Chief Secretary: Tobago Carnival in transition

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A masquerader from Gloria Stoiute Creation portrays her costume during the parade of the bands along Milford Road, Scarborough, Carnival Tuesday. – Photo by David Reid

Although Carnival 2023 was dubbed the Mother of all Carnivals, both the revelry and spectatorship failed to attract the usual interest in Tobago. A bandleader, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Newsday, “We just came out of October carnival which seemed to be a success, then Christmas. I really think we should do away with competing with the national event and stick to October carnival.”

Commenting on the issue last Wednesday, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said he saw an article addressing the absence of spectatorship, even in Trinidad.

“So nationally, people didn’t really come out to watch the events – so it’s not just a Tobago thing,” he said.

He recalled his earlier premonition that Tobago was transitioning.

“I made that very clear that Tobago is transitioning and so we did expect a much more low-key carnival this February than we had in October last year – that was expected.” He said a number of bandleaders had indicated that they preferred to wait on October to do their mas instead of competing with Trinidad.

“You also noticed that several Tobagonians decided to go to Trinidad and play mas and that has been the case for many, many years.”

He added: “Within this coming quarter, we’ll be able to wrap up all the post-mortem issues, tightening up for what is to expect for October, launching out in time for October and all of those things. But I did indicate that Tobago is transitioning to October and that February for Tobago would mean camps, retreats, the small parties, the after-parties – the just wanting to get away as what we would advertise and market the island for.

“It just doesn’t make any sense competing with a larger Trinidad that has all the artistes and everybody resident there to get that crowd, especially that international crowd. That’s why we indicated that we’re transitioning, but we won’t be transitioning without conversation with the stakeholders, so they are a part of the conversation about the transitioning and how we make that transition.”

LueAnn Melville placed second with her presentation Polyerata – The World’s Most Beautiful Hummingbird in the Queen of the Bands competition at Dwight Yorke Stadium carpark, Bacolet, February 15. – Photo by David Reid

LueAnn Melville and Associates won the band of year titles in both Roxborough and Scarborough.

Melville, a native of Roxborough, emerged winner with her presentation of Wings of Peace, for 1259 points in Scarborough and 697 points in Roxborough.

In a Facebook post , Melville expressed her gratitude to her masqueraders.

“You guys are incredible and have been the foundation and my greatest supporters for the past 15 years plus. I couldn’t have done it without your love, support, help and contributions. With much thanks and respect.”

In second place in Scarborough, there was a tie between Stoute’s Next Generation’s Mama: dis is ma (a tribute to Gloria Stoute) and Astra Winchester Creation’s Caribbean Unity with 1170 points.

In Roxborough, Stoute’s Next Generation took the second spot with 689 points and Lindley Melville and Associates in third place with Hello Africa. They scored 671 points.

Paragon Promotions’ presentation of Right Down, led by Akins Hislop, emerged winners in the Scarborough night mas category with 502 points, and Merissa Wharton-Hector’s Carnival Jumbies production copped first place in the traditional mas jab jab section.

Dazzle’s portrayal of Bring it On, with 513 points, won the Roxborough night mas in the fantasy category, with 4PF copping first in the traditional mas category with their presentation of Duttyness. Riley’s connection won the ole mas category with Tamboo Bamboo Come Back Again.

King of ole mas was Neilson Lewis with D Tired Piggy, Beverly Riley won the queen of ole mas with Drink Water and Mind my Business, while Ricardo and Beverly Riley won the title of ole mas couple with Stage in the Sea.