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Carnival stakeholders say DOMA’s call comes too late

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association’s (DOMA) president Gregory Aboud’s suggestions for a scaled-down Carnival is a case of too little and too late, according to Carnival stakeholders.

Carnival stalwart and promoter of pioneering Carnival events like Coca Cola Youth Fest and Ladies Night Out, Randy Glasgow, said while he commended Aboud for thinking about the industry, Carnival was a massive creative machine that required intense work and the co-operation of many to operate it. He said Aboud’s call, coming with just a month to go for Carnival, was just too late.

He added planning anything regarding Carnival this late could be very risky in light of COVID-19.

Speaking on Aboud’s suggestion for a moving panorama competition, Glasgow said it was not practical.

“These things require practice. He has to know. You just can’t lift up a thing and execute it. You have to practice to sound good and design things to look good, so it requires a lot of work.”

Glasgow, who will be hosting his annual post-Carnival Laugh Festival virtually said had the call been made perhaps two months ago, a way could have been found on how it could be reasonably executed, working with the authorities.

Radio personality, promoter, deejay, and Scorch Magazine CEO, Kwesi “Hoppy” Hopkinson agreed with Glasgow, saying it was like trying to stop a moving train.

“His sentiments, I expressed since the announcement of it. When the Prime Minister announced it I was on the radio and all asking why we taking it so lightly,” said Hopkinson.

He said Aboud’s call passed its time. “He can’t come now. He is a major voice. He should have sought this quite then. That is just to show, we are a reactive society,” Hopkinson lamented.

Meanwhile Iwer ‘Soca Lord’ George, who said he had not had the chance to see Aboud’s suggestions, told Guardian Media his interest at this time lay in bridging the generation gap in T&T’s calypso and soca through his virtual culture showcase—Return of the Bands.

“I recognise we have two lost generations in calypso and soca. If you look at the calypso tent, it went down two generations now. And for two generations now, most of the soca events you go to now, will not have live music. So I really use this opportunity to tell it back to the generation, to let them know this is how it was, to give them an opportunity going forward,” George explained.

His colleague in soca Aaron ‘Voice’ St Louis is also about the good vibes and keeping the culture alive.

“I feel like this year should be pretty much for us to keep the culture alive. I don’t think profit should be at the forefront. Obviously, those things would definitely have to take the back burner, now. So I believe promoters and everyone who is involved should do it solely for the love of carnival and not with the idea of making a profit or anything like that.”

But for everyone still fussing about a Carnival 2021 happening or not, calypsonian and Ronnie and Caro band leader Ronnie Mc Intosh, advised it was time to get over it.

“From Ronnie and Caro perspective there is no Carnival and we have gotten past that “tabanca” period since probably September…October, because of the fact, that Carnival is not seasonal for us, so basically dealt with that. A lot of people talking about Carnival now because it’s a season and they want to know how yuh feeling, and stuff, but we have moved on,” McIntosh related.

He said if the governing bodies decided to present anything and their presence was requested, they will be present. But for now, they were monitoring international and local situations and were focused on the next Carnival.

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