Image courtesy NCC.

The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC) has confirmed that its digital online platform—Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World—will go live on Friday 12th February 2021.

In an official statement, the NCC says Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World will showcase much of the country’s Carnival’s rich and diverse history, employing elements such as an interactive online museum, live and pre-recorded streams, and access to partner services and products.

“This is a digital entertainment ecosystem that is FREE to the public,” the NCC news release confirms.  “Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World will be populated with 100% local content and will serve as both home and host to a broad spectrum of engaging, informative, and entertaining Carnival experiences.”

It added: “The online platform is intended to serve in continuing the drive to sustainably develop the Carnival industry, add value to the Carnival product, and better position Trinidad and Tobago as a market leader in Carnival entertainment and enlightenment across the board.”

The NCC says that Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World, working in tandem with projects being hosted by the Commission’s Special Interest Groups—Pan Trinbago, TUCO and the TTCBA—will go beyond the virtual representation of Carnival’s thematic elements to include a variety of industrial aspects that range from local cuisine and drinks to arts and crafts, and access to information on major tourist activities and destinations in Trinidad and Tobago.

In its debut, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World will also feature engaging and interactive content, including Steel Pan Exhibitions, Kings and Queens, and Calypso Monarchs through the years. It also will feature scintillating subjects including women in carnival and the evolution of key historical carnival characters and events.

The COVID-19 effect

Winston Peters, Chairman of the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC).

NCC Chairman, Winston “Gypsy” Peters acknowledges that COVID-19 has hurt the Carnival industry.

“COVID-19 has dealt a heavy blow to the Carnival community and to the Carnival industry. While many within the private sector and the national and Carnival communities have done their best in response to the challenges presented, the NCC is committed to doing all that it can, much in keeping with its mandates and guidelines,” he said, concerning the launch of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World.

“We have taken great pains to offer a product that, in adding value to Carnival, would not encourage people to create inappropriately sized social gatherings around it, as this would most certainly reverse the substantial gains made over the past 10 months to get COVID-19 under control,” he pointed out.

Peters drew special attention to the fact that many believed the NCC was not going to get involved despite the cancelled event.

“In bringing something of value to the people, we always knew that we have to be responsible in whatever we produce,” Peters added.

“We knew that it could not be a one-off virtual event that encouraged large groups of people to congregate, but something that could be enjoyed on a smaller scale, well within existing protocols.

“It also had to be something upon which we could build, showcase, and be proud of,” Peters said.

“Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World is a fantastic opportunity to do this, and we are extremely excited to work with our stakeholders, including our Special Interest Groups, to present it to the world,” Peters added.

Dimanche Gras 2021

Image courtesy NCC.

In addition to the Online Museum, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World also offers a suite of services and capacities, including an online marketplace, as well as the capability to host live and pre-recorded events.

One such pre-recorded event will be a special edition of the much beloved Dimanche Gras show, produced this year by renowned playwright and artistic director, Davlin Thomas.

The 2021 edition of the Dimanche Gras show is themed “Trinidad Carnival – Beyond Virtual”.

“This year’s show will present historical Trinidad and Tobago, from the 1880s to the present as a magical real space,” Davlin Thomas explained, “where the past and the present converge to facilitate three distinct tiers of content—archival (past), contemporary content (present), and a signal event that employs both past and present elements, as performed by some of today’s up-and-coming artistes.”

“It presents an opportunity to reminisce and reflect,” Thomas added.

One NCC initiative of many to preserve Carnival

Colin Lucas, Chief Executive Officer of the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC).

NCC’s Chief Executive Officer, Colin Lucas, shared details on the Commission’s decision to launch Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World, fully taking into account the adverse socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on Carnival, tourism, and the nation as a whole.

“With Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World, we are pleased to offer the public a fresh yet familiar look and feel to our Carnival, which will always hold a very dear place in our hearts,” Lucas said.

“So, while the official decision to cancel the annual celebrations may have come as quite a shock and disappointment to many, we always have to be cognizant of what we are doing and why we are doing it,” Lucas added.

The NCC says its next steps, as an organisation committed to cultural development, celebration, and preservation, depend heavily on building on the groundwork laid with the successful launch of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival World.

“As we continue to build it out well past February 12, we want the public to know that this is as much their platform, as it is ours,” Lucas assured. 

“With that comes our commitment to work with each other—and not against each other—to turn the unpleasantness of a cancelled Carnival 2021, into a stronger, better Carnival 2022 and beyond,” the NCC CEO confirmed.