TSTT's General Manager Shared Services, Gerard Cooper, is flanked by TUCO's President, Lutalo Masimba (right) and Marketing Manager Devon Seales.

The 2021 road march will be determined virtually. bmobile in collaboration with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) made the announcement today. Artistes will be allowed to register up to two songs for entry which will then be voted on via unique text codes through bmobile’s text messaging platform. In a press release, Bmobile stated that the partnership seeks to continue to highlight the work of our music artistes and engage the national audience simultaneously.

The following is a press release from bmobile:

As the nation continues to adapt and find innovative ways to continue with business unusual, bmobile has taken the initiative by forging a new partnership with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) to advance the traditional Road March competition via virtual means for 2021. Given that there will be no staging of the Carnival Parade this year due to Public Health restrictions, the partnership seeks to continue to highlight the work of our music artistes and engage the national audience simultaneously.

The 2021 bmobile & TUCO Online Road March will allow artistes to register up to two songs for entry which will then be voted on via unique text codes through bmobile’s text messaging platform. This new take on the decades-old competition will provide an alternative platform for showcasing the work of musicians and also offer up a Grand Prize of $100,000 to the song and artiste with the most votes.

TSTT’s General Manager Shared Services, Gerard Cooper, pointed out, “As the only truly local communications provider, bmobile understands our critical role and our unique responsibility in supporting and contributing to the continued development of the culture of our nation. The celebration of Carnival is one of the major junctions where many artforms and creative expressions collide and we identified this as one of the most effective ways that we could innovate on one aspect of Carnival, using our technology and communications platforms.” He also noted that this was also a unique way to engage citizens at home as it would be the first time that a Road March would be decided solely by citizens and not by designated judges at key Carnival Parade routes.

Voting for the competition will commence on 1 February and end on 16 February 2021, with votes being accepted from both bmobile and Digicel platforms as well as from international mobile numbers, to allow members of the diaspora to also register their vote. The Road March competition has been held annually since 1932 with the exceptions of the years in which Carnival was cancelled due to World War II.

At the official signing, Lutalo Masimba, President of TUCO, commented that this was a logical evolution for the competition platform, “It’s a very important project for us in TUCO and our steps towards doing something different to make sense of this new normal. We always aim to be proactive and this is a very important relationship for us with bmobile and our new marketing management team. For the artistes, it’s very important to continue to have a forum for them to share their work.” He also added that 2021 is the 100th Anniversary of the commercial calypso tent. “In 1921, the Calypso tent was born with a new slant and a whole new ambience, from which it turned into a solid institution,” he highlighted. According to Masimba, the Online Road March also brings a new era of participation allowing citizens to really have their opinion heard and allows a new era of appreciation. “We moving forward, we looking nice and feeling good; once there is music – we will be alright.”

bmobile is proud to use its resources and expertise to support soca artistes in these unique and challenging times. As a long-standing supporter of many facets and events for the Carnival season, this new partnership with TUCO represents a new stage in the unfolding story of our unique Carnival and our resilience and creativity as a people.