Carnival stakeholders are still debating the pros and cons of a plan by the National Carnival Commission to host a Carnival in February for fully vaccinated revellers and participants and in a controlled environment—as was done recently with the Carnival in Miami.

NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters has not fully disclosed the details of how they plan to pull this activity off but after meeting with stakeholders and exchanging ideas, a session which Minister of Tourism and Culture Randall Mitchell attended, Peters remains convinced they can successfully stage the event.

As of yesterday, however, it was safe to say the views from within the fraternity on a positive outcome of such an outing were mixed at best. Some members of the fraternity believe it can be done following the Miami blueprint.

To be clear, the Miami Carnival required revellers and patrons to provide a negative PCR test, to be fully masked, undergo temperature checks and observe sanitisation and other health protocols while attending the events, which were also held at supervised venues. Furthermore, the Miami Broward Carnival committee catered for 500,000 people partaking in the festivities from October 8-10. This, of course, did not take into consideration the scores of private parties and other events which were organised around the official events to cater to the Carnival lovers who chose other event options.

In reality, the Miami organising committee, already thwarted by state legislation which outlawed forcing persons to show proof of vaccination, was also unable to control revellers once they hit the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition ground and, with alcohol flowing, the mask-wearing plan completely fell apart within a few hours.

This is where we switch to the other stakeholders who feel the NCC should mash the breaks on a February event and look at a date later on next year, when they hope T&T will be in a better place as far as controlling the spread of the Delta variant is concerned.

Indeed, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Health yesterday suggest better sense should prevail on this matter. Another 21 citizens lost their lives as T&T raced towards 2,000 COVID-related deaths, while there were 682 new cases of the virus. Furthermore, there were more scenarios of citizens throwing caution to the wind regarding upholding protocols in public spaces, as they expressed themselves with a State of Emergency-imposed curfew no longer keeping them indoors at night.

This type of behaviour has led Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh to again warn citizens to be on their guard to prevent the virus from overrunning the country, especially with the festive Christmas season, when persons congregate in close settings more than usual, upon us.

The nation’s ICU and HDU units are currently bursting at the seams with COVID patients, with too many of them losing that battle. Meanwhile, over 600,000 citizens have still not accessed vaccines to give themselves a better chance of surviving an attack — in effect still putting those who are inoculated in danger. Truth be told, it is only when citizens exhibit the discipline and make the choices necessary to win this fight will we be able to discuss a Carnival as proposed. We are not there yet.