If it were left to the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA), there would still be a Carnival 2021..albeit on a smaller scale.
In a release on Monday, DOMA said that to discard Carnival 2021 without any efforts to find an imaginative alternative, “is to say that we have also discarded our creative thinking that we so often pride ourselves on.”
It added: “We, of our own volition, seem to be giving back the cultural ‘trophy’ that the world gave us and standing on the sidelines without any effort at innovation. We seem to be fulfilling the doctrine of underdevelopment of ‘why take risks when we can do nothing and have nothing to do’.”
It added that comparisons with other major carnivals that have been cancelled will only prove a “special T&T brand of intellectual impotence.”
“The mere fact that others have cancelled their Carnival actually leaves the proverbial stage of life vacant for us here in T&T to host some type of unique evolutionary festival. Scaled-down substantially of course but an exhibition nevertheless of our great talent and cultural richness,” DOMA noted.
DOMA said:”In our respectful opinion, Carnival is part of our cultural and psychological DNA for huge cross-sections of our citizens especially our young people. It represents our creativity, exuberance and fun-loving nature that has made us the popular Carnival destination that we are. It’s absence could have a very depressing effect on us psychologically.”
DOMA also listed ways they believe that a Carnival can still be held.
Among their suggestions was a moving parade of reduced numbers, which, if carefully supervised, would maintain social distancing and because of reduced numbers would be allowed to move freely through the streets.
They proposed a moving Panorama competition, to be judged on the move by judges who are also moving on platform and an open-air calypso tent, with all applicable seating arrangements, distancing and safety protocols applied.
DOMA also suggested the creation of a unique Carnival Covid Mask (perhaps a Carnival Mask Competition with health criteria included in the conditions) which not only protects the spectators and the masqueraders but becomes a symbol of the design genius among our citizens which is often paid lip service but hardly given its rightful recognition by those who hold the reigns.
DOMA argued that the Carnival vacuum created internationally by COVID-19 represents a novel opportunity for this country to prove its Carnival worth and creative genius to the world.