Trinidad styled Carnivals around the world have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) has reiterated its call for Trinidad and Tobago to capitalise on the opportunity to host Carnival events in 2021, notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an official statement issued today, DOMA says there exists a global vacuum in Carnival events, which this country can fill, saying it is an opportunity not to be missed.  The business lobby is urging the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts to convene a meeting of Carnival stakeholders, to create a Carnival show that would do this country proud.

According to the DOMA statement, such a display would be a boon to “a COVID weary world”, while showcasing the best of this country’s rich Carnival culture around the globe.

The full text of the DOMA statement, follows…

THE 2021 CARNIVAL VACUUM

We write as a follow-up to our release of January 11th on the subject at caption.

We consider this moment to be a time laden with opportunity for our carnival nation.

We maintain that a massive international space has been left vacant by the absence of major carnivals all over the world.

If anyone were to do a carnival production of even the smallest scale we feel certain that it would be enthusiastically received by a COVID-19 weary world.

What we are asking for is a thoughtful engagement with all our carnival peoples to examine the possibility of a novel, artistic presentation as a cultural gift to the world and, to us the givers, a gift as well.

While we are heartened by positive communication from many in the artistic community. We confess to being disappointed, again, by the misunderstanding and, in some usual places, deliberate cynicism and misrepresentation of our suggestions.

Our major intention is to say that while the world is in a pandemic-induced phycological spiral and with all major Carnivals cancelled, a unique opportunity exists for Trinidad and Tobago.

We envisage a scaled down artistic presentation, rich in the culture of our Carnival roots; a Monday and Tuesday public presentation in the streets of Dames, Pierots  and jab jabs, our Kambule perhaps with Covid 19 as a potential Captain Baker, dragons laden with chains, fancy sailors with room for their firemen to stoke their furnaces and, if we can stir the artistic pot strongly enough  Covid-19 Tan-Tans with  masked Saga Boys in close attendance? Many of the aforementioned characters have their costumes stored from year to year and could be refreshed quickly.

Such an exhibition, in our opinion, could very well grab international media attention and say to the world “Look us!”.

We are not proposing a fete and party scene but rather an exhibition of culture and art and, in this sense, we make so bold as to say that the pandemic might even be a blessing to art and culture that will not have to jam with the lascivious hordes who, by their exuberance, have made our Country popular but have congested the space for traditional mas.

We are suggesting that this is a unique opportunity at a unique time for Trinidad and Tobago to present a cultural and artistic bouquet to a world punch drunk from Covid blows.

We state respectfully that this is not the time for those who are accustomed to keeping us in shallow waters—in the words of Bunji 2021, “Carnival is a sea that runs deep” and strong cultural swimmers are needed.

We need to think deeply and quickly. We think it crucial that the Minister of Culture and the Arts convene an urgent meeting of Carnival minds to formulate a proposal for a mini-T&T Carnival presentation to the world and an ode to ourselves.

It is very possible for our Country to make its presence felt with, perhaps, a series of spectator-less public portrayals on February 15th and 16th and to use this opportunity to promote our country as a destination rich with culture and artistic talent.

We are revisiting this subject because we remain convinced that the vacant 2021 world stage represents a valuable opportunity for The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Our irrepressible soca artistes have already written the music !

Downtown Owners and Merchants Association