Trinidad Carnival’s cancellation doesn’t affect us – Bankay

September 29, 2020

Declaring that it would be "madness" to even think about the staging, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced on Monday that Carnival 2021 is unlikely to be held in the twin-island republic.

Addressing the 'Spotlight on the Economy' forum on Monday, Rowley said, "I see no future for carnival in Trinidad and Tobago in the months ahead ... unless there's some dramatic change in the wind that will blow across us by Christmas. With the coronavirus still a major issue in the world around us, it is just not on."

Officially celebrated on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival is dubbed 'the biggest street party on Earth' and has inspired other Caribbean islands, including Jamaica, to 'jump up and get on bad'. The popular songs and performers always wend their way to Jamaica, along with the energy that keeps the high-intensity revelry alive.

Last week, the stakeholders for Carnival in Jamaica announced the postponement of the 2020 activities to next April, which would have been three months after Trinidad's highly anticipated, kick-off season festivities. But organisers say that the cancellation will not put a damper on their 2021 festivities.

"There are substantial differences between them cancelling their event and what we are doing," Kamal Bankay, chairman of the Carnival in Jamaica stakeholders committee, told THE STAR. "They would be starting from scratch and getting things together to have a launch and all the associated inputs. We have been ready from March 2020, and all we did was postpone our 2020 season. All we need is a window to have our event."

Ripple effect

He emphasised that it would be too early to tell if there would be any ripple effect caused by the 'cancellation' and noted, however, that carnival in Jamaica would not necessarily benefit from increased numbers. The aim for this year, he said, is to have a safe carnival rather than the largest carnival.

"We already have revellers and bands locked into certain numbers. We are also mindful of increasing numbers at this time. We just want to have a safe and comfortable carnival. We are happy with the growth that carnival has experienced so far, but now is not the time to push for growth," Bankay told THE STAR.

He added that by the year 2022, the stakeholders will be looking for huge growth with a larger-than-life carnival experience.

"The pandemic will be over, vaccines will be found, and travel and entertainment will see huge upticks. People will be eager to get out and enjoy life after all the stringent measures that have been put in place owing to the pandemic," he said.

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