No to a second Carnival in Tobago
THE Editor: Although I have lived all of my 67 Years in Trinidad and Tobago , the last seven being in Tobago, and believing that I knew about most important things of my Country, I was very surprised to learn that there are so many Festivals being celebrated in Tobago when I read a recently published " Letter to the Editor" in a recent daily newspaper.
For those persons who may not have read it: In addition to the Annual Two-day Pre-Lenten Carnival there are many Festivals indigenous to Tobago . These include the Tobago Heritage Festival, .The Buccoo Village Easter Tuesday Goat Racing Festival, the Mount Pleasant Goat Racing Festival, the Buccoo Village "Sunday School ", the Blue Food Festival at Bloody Bay , the Tobago Culinary Festival at Pigeon Point, the Kite Flying Festivals at Speyside and at Plymouth, the Fisherman's Festival at Charlotte Ville and numerous, almost monthly, Village Harvest Festivals. Other events worthy of mention are the Finish of the Annual Great Race, Yachting and Sailing Regattas and Game Fishing Tournaments.
Is the Minister for Arts and Multiculturalism and his PP Government aware of these Indigenous Tobago Festivals ?
A major deficiency in all of these festivals is an absence of adequate basic infrastructure and amenities to accommodate a large number of visitors to the respective villages. With the exception of Plymouth where, in order to accommodate the large numbers of persons who attended the Plymouth Jazz Festival ( formerly the Tobago Jazz Festival ) some improvements and upgrading were conducted on the Playfield , the roads including the construction of a new bridge on the access road, the street lighting and in the construction of a Car Park (outside the village) has any attempt been made by the THA to develop these Festivals to an acceptable standard.
It must be noted that although the Plymouth Jazz Festival has not been held in recent years, the infrastructure has remained for the convenience, and use of the villagers.
It was money well spent.
In my opinion, should money be spent on the development of facilities at these Festival sites, the priority should be given to the development of facilities for the "Sunday School" at Buccoo Village . Well designed facilities of which we will all be proud and which the Chief Secretary will be able to describe as "World -class " facilities. The "Sunday School" area should be large enough to accommodate professionally designed "Food Court" consisting of Colourful kiosks, an area of Picnic tables and benches, a stage for entertainment including performances by the "Buccooneers Steelband" , adequate Garbage Bins, clean and adequate Toilet Facilities, improved roads, improved street lighting and a Car Park close but outside of the Main Festival Area. I can foresee the "Sunday School" developing into the place to be at on a Sunday Evening for residents of Tobago and for visitors alike.
Proper planning , management and constant supervision during the event will be necessary for this project to achieve its maximum potential.
That will be an excellent investment to the benefit of the people of Buccoo and nearby villages and to that of the people of Tobago for many years to come. No Kentucky Fried Chicken, Churches Chicken, Pizza Boys will be permitted. The emphasis must be on creating opportunities for the villagers and the emphasis must be on the serving of local and indigenous food and drink.
Bar-B-Q Chicken and Fish etc, and the sale of Soft Drinks, Beer and Stout may be permitted.
The development of facilities in other villages traditionally used during the "Tobago Heritage Festival" should be our next priority.
In a television interview this morning Friday 24th February,2012), the Minister of Tobago Development, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, in response to a question from the host on nearby competing Carnivals, stated that the plan to hold another Carnival in Tobago in October did not coincide with any other Caribbean Carnivals.
These are, the Barbados" Crop Over", Grenada "Spice Mas", St Vincent (Vincy Carnival), St. Lucia Carnival, and other lesser known Carnival -type Festivals :e.g. "Juncanoo" in the Bahamas, Further, in North America , from which we will expect most of our visitors, there is the Trinidad-style" Labour Day" in Brooklyn, "Caribana" in Toronto , Miami Carnival , Philadelphia Carnival and more recently Baltimore Carnival,