No more drama, Tobago bandleaders agree to participate in the mas

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No more drama, Tobago bandleaders agree to participate in the mas

In spite of threats of boycotting the mas, Tobago band leaders will be participating in this year’s carnival after all.

During the media launch of Tobago Carnival 2023, head of the Tobago Festivals Commission John Arnold said he has been in constant communication and has received the assurance that the island’s streets are set to cascade with colours.

Arnold said there has been no change to the $1.3 million allocation which had caused the contention.

He said the issue is how do you marry those two and how we meet in the middle and that happens from consultations, negotiation and discussions, that we did. All this was discussed including the flow of the programme, the calendar of events so at this point, barring any other instruction, as far as I know, the budget remains the same.”

He said the bandleaders promised two things, “that we will see more participation and also the quality of the mas, there will be significant improvement in that for 2023.”

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine noted that the band leaders had done much more with mas for much less during the island’s October carnival.

Arnold, who also agreed, said preservation of the art form trumped all else.

He said, “We have to, and the mas leaders agree, we’ve got to invest in some more training and also awareness to get more people in Tobago to play mas.”