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Yuh cyah play sailor and fraid powder

Sunday, January 28, 2018

“Tweet, tweet, tweet…drop your keys and bow your knees…yuh mocking pretender…”

The prowling Midnight Robber (recession) has so paralysed the Government with fear in this “Carnival season when men lose their reason” that instead of conceiving of and implementing economic plans and projects to take advantage of widespread economic activity and foreign arrivals, it has retreated to protect the public purse, fearful that the Midnight Robber would plunder.

Continuing austerity without plans, projects and programmes to stimulate the economy and encourage the private sector, eg, fete promoters, calypso tent managers, band leaders, local manufacturers and mas creators will constrict Carnival’s economic potential.

What’s more, the Government’s carnival austerity outlook has frightened a less-than-adventurous private sector into retreat, lest it becomes a victim of the Midnight Robber.

2015 through 2018 provided a creative challenge to the Government to establish a framework for the festival to stimulate internal economic activity and to create a platform for increasing visitor arrivals and so the potential for earning increased quantities of foreign exchange.

A chairman and Board of the National Carnival Commission were appointed two months before 2018 Carnival. Without transformation of the organisation of Carnival, what else could the interest groups do but line up for subventions?

An NCC appointed with a mandate to transform the Carnival and with time to do so in collaboration with the interest groups of Carnival, the merchants, the manufacturers, the fete promoters, impresario’s et al would have had the opportunity to develop and implement plans and programmes to reduce and or eliminate the trek for subventions.

The possibilities for expanding and developing the elements of Carnival into cultural-commercial activities are many—Dr J D Elder was sure that culture had to feed those who produced it.

The first step is for Carnival organisers to understand the historic, socio-cultural and political forces which produced and shaped the Carnival. Among the possible elements yet to be fully exploited are the fetes for the young and young at heart with crowds hooked on the hard-driving soca. The idea of the Carnival Museum is at least two decades old; time for implementation.

Last Sunday, I reviewed a new book by Dr Louis Regis on calypso, race and nationalism, there is much potential for discussion, ole talk, eating, drinking and liming around such a theme. The legacy of the history and creative flights of fancy mas, the fancy sailor bands, the Red Indian mas, the Midnight Robber, Burrokeet, devil mas are waiting to be understood, shaped and put on display for entertainment and appreciation.

The opportunities to do something creative and commercial with J’Ouvert morning mas and steel band on the road for Monday evening and Tuesday night for us to once again to experience pan on the road is in need of commercial organisation. These are features of the mas that will satisfy the over 50s and be an enduring revelation for the young crowd, who will eventually interpose their own expressions.

For a couple decades no solution has been found to the slow drag on Carnival Tuesday yet there is protest to the Soca Drome expanding the Carnival parade venues.

Dimanche Gras, Panorama and the Parade of Bands are in desperate need of reorganisation; true, true kaiso requires stimulation.

Stimulation of an economy in recession is sound economic theory (Keynes) and practice; the Obama regime did it after the 2008 recession. Growth will return jobs and special taxation measures imposed on business operations which capitalise on Carnival can assist in paying for the staging of the festival and to reward the producers of mas, pan and calypso.

One absolute requirement to make the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival even more compelling to residents and foreign visitors is to deal effectively with the criminal gangs and white-collar criminality.

Locking down the city for two days is insufficient.


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