A press review proposed by Axelle Constantin
Since April, the question of maintaining the festivities has been under debate. The former Minister of Culture had expressed the uncertainty of the annual festival, due to the pandemic that had occurred a few months earlier. On September 28, Prime Minister Keith Rowley announced the final decision that no carnival would be held in Trinidad in 2021. This is the third time in the island’s history that the carnival has been cancelled. Rowley emphasised the health consequences and the high risk of contamination for both locals and tourists, as the virus is still a threat today (source : People Bo Kay ).
Indeed, according to the Trinidadian Prime Minister, the carnival would create an environment favorable to the spread of Covid-19. He nevertheless invites the population to keep a positive spirit. While it is true that the cancellation of the carnival would result in economic repercussions estimated in millions of dollars – Trinidad’s carnival, after that of Rio de Janeiro, is one of the most popular in the world – health safety will nevertheless remain a priority.
When the news was announced, opinions were divided. While some feared for those whose income depended on the festival, others rejoiced at the idea of virtually celebrating the event. Still others believe that maintaining the festivities would not guarantee their smooth running, knowing that the emphasis will be placed on economic investment focused more on health safety than on cultural events.
On the contrary, as Anthony Bisnath expressed it, « maintaining the carnival of 2021 could jeopardise the carnival of 2022 » (source : Global Voices). Despite the dubious reactions, health remains a priority for many. Some organisations do not hesitate to postpone their events or offer a virtual version of them. The artist Rubadiri Victor sees this as an « opportunity to launch the virtual economy of the territory » (source : Global Voices).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been more than 4000 cases of COVID and 72 deaths. The government has limited gatherings to 5 people (source : AP News ).
Trinidad and Tobago is joining the list of countries that have also cancelled the 2021 carnival, such as Brazil, Barbados and Jamaica (source : Stabroek News ).