaugural event as a work in progress.

“A lot of money has been spent so we will have to get the accountability right. But in terms of the concept, it is one that I have always supported. I have always called or Tobago to have its own Carnival.”

Ravi Lakhan of Antourage Productions portrayed Lord Of The Amazon, during the Tobago carnival parade of the bands, along Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago, Sunday. Photo by David Reid

He added, “I think it’s a no-brainer, we are able to benefit from our proximity and our relationship with Trinidad and we are now seeing the benefits of it.”

Morris said, though, the organisers should work closely with the NCC “so that we can build on what we have started here.

“If you have that collaboration, I see so much more benefits to this Carnival and then Trinidad and Tobago will really be the mecca of carnival; because we would have the first carnival in Trinidad – which would be great – and the last carnival in Tobago – which would be even greater.

“So I can see it as an annual event. The potential is there, and it therefore means that it is for us to do the analysis – look at what works, what didn’t work, and just build on it.”

Tobago Carnival Committee chairman Meisha Trim told Newsday last week that the island’s carnival has to be an annual event.(with reporting by Elizabeth Gonzales)


"Colour, vibes, fireworks in Tobago carnival"

More in this section