The Merry Monarch has ended his glorious reign confounding
the countless Cassandras that Carnival 2007 would have been
calamitous largely because of crime and resistance to change;
shifting Carnivals focal point from the stage to the
Instead, citizens and visitors alike have enjoyed a safe,
clean Carnival, with its share of controversy over Cro Cros
winning calypso, which Tuco has dismissed, and accusations
of sampling against Barbadian Biggie Iries winning selection,
which he dismisses. (What would Carnival be without it?)
The conviviality was clearly evident from the images and utterances
of masqueraders and spectators. Nor was it lost on the media.
This newspaper last Thursday editorialised: Take a bow
T&T: That Carnival 2K7 exceeded expectations seems to
be the predominant sentiment of many of its active participants
and comes in the face of the many prophets of doom and gloom
who were waiting to tear T&Ts annual pre-Lenten
festival to shreds
Another major achievement of the years Carnival
is the fact that while it was held against the backdrop of
significant and heightened security fears, most participants
in, and spectators of, the festival were able to enjoy themselves
free from fear.
For this, the nation owes a debt of gratitude to the
law enforcement agencies who worked overtime to ensure that,
for most, Carnival 2007 was safe and secure.
Proud Carnival tradition lives on was the Express
opinion last Wednesday: A glance at the individuals
and the groups that held the spotlight over the last three
weeks makes one thing crystal clear. Despite all the tendency
for self-ridicule, for fault-finding and for serious guessing
there remains an enormous amount of commitment to Carnival
in all forms
The grand climax of Carnival 07 saw also massive
turnouts from some of the bigger bands, as well as enthusiastic
participation from the medium and smaller outfits who kept
faith with the Carnival idea.
Such decisions, such determination from those thousands
of ordinary people, represented perhaps the greatest rebuff
to any notion that crime or any other facet of a perceived
sense of a national unease would dampen this spirit
Those of us who try to understand the people of this small,
infinitely complex country would not have been surprised.
The joie de vivre that is innate in us, often contemptuously
referred to as evidence of our un-responsibility, is not.
It incorporates the essence of our Trinbagonianess and speaks
to a sense of limits among the vast majority of us. While
there undoubtedly exists our tendency to lawlessness eg littering,
noise pollution, bad driving, we do hold the line on the major
This explains why T&T did not descend into chaos during
the security upheavals of 1970 and 1990, the bogus refugee
crisis of the late eighties, which in reality was a
crude attempt by some to exploit Canadian immigration laws.
It explains the calm that prevailed during the period of the
18:18 hung Parliament that failed to elect a Speaker simply
because the UNC Leader Basdeo Panday, unilaterally, repudiated
the Crowne Plaza Accord he negotiated with the PNM Leader
to resolve this unprecedented situation.
Instead of chaos, the rule of law and responsible government
prevailed, and no backlash occurred in the wake of the refugees
attempt to sully the countrys good name internationally.
Flexible though we may be, the people of T&T have limits.
These limits and the authorities serious work, in particular
the security services, so often made scapegoats, resulted
in crime not spoiling Carnival 2007.
Remarkably, neither did change. Recall all the dire predictions
following the removal of Carnival judging from the Savannah
stage to the streets, holding the Panorama Finals in San Fernando
and the Dimanche Gras at the Jean Pierre Complex. None materialised.
To the contrary, there has been a thumbs up for every one
of the changes and calls from bandleaders, masqueraders and
spectators for next years Carnival to retain this years
What was the secret to this swift embrace of change? The answer
was the same in every case: the better management of the pre-Carnival
events at their new locations; the smoother flow of bands
at competition sites given the absence of congestion, resulting
in more mas-playing time for the revellers.
NCCs Chairman, Keston Nancoo, attributes this outcome
to the discipline of events management from planning to implementation.
No explanation for the success of Carnival 2007 could exclude
those who came afterthe sanitation workers. The transformation
of the City by Ash Wednesday morning, when mounds of garbage
seemingly disappeared, was truly remarkable and could only
have been possible because of their dedication. They too have
earned our gratitude.
Not so the Cassandras who, fortunately, cannot now say I told
you so. But would any of them now come forward and admit they
were too judgmental about their country and its institutions?
Would, eg the Travel Agents Association and its president
issue a post-Carnival statement in light of their disturbing
pre-Carnival comments about crime?
Surely the time has come for us to demonstrate our maturity
by resisting the temptation to take a simplistic, one-dimensional
view of things, often because they reflect our bias.
Thus there are those who, because of this would readily express
the view that Carnival bands were smaller because of crime.
Such people would find it inconvenient to accept an equally
rational alternative explanation that inflationary increases
in costume prices were adversely affecting participation.
Fortunately, their influence is limited.
Perhaps Commissioner Paul summed up Carnival 2007 best: From
the evaluation conducted primarily given by those who participated
and to a large extent by those who looked on, they did evaluate
this years Carnival as a success
In fact, those
who missed Carnival would have regretted missing one of the
best Carnivals ever.
In other words the spirit of T&T prevailed.
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