Coronavirus and the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival: Impact and Opportunities to Rebound after the Crisis

On the morning of May 25th the University of Trinidad and Tobago, through its Academy of Arts, Letters, Culture and Public Affairs assembled a small group of Carnivalists via a webinar to discuss the theme “Coronavirus and the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival: Impact and Opportunities to Rebound after the Crisis”.

Among the discussants were moderator Lamar Pollard, PhD candidate at UTT, Marcus Ash, Education Officer at Pan Trinbago, Lionel Jagessar Jr., Carnival Band Leader and lifelong producer of traditional mas, Devon Seale, former Calypso Monarch and Assistant PRO of The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation, Simon Baptiste, co-founder of Question Mark Entertainment and Chairperson of the International Soca Monarch, Jules Sobion, Commander and Chief of Czar’s Army, Ryan D’Arcy, Manager Research, Strategy and Marketing at Tourism Trinidad Ltd. and Carla Parris, Entertainment and Sports Lawyer and producer of YouTube Series The Business of Carnival. 

This treasure trove of panellists expressed ways in which the world pandemic has been affecting their various spheres of carnival related activity.  Moreover, though they were challenged to imagine how we could move forward in the face of all that is happening?  Pollard in his opening remarks noted, “Carnival is a multifarious festival” thus making it impossible to include everyone in a single conversation.  As a result, future conversations are carded to take place in the coming weeks and months.  This recognition of the various groups that need to be represented in the governance of Carnival has in his opinion also proved challenging for policy makers, he posits “the process of developing a focused policy agenda has become too diffused.”  UTT aims to play a role in concentrating the viewpoints, concerns and ideas of our carnival practitioners through webinars like this and the work of its students in the Master of Arts in Carnival Studies. 

The next webinar is scheduled for Monday 15th June @ 11am and is titled The Post-Covidian Carnival Complex: Where do we go from here? A policy discussion. The panel will consist of members of the academic community within the field of policy, economics, carnival history and carnival heritage. Amongst the panelists are Dr. Keron Niles from UWI, and Dr. Kim Johnson from the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago.

This first in a series of webinars remains available for viewing on YouTube: