Tobago has the potential to host a world class Carnival, but according to the chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC), Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters, the 2023 staging of their second Carnival in October left him underwhelmed and disappointed.
Peters said he saw significant improvements this year, but yet several key aspects of the main events were missing.
Speaking to media during the Parade of Bands on Sunday, Peters believes that Tobago has the potential to have a world-class Carnival. However, he said, this could be only be achieved through closer collaboration between the Tobago House of Assembly, (THA) and NCC.
Peters said: “I think the organisation last year was better than this year to be honest. There were a lot of shortcomings because Carnival is not something that starts on Carnival.
“You can’t wait for people to start; you have to put activities in place. Your competitions, whatever you’re having, it must start a certain time so the bands would be there, so the people would know and come to whatever you’re having there. But if it is that you’re just going to leave it up to whatever it is, with no incentives to bring the people and bands here, everything we do in Carnival has incentives.”
Peters said he felt Tobago could have hit the target to achieving an outstanding display with the help of NCC.
“J’Ouvert was top of the line, the parties and prelude was much more organised than this (Parade of the Bands) is at this minute,” he said.
He reiterated that he was disappointed that the NCC was completely excluded from Tobago’s Carnival celebrations for both its inaugural year and this year, considering that countries around the world respected and sought Trinidad’s input for their own Carnivals.
“Tobago Carnival has the potential to do better than all the Carnivals in the Caribbean. Tobago has everything it needs to have a perfect Carnival. In this case, I will –we, because Tobago is part of Trinidad and Tobago—and we are going to have to make Tobago Carnival work…There is a blueprint that we could put here that can work but it has to be drawn up.”
Despite the THA rejecting the NCC’s help in 2022, he said he was willing to put this behind and offer the necessary assistance to make Tobago’s Carnival a renowned event.
Reports state that it took close to an hour before bands began passing the Stage in the Sea point and the gap between the appearance of bands was long and frustrating.
Peters said: “We (NCC) have to help because regardless of what, this is Trinidad and Tobago. We cannot allow one part of my country to look bad with something that we offer the world and is renowned for, which is Carnival. We are a Carnival country, so we need to make it better, we need to work out whatever. I am sure next year will be better.”