Home / View Point / Write Start (16-18): Brace for bacchanal! Kyla-Marie Singh sees protests and price spikes in Carnival 2022

Write Start (16-18): Brace for bacchanal! Kyla-Marie Singh sees protests and price spikes in Carnival 2022

“[…] I do think that there would be a lot of controversy specifically from ‘anti-vaxxers’ about non-vaccinated persons not being able to partake in these festivities—and this might cause a problem in society at that appointed time. 

“[…] There would possibly a price increase in all areas and industries that usually benefit from Carnival, e.g., hotels, food caterers, travel agencies, DJs, performers, event planners, tourism industry etc, who missed out on their usual financial gain in 2021…”

Sixteen-year-old Holy Faith Convent (Couva) student Kyla-Marie Singh is the third 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: Tribe unveils its ‘Ice Queen’ in the Tribe Ice Fete at the Queen’s Park Savannah on 5 January 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

It is no secret that Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is said to be the best Carnival in the Caribbean and even worldwide. Held annually on Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday, this event is well known for its participants’ colourful costumes and exuberant celebrations while different styles of Caribbean music like soca and steelpan bands are blasted throughout the country. 

The festivities officially commence early Monday morning before sunrise, with J’ouvert, and is subsequently followed by ‘the two days of craziness’, Carnival Monday and Carnival Tuesday. At Carnival, travel agencies, airlines, car rental companies, the hotels, guest houses, fete promoters, caterers, costume makers, masqueraders, security companies, etc., benefit financially. Foreign exchange is also boosted. 

Notably, Carnival does not only immensely impact the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, entertainment-wise, but moreover it also greatly influences the country and its tourism and economic industries, financially. 

The preparation for the celebrations starts at least a year in advance. Just as each Carnival ends, the work for the next year’s event begins. So, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, cancellations of innumerable Carnival events in 2021 were a blow to the island that was already struggling through an economic crisis. 

Photo: Carnival 2021 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Amanda McIntyre, sporting a black Baby Doll costume, joined a group of people who solemnly marched around the Queen’s Park Savannah.
(Copyright Lisa Fernandez)

Many local businesses that depended on the revenue from the elaborate festivals were left at a standstill. The impact was also felt by everyone from costume designers, DJs, musicians, food suppliers, and hotels to the many participants of the event nation-wide as well as internationally. 

Carnival had not been canceled since Carnival 1972, which was postponed due to a polio outbreak on the island. It was the first time since World War II that Carnival could not be held on the two Pre-Lenten dates, however it was postponed to May of that same year. 

It is common knowledge that life after Covid-19 would presumably never be the same and Carnival is nowhere near to being exempted. Ever since the topic of Carnival 2022 has popped up, discussions pertaining to how Carnival would be different, have not been too far behind. 

Today, we will be discussing these possible changes to our beloved festival in 2022 and maybe even the years to come. 

First and foremost, participants would most likely need to be vaccinated in order to attend, especially those who are travelling in from different countries.

Photo: An elderly man shows off his Covid-19 health card.

To me and many others, this would be the safest and smartest solution because getting vaccinated may also protect people around you—for if you are protected from getting infected and from the disease, you are less likely to infect someone else. Although some might argue that vaccinated persons are still prone to getting the virus, their reaction to it won’t be as extreme compared to the unvaccinated. 

Secondly, when it comes to private parties or fetes or even the main Carnival event itself, I do think participants may need to provide their immunisation card as proof of being vaccinated. 

Covid-19 prescreening forms may also need to be filled out the day or night before a specific fete to ensure that attendees do not have any underlying symptoms as well as for the safety of the other persons who would be there. 

A negative Covid-19 test may also need to be included if you do indicate on the form that you are experiencing symptoms of the virus. 

Participants would obviously be expected to wear their masks and keep the ‘3ft-6ft apart’ rule in motion and be encouraged to have their own sanitisers, check their temperatures upon entry as well as wash their hands any chance they get. 

Photo: Soca star performs at the Tribe Ice fete during the 2019 Carnival season.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Additionally, I do think there would be an increase of security to ensure that social distancing is maintained and furthermore to verify that the persons there are vaccinated by checking for their immunisation cards. 

Thirdly, going back to the conversation on vaccinations, I anticipate that there would be less people in attendance to parties, fetes, etc because not everyone would be open to the idea of taking the vaccine. Some persons may only be partially vaccinated or may not have completed the two-week period yet after receiving their second shot to gain full immunity in time to engage in these events. 

In addition to this statement, I would like to add that I do think that there would be a lot of controversy specifically from ‘anti-vaxxers’ about non-vaccinated persons not being able to partake in these festivities—and this might cause a problem in society at that appointed time. 

Finally, the last difference would possibly a price increase in all areas and industries that usually benefit from Carnival, e.g., hotels, food caterers, travel agencies, DJs, performers, event planners, tourism industry etc, who missed out on their usual financial gain in 2021. 

Photo: A midnight robber during carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago.
(Courtesy Traditional Mas)

Costumes would be pricier, tickets to special events would cost more as well as guest houses and transportation providers. 

Sadly, Carnival would never be the same, but I do believe the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and Carnival lovers from around the world would make the best out of an unfortunate situation and try to enjoy it to the fullest, while simultaneously making up for the years of Carnival lost as well as staying safe from the Covid-19 virus. 

It won’t be easy to return to our old ways comfortably, but I believe that we will get accustomed and learn to love the new way of Carnival and the new way of life. 

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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