Hosting Carnival 2021 is too great a risk to take.
This is the view of Tribe Carnival founder Dean Ackin who, in a Facebook message to masqueraders yesterday, said bringing people together, knowing the risk of Covid-19 would be irresponsible.
“I believe that it would only be safe to return to the streets when a vaccine or treatments are developed and widely available or when the experts sufficiently relax social distancing rules,” Ackin said.
Ackin said with the official Carnival date nine months away and given the current state of affairs in the world, it would be premature of him to make a declaration about it at this time.
“I have been contacted by many of you asking about our plans for Carnival 2021. We are humbled by your faith in Tribe, but we too are at the mercy of this virus.
“I know that Carnival, our Caribbean and our world will thrive once again. Trust that Tribe and its affiliate bands will be here at the end of this pandemic to serve, entertain and excite you,” Ackin added.
Ackin’s message comes on the heels of National Carnival Commission chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters’ statement that a decision on whether Trinidad and Tobago’s 2021 Carnival will be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic should be made in the next 90 days.
Via a telephone interview with the Express, Peters said there is enough time to determine whether Carnival will be on or off. “The fortunate thing for us in Trinidad and Tobago is that we have a little bit of room because our Carnival is still some ways away, so we will have time to look and see exactly what is happening. We can’t just say we are having or not having Carnival because nobody knows exactly where or when or to what extent the damage of this virus is going to take. This is a fight we have never fought before and I must commend the Government for a job well done. They have handled it very well,” Peters said.
Virtual band launch ? sub head ?
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bands Association (TTCBA) Rosalind Gabriel agrees that it is best to wait and see. “It is best to wait and see what the situation looks like in the next three months, but personally as president of the TTCBA I believe the chance that we will take to host Carnival will be great because none of us knows what the future holds with this virus,” Gabriel said.
Meanwhile, Ronnie MacIntosh, founder of Ronnie and Caro Mas band, said he wants to be prepared for when Carnival is given the green light to go. “Gypsy said give it 90 days and we working with that, but in the meantime we have to plan and prepare. As a matter of fact, our theme was released one week after Carnival 2020, even before the corona pandemic.
“We are planning and preparing and paying attention to what the experts say. At the end of the day, in terms of designing, a designer can’t wait for an announcement to say ‘yes, Carnival is on’ because of the magnitude of our operation. If they say ‘no’, then we put aside our designs, but in the meantime we have to prepare, because this is our normal preparation period. So, we are preparing.
“Carnival is a business, so we can’t wait to see. A lot of people are just trying to be politically correct to make it look that they are not planning, there is a lot of planning going on behind the scene; you cannot wait for an announcement to plan.
“I realise that some people are upset because we are planning. People tend to make it look like we are not studying the safety of the people. We are very concerned because we are adhering to the rules. Once it is announced that Carnival is on, we would be ready. We would also be ready with a virtual band launch. Once it is off, we will just put away our designers for the next opportunity,” MacIntosh said.