Home / View Point / Write Start (16-18): Jab before ‘jab jab’; Tsai-Ann Lewis says vaccination cards, not rags, will dominate Carnival 2022 

Write Start (16-18): Jab before ‘jab jab’; Tsai-Ann Lewis says vaccination cards, not rags, will dominate Carnival 2022 

“[…] Carnival will most definitely be for those who are vaccinated, as most things have or are becoming.

“[…] Before the event formally begins, persons will need to wear their Covid-19 vaccination cards and a form of identification around their necks to ensure that they are permitted to partake in this festive celebration…”

Seventeen-year-old Arima North Secondary student Tsai-Ann Lewis is the second shortlisted writer for the 16-18 category for the Wired868 Write Start competition. Their topic is to ‘describe the ways in which you think the first post-Covid-19 Carnival will be different from its predecessors’:

Photo: Soca artiste Kes performs at a Carnival fete.

Carnival has always been a time of cultural celebration amongst Trinbagonian people. It is a time where people gather around all parts of the country and dance with strangers in crowded roads, as everyone has the time of their lives and music pumps loudly enough to deafen you—in a good way that is. 

“The celebrations were put on hold during World War II (1942-1945). In 1972, it was postponed to May because of a polio epidemic.” – newsday.co.tt. 

Due to Covid-19, we missed Carnival for the first time in a very long time. This has caused outrage as people are being forced to stop celebrating the culture they grew up with their entire lives, and it is understandable why. 

Despite this, it is clear to see why Carnival had to be canceled in the first place. Covid has basically destroyed our way of living and flipped our entire country upside down! 

This all begs the following questions; What will Carnival be like post covid? Will it be the way it has always been? Will it be the complete opposite? 

Photo: NCRHA health care workers send a message to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.
(via NCRHA)

So many questions longing for answers—the answers I will be giving you today. In order for there to even be a Carnival, safety regulations must be put in place to ensure that all participants are safe. Nobody wants a drastic increase of Covid cases and deaths, or else it can be catastrophic for our country and economy. It will be devastating for families and hospital supplies cost money.

We are our government’s main priority and our safety comes first. So yes, Carnival will be different and that is to be expected if we want to continue celebrating our heritage. 

Carnival will most definitely be for those who are vaccinated, as most things have or are becoming. The vaccines have been put in place so that whoever takes it will be more protected against the Covid-19 virus than those who have not yet taken it.

Therefore, people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to get the Covid-19 virus and even if they do, their bodies will most likely recover well and they may not even need to seek much medical assistance if any at all. 

Photo: El Dorado West Secondary student Ashlee Ramoutar (right) receives her Covid-19 vaccine from pharmacist Elisha Sankar.
(Copyright Lou-Ann Sankar)

Before the event formally begins, persons will need to wear their Covid 19 vaccination cards and a form of identification around their necks to ensure that they are permitted to partake in this festive celebration. Protocols will be presented to ensure that everyone is well aware of what is going on. Therefore, no one will have any excuse if caught breaking the rules and most importantly, this will guarantee the safety of all. 

Persons who come together will not be permitted to social distance from each other but must social distance from everyone else. In fact, police will swarm the streets to guarantee that no one breaks social distancing protocols, which means there will be no grinding and gyrating on those outside your intended groups.

This is to ensure that in the event that someone has become infected with the virus within said group, it will not spread as much as if everyone were jumbled up together in a chaotic mess. 

The streets will only be as crowded as a regular Monday morning before Covid came to be. This is because not many Trinidadians are vaccinated and not all vaccinated persons will go to Carnival, which drops the number of celebrators to nearly a quarter of our nation. 

Photo: Jab before Jab…
(Copyright Dwain Thomas)

In addition to this, it is safe to assume that in each friend group all will not be vaccinated. Please stay with me. This means that people are less inclined to come out altogether or the groups will be significantly smaller. 

By now it is obvious that masks will be absolutely mandatory to prevent and reduce the spread of any sicknesses and must not be pulled down at any given time. Consequently, there will be no drinking or sharing of drinks whatsoever. I’m sure people will be disappointed that they cannot get their ‘buzz’ on but it is all in the name of continuing our culture, am I right? 

Some persons will most definitely be charged or arrested for trying to drink or sharing drinks and taking off their masks when they assume police are not looking. There is a high chance that unvaccinated people may try to smuggle their way into Carnival. 

As we said earlier, people must wear their vaccination cards and a form of identification around their necks to ensure that they are allowed in the area, so anyone without a card will most definitely be spotted and dealt with accordingly. After all, there are always the rebellious few who think they are above the law.

Photo: Riot police interact with patrons at Carnival 2019 Wet Fete- “Jamnation” at O2 Park, Chaguaramas on 24 February 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

These infractions may be seen as ‘petty crime’ or the police being ‘wicked’ to some, but police will not be able to let this ‘lenient’ behaviour slide or else it can lead to something detrimental. 

Loud music will be played as usual and people will dance and sing amongst each other, although they won’t be as loud as they used to be due to the lack of people. Every few minutes, the music will abruptly stop to reiterate all protocols so there will be no forgetting or excuses for not following the rules.

Trinidadians have a way of making any circumstance and occasion as fun as it can possibly be. That is just our nature and that is what makes us great.

All in all, most, if not all participants, will enjoy themselves and it will surely be truly memorable. It will surely be the talk of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Editor’s Note: Wired868 will announce the winners of the inaugural Write Start competition on 13 December 2021. The first place winner will get TT$6,000, a six-month mobile plan from bmobile, and two complimentary movie tickets to CinemaONE.

Click HERE for more information on the Wired868 Write Start prize structure and do share your favourite essays!

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