PM pulls plug on Trini carnival

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PM pulls plug on Trini carnival

Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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HOT on the heels of the cancellation of Jamaica's carnival parades which were deferred to October, regional kingpin Trinidad and Tobago is announcing that due to the current pandemic its 2021 festivities will not held.

The announcement was made yesterday by T&T's Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who noted that based on where that country stands at this time, in terms of the threat posed by the pandemic, and the situation in the world in general, it would be imprudent to go ahead with plans for the annual celebration, which ranks a close second in the world, outdone only by the festivities of the Rio carnival in the South American nation of Brazil.

“In 72 hours we will be in October. And if in October we are still in the throes of a pandemic, it would be madness to be talking about carnival in February. I see no future for carnival in Trinidad in the months ahead. Today, I can put everybody on notice that unless there is some dramatic wind that will blow across us whereby Christmas the pandemic would've been a thing of the past, carnival in Trinidad and Tobago in 2021 is not on,” Rowley said.

The prime minister made the announcement at the end of a discussion on his Government's 2020/2021 budget in Trinidad's capital Port-of-Spain, noting that he was fully aware of the economic implications of not staging the popular event.

“Picture j'ouvert morning, but with the coronavirus still a major issue not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but it the world around us. It's just not on. Let us be thankful that we are still alive to see each other's face. Let us remember what our country passed through in 1918. Let us understand what is happening in other countries that have not been able to control the spread among its population. And in those examinations and review, a carnival which is the perfect environment for the spreading of the virus is not something that we can countenance at this time. This decision, I know, will have serious economic knock-on effects, things that we will lose in terms of the economy. But by the same token, we can't hope to gain on that swing and die on the merry-go-round,” Rowley concluded.

Trinidad and Tobago was the only country in the region to hold its carnival in February this year, just weeks ahead of the announcement of a pandemic by the World Health Organization and the global lockdown.

Jamaicans have been flocking to the twin-island republic in increasing numbers over the years to take part in the days of fetes and parades which are features of the globally recognised event. A number of these revellers were this year fingered for contributing to the early cases of COVID-19 in Jamaica.

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