Tuesday 25 February, 2020, was the last day many Trinbagoians revelled through the streets of Port- of- Spain for Carnival.
It has been almost two years and with close to 630,000 people vaccinated, stakeholders are exploring the possibility of some sort of Carnival in 2022.
“Right now I cannot say whether it will or will not but what I can tell you is that we are looking at some scenarios whereby we can have something it may not be Carnival as we know,” chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Winston Gypsy Peters said.
According to Peters, there was a meeting with interest groups last Friday to discuss a Carnival in February but only for the vaccinated.
“Whatever we are planning it will be for vaccinated people only, and that is not a Trinidad scenario that’s a worldwide thing. It’s for vaccinated people only,” he said.
He said certain areas such as the Queen’s Park Savannah and venues in Arima and San Fernando could be used as massive safe zones. And while it will not be like carnivals of the past, the promise of such an event may push some people to get inoculated.
“In Miami it happened because Miami carnival was only for vaccinated people and yes there had an influx of people running to get vaccinated,” Peters shared.
The NCC chairman said the consensus at the meeting was that there could be a carnival in 2022 but the final decision was now in the hands of the cabinet.
Chief Executive Officer of Caesar’s Army Jules Sobion was present at the meeting which he referred to as progressive and powerful. Sobion said everyone was given an opportunity to put their ideas forward but the execution is important now.
“Everybody is on the same page and everybody has an idea of how it could happen and why it needs to happen,” Sobion said.
Most importantly he said, were safety, security and the experience. The Caesar’s Army commander-in-chief said Miami carnival could be used as a blueprint but it will take a cohesive understanding of how to strategise and execute this.
“It will not be the same carnival that we are accustomed to but I definitely believe it will be a revolutionary carnival based on after the pandemic, “he elaborated.
He too believes that if there was a carnival people will vaccinate to participate. However, he said a decision should be made soon.
“I am only assuming that we would want to get this out as soon as possible, “he said.
He said he put the question of if there was a carnival 2022 forward to his community and people were receptive.
“There are persons who are already sending me their confirmations of their airline tickets already,” he said.
Band leader of Tribe Dean Akin said a street parade in February 2022 would only be possible if the vaccination rates go up and deaths decrease. But the promise of some sort of carnival is a good opportunity to encourage people to take the jab.
“I believe we can have vaccinated only Safe zones events as it has been working around the world,” he said.
However, Akin said November was very late for the preparation of a full-scale parade.
Owner of Mas Band Ronnie and Caro Ronnie McIntosh said he could not comment on the “possibility” but whatever they were having his band will make an effort to participate.
“Whether it’s one day, whether it’s half-day, whether it’s six hours only,” he said.
Pan Trinbago’s president Beverly Ramsey Moore said hosting a Panorama in 2022 was a different ball game but said an event in a bubble was possible as “nothing is impossible.”
“It will not be panorama it will be a steel band event but definitely not a panorama…when you talk panorama you talk community, massive large gathering involvement even at the practice session,” she said.
However, one of her main concerns was the amount of unvaccinated pannist.
“Maybe we will call to vaccinate to syncopate we may see thousands of them rushing to get vaccinated,” she said.
Guardian Media asked, would you participate in a Carnival for the vaccinated? Sherisse Arjoon said, “Hell yeah,” while Roland Mohammed said, “I feel it will not be controlled, not risking my parents’ life or little ones home.”
Alana Arnold said she would not take the jab even to participate in Carnival 2022.