On August 31st, a bill to amend the Public Health Ordinance Act came in to effect making provisions for fixed penalty notices for breaches, included not wearing a face mask in the public.
A person who beaches the ordinance could be liable to a fine of $1,000 according to the amendment.
Additionally with the increasing number of death due to COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, a group of recording artists called “Vibrant” felt the need to drive the message of wearing a mask through song.
Lead by Allan Bhagan the executive producer who is also the owner of the Oasis and Laughing Monkey Bar and Lounge he motived his team to create a song and music video called “Wear Yuh Mask” which what they are hoping will spread like the pandemic to all corners of the globe. Keston James, also known as ‘Loose Change’, is one of the lead singers on the track.
He said the song began with ah instrumental.
“I work for Allan Bhagan. He is the owner of the lounge and while singing on the floor a few weeks aback, he was encouraging me to tell the customers to wear their mask and I began singing it to them and with that, the idea for the song came about.”
For James, the song reflects what’s happening in today’s society in a fun and catchy way the main aim of the song is to get more people to wear there mask.
Also working on the track was veteran musician Edwin Ayong ‘King Crazy’ who bought his experience and connections to the team along with this own unique creativity.
James said, “Everybody knows to do this, but you have to keep pounding it in their heads, registering it in their head, wear your mask, wear your mask, it saving you life.”
He reiterated the point that “this thing global it’s the whole world, it’s not just Trinidad and Tobago, it’s the whole world so send the message worldwide.”
The pandemic has affected the entertainment industry globally, with live performance event revenues being dramatically reduced.
For James, while he is coping he said, “This thing hard. For one I’m out of a job because of the law that past, income drop rapidly. I haven’t received my grant yet from (the) Social Development (Ministry). I’m still on hold and it’s hard to get a job. This is my bread and butter. I just using this to occupy myself to stay out of trouble.”
With over 17 years of experience singing, James is still hopeful that he can continue to make an income to provide for his family.
Executive producer Allan Bhagan said, “I have 30 staff. We were closed for three months the first time, and it was very hard all around money-wise to make ends meet, and when we opened back up the second time I decided that we wanted everyone to wear their mask, but we still had people not wearing their mask, so we started to tell people on the PA system wear yuh mask, wear yuh mask and it started to become a song.” He said it was his duty as a citizen to help produce this song to get the serious message out.
“We want to give back in our own way.”
He also warns “we are such a social people, but we have to live with this thing for a while so we need to change some of our habits.”
Also working on the track were Daniel John (Dan E Dan), Lewis Rowans (Tempo), Crystal Defour (Akeisha), and arranger Leston Paul.