So far two Carnival organisations have indicated that their events for Carnival 2021 have been postponed.
The Trinibago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) and the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) have both admitted that COVID-19 has grounded traditional carnival activities.
Earlier this year, former Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly stated as the country was now grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that Carnival 2021 will not be cancelled.
With the Health Ministry statistic TUCO president Lutalo Masimba told Guardian Media, his organisation has adapted to a virtual setting and will use next month’s Calypso History events to test in preparations for virtual Calypso events in 2021.
“We are proposing a postponement for later in the year, perhaps in June month of 2021, because as far as we are concerned as an organisation are the health and safety of the patrons coming to our events, and to have a good Carnival it is more than just a visual, there is a feeling, a movement, a vibration that goes throughout Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
“To have that experience it will be very difficult to get that in the virtual showcase but this is the time we are living in.”
He adds TUCO is preparing to do a virtual showcase for Carnival 2021 which will be used as a promotion at a later date in the year. This is how we are thinking as an organisation going forward.
Already, some national events were cancelled or had to be retrofitted within the Public Health protocols for COVID-19.
NCBA president David Lopez told the Guardian Media that Trinidad and Tobago missed a bullet in 2020 Carnival and thank God for that, in terms of going forward for Carnival 2021, we don’t see Carnival happening in 2021 and probably in a little while to come still so the whole game has changed.
“In 2009, the NCBA had built a Carnival Management system which was to manage all the events online and some members was upset about that but we still had our system in place and members of National Carnival Commission did not embrace it but with the pandemic this is what we all have to use now,” Mr Lopez said, “So what I think what we have to do is to develop how we produce and do virtual competition henceforth.”
He added, “Our challenge is that the NCBA is that we know that the Government cannot and would not be able to continue to put the kind of money that they put in Carnival and what is sad about this is that the money that is allocated to Carnival does not come direct to us but the suppliers and service providers.”
“It gives us a chance and I hope we don’t miss the boat but this situation allows us to reorganise and repackage and to understand what we want our lineage Carnival because I have been around the world for carnivals and for example Grenada has branded their Carnival,” he said.