…Island to host its own show from October 28-30
Carnival 2022 in Tobago is on!
For the first time ever, the island will host its very own Carnival festivities, separate and apart from celebrations in Trinidad.
Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Tashia Burris announced yesterday that Carnival celebrations will be held in Tobago from Friday, October 28 to Sunday October 30, 2022.
“We have put together a very dynamic Carnival committee. We have a number of consultants who have agreed to come on board to provide their expertise, advice and their training, to be able to execute this event.
“And we’re looking forward to the participation of all our stakeholders and everybody who have been waiting for Carnival in October,” she said at yesterday’s Tobago House of Assembly executive council news briefing.
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine noted yesterday that the budget for Carnival in October was yet to be finalised, but will be made public next week.
“I can tell you that this week the organising committee will be announced. The conversations started a long time ago with the stakeholders, so there is a pretty much very clear idea as to what sort of activities there will be. And consultations included stakeholders from the Trinidad space because we want to attract Trinidadians in bulk to the Tobago space on that last weekend. We want all of you at that month-end period to engage us as much as is possible,” he stated.
At previous news briefings, Augustine had indicated Tobago would host its own Carnival in October, but there was no decision on the exact dates.
Traditionally, Tobago runs its Carnival celebrations simultaneously with Trinidad.
This year, Trinidad held a version of Carnival titled a Taste of Carnival, between February and March.
However, the THA opted to forgo all Carnival events following a consensus among steelpan, mas and calypso stakeholders in January.
“Deciding not to host physical carnival festivities in the traditional way, demonstrates that we are putting the lives of our citizens first and foremost. Secondly, because of the short time frame, planning carnival activities in February would be rushed and not result in the benefits and impact that are desired,” Burris said in a statement in January.
Although there were no major Carnival events in Tobago, the THA sought to keep the Carnival spirit alive via various activities, including a Carnival museum at Fort King George and Carnival displays at the ANR Robinson International Airport.
Quiet time of year
Responding to the announcement of Tobago’s Carnival dates yesterday, vice-president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association Carolyn Birchwood-James told the Express in a telephone interview that the association welcomed any initiative that would attract visitors to the island.
“We have to wait for the roll-out to let them explain exactly what they are going to have. Whether it is a second Carnival, that is something they will have to explain, meaning that we may have some type of Carnival activity while Trinidad is having their Carnival and then they will have Tobago Carnival in October,” she said.
Birchwood-James said October was carefully chosen for Tobago’s Carnival festivities as it is a “very quiet” time of year.
“Research was done on this quite a few years ago and the date was chosen because it is outside the usual Caribbean Carnival events. It’s quite in October. That is going to be the last Carnival event of the year. It is a quiet time in the Caribbean and it is also a quiet time in Trinidad and Tobago, as far as festivities are concerned,” she added.
Chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber Martin George said the business group welcomed the announcement and hoped Tobago’s Carnival in October will be a world class, international standard event to rival Trinidad’s Carnival.
“While we appreciate that announcement being made, we await with eager anticipation to see the itinerary and schedule of events which will accompany this event.
“We are hoping that there will be due diligence and proper planning and execution of this event, as it’s going to be the first of its kind and will set the tone and pace for future events of this nature, comprising what will be the Tobago Carnival,” he stated.
“We want this to be stamped on the calendar as an event that people will look forward to annually, the same way they look forward to Crop Over Barbados, Miami Carnival, Jamaica’s Carnival, and Toronto’s Caribana. Tobago’s Carnival must make its mark,” George stated.
He said to do so, Tobago must ensure it gets the best, brightest and most competent professionals in the industry.
“Persons like Randy Glasgow, Johnny Q, Dean Ackin of Tribe and Ultimate Events Ltd, we need to get them on board, have them partner with some of our Tobago business persons and Tobago promoters to produce a fantastic world class international standard event, which will set the bar as a not-to-be missed event in the calendar of Carnivals around the world,” he added.
“We are hoping to be able to work with the THA in this regard. We of the business community in Tobago stand ready, willing and available to play our part to make this the number one event that we are going to be even challenging Trinidad’s Carnival.
“We do not want this to be an October version of the mundane, pedestrian, ordinary Carnival-type event that we are accustomed to having in Tobago in February.
“This must be totally and radically different. It must really and truly represent the essence of what Carnival is, and that way we will now have an event that everyone will look forward to,” George added.
By: Leah Sorias