Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley plays tassa during his “Friday Night” Lime virtual event.

Government had just been considering rolling back restrictions on the entertainment sector when the latest COVID-19 cases arose, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Friday night.

Rowley made the comment during his “Friday Night” Lime virtual event. It was part of the People’s National Movement’s election campaign outreach and presented Rowley in a relaxed atmosphere among young entertainment sector artistes. He even played tassa.

During the lime, however, the Prime Minister said Government was cognizant that the entertainment community was affected by the COVID restrictions.

“We were rolling back things very carefully and the next area would have been entertainment. (But) … we have to wait a little while but we’re anxious to roll it back,” Rowley said.

He said Government was cognizant that entertainment is a significant part of the economy but the situation had to proceed carefully due to the highly infectious nature of the virus.

“We want to get you back to work. But as we want to do that, we’re controlled by the decision making of the environment – whether the virus would flourish or would be suppressed,” he said.

If the recent three confirmed cases turn out to be community spread, Rowley said T&T would have to look at what happened overseas. He noted what happened in Seoul, Korea, with one person becoming infected at one nightclub.

Asked about his childhood, Rowley said his parents’ music was gospel and Negro spirituals. He explained to his young hosts what a radiogram and gramophone to play records on was. He said a lot of calypso was sold on 45-inch records and long-playing records. In the 1960s, he said, there was an explosion of soul music.

“It came from Detroit straight to Tobago and we grew up on that from the late 1960s to early 1980s,” he added.

He recalled the weekly radio music countdowns T&T had in those days. He recounted Jim Reeves’ music and also related his encounter with the music of his daughters’ generation.

When it came time for his moment with a small tassa group, Rowley first got a short practice session with the senior member. He caught on quickly and then joined the group in a jam session, after which he put his hands in the air triumphantly and said,” I played the tassa!”