Jerome “Rome” Percilla performs during the 2020 International Soca Monarch semifinal at the Arima Velodrome.

The Trinidad and Tobago Promoters’ Association (TTPA) is hoping the country can host Carnival celebrations in February next year or later in 2022 and is willing to assist the Government in the rollout of vaccines.

TTPA president Jerome “Rome” Percilla told Guardian Media yesterday that for Carnival to happen, planning must start from now.

He said it all depends on the country’s vaccination thrust but noted that the final say will be determined by health professionals at the Ministry of Health.

“Between six to eight months is needed to put on the greatest show on earth…that is what we have to be mindful of. The planning process has to be now if you want to have a carnival in February. There is also the option—if the numbers are too high—we can have a carnival later down. Again, we can put the plan in place but it is all dependent on the Ministry of Health,” Percilla said.

He said most local artistes have been fully or half vaccinated, as many have left the country in the past few days to attend events in various jurisdictions.

He said it has been a very difficult 15 months for many of them, with limited sources of income, adding that the sector has over 100,000 people within it.

Percilla is proud that many of them accepted vaccines and is also encouraging others to do the same.

“We are actually working with the Ministry of Health on a campaign to drive the awareness of being vaccinated, because we know that is the only way out of this entire thing because we are not going to push for promoting events if the population isn’t vaccinated,” he stated.

The Ministry of Tourism Culture and Arts has also partnered with the TTPA to assist in the artistes in securing travel exemptions when returning to Trinidad and Tobago.

“We also offered to the Ministry of Health that we are here as promoters, looking to assist with logistics in terms of the vaccination rollout plan. We know that they are struggling to rollout and that may not be the expertise of the Health Ministry,” Percilla said.

He said his members are well experienced in dealing with crowds at large events and this type of assistance can be rendered through the association.

“There are many options they can use to rollout the vaccines. The Government can use the system that the Elections and Boundaries Commission uses, where half of the adult population is on to vote in one day. I know the vaccination drive is a bit different but they can also use that system to get the same execution,” he said.

He added: “My concern is what is going to happen when the country receives the 800,000 doses of vaccine. We stand ready and willing to help with the rollout so it can be done efficiently and everyone must come together. It’s all hands on deck.”