I wonder at the source of this listlessness. Why can’t I catch the spirit as easily as in other years? Maybe it’s because there’s simply nothing to jump up about. I don’t mean to be a party pooper this Carnival Sunday morning, to sour anyone’s lime, but really this country has little to celebrate. And I don’t know that this is the instant for us to indulge in escapism either.

For the first time ever I feel that we should be serious enough about stopping the undeniable and unacceptable decline and decay apparent in so many areas of TT society that we should halt the fete, skip the Carnival.

Should we truly be waving our rags in fete after fete or should we be protesting the inability of our police to arrest anyone for murder or to make the charges stick? Should we be having one more wine when our justice system is in crisis, when crime has made us prisoners in our own homes? And should we really expect our complaints to be taken seriously when the party is over? Will we be surprised or offended if after Carnival the Government ignores us because it has concluded we can’t be too badly off if we can fete so?

Or maybe I’m blue because Carnival is now principally about this-inclusive party and that exclusive fete. Fete promotion is now bigger than the shows and it is big business concentrated in the hands of a few. And while the fetes possess assorted themes and a myriad of culinary and alcoholic attractions, they are really quite culturally empty. Their sole contribution to nation is that they provide soca artistes with guaranteed revenue. Meanwhile fete promoters pocket millions. Currency in exchange for culture.

But come to think of it, the entire festival like its host nation is centred on money. Just look at how this Government decided it could buy the spirit of Carnival. Millions have been thrown at Carnival organisations to make them agree to abandon the Savannah and its Grand Stand for less comfortable pastures. As for any band leader or calypsonian, other than Bodyguard who might have been disgruntled with this administration’s unreasonable behaviour, Cabinet sought to mute dissent by increasing allocations for Band of the Year and for the Calypso Monarch. Money in the opinion of this Government is the sure cure all.

Maybe I don’t feel like dancing because I can’t forget the millions which have been spent needlessly to construct stands and to prepare Skinner Park and other venues for shows when the Grand Stand is still standing. No doubt, no doubt at all, a few PNM contractors have well benefited from this 2007 season even if many of TT’s citizens have felt a sense of emotional and/or cultural loss. No doubt the PNM in this an election year has been more than willing to trade the political points it may gain in San Fernando and environs by taking pan south for the goodwill it might have forfeited in north Trinidad as a result of the controversial move. No doubt it feels it has the north safely in its electoral grasp, even if pan players and supporters, the majority from north Trinidad and the east-west corridor, have been complaining bitterly about the inconvenience of the run south.

Otherwise, media reports indicate that despite the monies spent on the

alternative venues, these have suffered from insufficient and unflattering lighting and sound and uncomfortable seating which have turned audiences away from shows as central to Carnival as Panorama and the King and Queen

Competition. Ticket sales for Skinner Park Panorama finals up to Friday were slow. And no one in this high-handed administration cares about or will admit to the hatchet job it has done on Carnival 2007 or that this Carnival might just be a repeat of the flop that was the 2006 Carifesta when Carnival 2K7 should have been a huge success, coming as it did on the heels of TT’s exposure last year at the World Cup in Germany. But the PNM said it would shift Carnival from the Big Yard this year and so it has. The price: a few million dollars well and some broken hearts and spirits.

So, a little jump, a chip, a wine? Not this time.



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