Hundreds attend J’Ouvert in Plymouth after two-year hiatus

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Costumed masqueraders enjoy themselves during the J’Ouvert celebrations at Plymouth, Tobago on July 23. – David Reid

Hundreds of people turned out to J’Ouvert celebrations in Plymouth, Tobago, on Saturday but many said they did not enjoy themselves.

Some people left the event before sunrise.

The J’Ouvert followed Friday night’s opening of the 35th edition of the Tobago Heritage Festival at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex, in Scarborough.

The revellers, many of whom were unmasked, began arriving in Plymouth from as early as 4 am, eager to participate in the J’Ouvert, which was not held over the past two years owing to the covid19 pandemic.

Mud masqueraders at Plymouth, Tobago J’Ouvert celebrations on July 23. – David Reid

But some people told Sunday Newsday the long-awaited event did not live up to its usual standards.

“This is not what we are accustomed to, something was missing,” one man said.

Another complained about the choice of music being played by the disc jockeys.

“I feel them deejay playing that kind of music because the people tell them they want the thing to finish early,” he said.

Although old school soca music blared from speaker boxes at strategic points along the parade route, the revelry was noticeably absent.

Cherokee moko jumbies were part of the street festival during the Plymouth, Tobago J’Ouvert celebrations on July 23. – David Reid

Even so, a total of 11 bands crossed the judging points.

While some people danced and chipped to the music, others simply walked along the streets as if searching for excitement.

The relatively sedate atmosphere augured well for the heavily-armed police officers who kept watch over the celebration. Plymouth’s J’Ouvert has had some violent incidents in the psst

A mas character Geronimo Warrior during the Plymouth, Tobago street parade on July 23. – David Reid

Sunday Newsday understands that a detachment of police officers from Trinidad were deployed to assist Tobago’s officers with this year’s celebration..

One senior police officer said they were able to keep the criminal element at bay.

“There were some minor things that we were able to address. But no one was charged. We were able to deal with persons with that patience that was needed.”

Fancy Indians on parade during the Plymouth, Tobago street parade on July 23. – David Reid

He said he was pleased that people enjoyed themselves within the law.

The Tobago Heritage Festival heads to Castara Bay, on Sunday, for an event titled Northside Passions. Charlotteville hosts its Natural Treasures Day on Monday.

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