IDA slams ‘overnight approval’ of Carnival activities

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Nandia Jones of Division of Sport and Youth Affairs at the 2020 THA Inter Department Carnival at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet. FILE PHOTO –

The Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA) has said the Government’s “overnight approval” for a “Taste of Carnival” 2022 to occur in the next five weeks” is yet another example of what the party called its “ad-hoc decision-making.”

On Wednesday, the Government gave the green light for Carnival safe-zone events, featuring mainly concert-type productions. These include soca, calypso and pan concerts, extempo and chutney competitions, king and queen shows and Carnival theatre. No fetes or parties will be allowed.

But in a statement issued by the party’s PRO Kaye Trotman on Friday, the IDA argued that Carnival, by definition, is about “freeing up,” which includes the activities in calypso, chutney, soca, pan and mas.

“As such, the government’s announcement for having safe-zone concerts and no fetes cannot be called a Carnival, since it most likely will not include many of the elements,” the party said.

The IDA believes the government needs to be forthright with the public about how a Taste of Carnival will be rolled out.

“Firstly, the government needs to tell us how the mas fraternity will be expected to deliver at such late notice and how does the status of vaccination affect the soca, calypso and pan artistes performing in the concerts.”

It added the inconsistency of defining “safe zones” versus “no zones” is of grave concern “as it often becomes discriminatory.”

Saying that Carnival has generated significant foreign exchange to boost the economy in the past, the IDA said international visitors are usually given enough time to plan their travel.

The party said many local participants also expend significant money in Carnival activities because they had adequate time to plan.

“The question should then be asked, ‘Who will really benefit from this so-called Carnival when there has only been five weeks’ notice, and there exists an environment where many persons are vocalising the economic challenges they are experiencing?’ It is obvious that this late decision will not lend to any significant contribution that stimulates the relevant sectors nor create the much-needed gains for the stakeholders involved.”

The IDA said while an analysis of hospital admissions and deaths shows the unvaccinated are at significant risk, the vaccinated are also becoming ill and even dying.

“While the IDA looks forward to once again having a full Carnival experience and understands the critical need at this time to ensure a safe environment for the hosting of Carnival activities, we join many who are concerned about the health risk that these events pose, even to the vaccinated.”

The party said the potential for these events to become superspreaders is significant.

“Is this part of the Government’s plan to create a superspreader to support their push for mandatory vaccination?”

The party urged the Government to prove that the benefits of hosting Carnival 2022 far outweigh the risks of creating another covid19 wave.

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