Burris dismisses Duke: Carnival’s success speaks for itself

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Secretary of Tourism and Culture Tashia Burris. File photo/David Reid

THE success of the inaugural Tobago carnival speaks for itself.

This was THA Tourism and Culture Secretary Tashia Burris’s response to Progressive Democratic Patriots’ political leader Watson Duke, who has described the October 28-30 festival as a failure.

Duke made the statement in a Facebook live video during his Mandate Monday forum.

Duke chastised the THA for hosting the event in the rainy season, saying the heavy rains had caused several events to bust. He also claimed that THA secretaries benefited most from the festival.

“They were the real winners. After all, who else got free tickets, free food, free fetes. They were the winners,” he said.

At the post-executive council media briefing on Thursday, Burris scoffed at Duke’s position, saying the feedback from visitors, so far, has been excellent.

“I know that there has been a lot of conversation in the space about how do we measure success, and I just want to quickly address – because I have been asked about it on more than one occasion – about the comments made by the leader of the PDP, Mr Watson Duke, relative to the carnival.

“I don’t have much to say about him except that success speaks its own language. If you stood up at the airport and listened to all of the conversations about everybody who was leaving Tobago – nobody had a bad thing to say.

“Everybody was talking about how great an experience they had, how epic an experience they had, how they are going to come back next year with more people,” she said.

“This was not Tobagonians talking but people who visited the island. So that we don’t have to blow our own trumpets or fight to convince anybody about what the value of the thing was or the impact

“The thing speaks for itself and we will continue to receive the reviews, good bad and indifferent and we will take the good for what they are, we will take the bad for what they are and improve on the experience, because certainly we have room to grow.”

Burris said the Tobago Carnival Committee will conduct its post mortem and present a report by the end of the month.

She added the shortcomings will not prevent the island from having a bigger and better festival next year.

“I know these things are fixable. I know it is just a matter of having more conversations and a little better logistical planning, but all in all, we had an excellent first carnival. People felt the ritual, people felt the revelry, people felt the release.”

Burris urged Tobagonians to embrace the concept of having a standalone carnival, “because if nothing was proved over the weekend, the weekend proved that we in Tobago can do it.”