Tobago Business Chamber: October Carnival must rival regional, international festivals

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tobago Queen of Carnival LueAnn Melville portraying the Spirit of Carnival in 2020. – DAVID REID

The Tobago Business Chamber says the island’s October Carnival must make its mark on the world stage, even rivalling Trinidad’s event and those of its regional and international counterparts.

The chamber’s chairman Martin George said in a WhatsApp voice note: “We want this to be stamped on the calendar as an event that people will look forward to annually, the same way they look forward to Crop Over in Barbados, Miami Carnival, Jamaica’s Carnival and Toronto’s Caribana. Tobago’s Carnival must make its mark,”

George said the island’s Carnival must not be “an October version of the mundane, pedestrian, ordinary Carnival-type event that we are accustomed to having in Tobago in February.

“This must be totally and radically different. It must really and truly represent the essence of what Carnival is, and that way we will now have an event that everyone will look forward to.”

At the THA’s virtual Mandate Monday forum, Secretary of the Division of Tourism, Culture, antiquities and Transportation Tasha Burris announced that Tobago’s Carnival will be held from October 28-30.

It will be the country’s first full Carnival since the start of the pandemic.

Trinidad got a taste of Carnival in February, in which vaccinated patrons were allowed to participate at designated safe-zone events.

Burris said a committee was being set up to oversee the planning and execution of Tobago’s October Carnival, which is expected to see a host of events over the period. The committee is due to be formalised next week.

Welcoming the dates, George said the organisers must ensure seasoned event promoters are on board to assist.

“We must ensure that we get the best and the brightest, the most competent professionals in the industry, all the great event promoters, persons like Randy Glasgow, Johnny Q, Dean Akin of Tribe and Ultimate events.”

He said they must partner with Tobago businesspeople and promoters to produce “a fantastic, world-class, international-standard event which will set the bar as a not-to-be-missed event in the calendar of Carnivals around the world.”

Saying the Tobago Business Chamber was “ready and willing and available to play our part to make this the number one event,” George said the chamber is eagerly awaiting the itinerary for the Carnival.

“We are hoping that there will be due diligence and proper planning and execution of this event, as it is going to be the first of its kind and will set the tone and pace for future events of this nature comprising what will be the Tobago Carnival.”

Culture and tourism stakeholders are already discussing plans for the keenly anticipated event.

But THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said the budget is still being worked out.