A big thumbs-up for Bago Carnival 2014

Tobago House of Assembly.
The major organisers of this year’s carnival celebrations have given a “thumbs up” for the event, describing it as one of the best in recent years.

The four mas bodies were also singing the praises of Councillor Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus, the Community Development and Culture Secretary, whom they applauded for allowing them the autonomy to manage the festival themselves. At a post-carnival media briefing at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex on Thursday, the mas representatives said that Councillor Tsoiafatt-Angus “left it up to us and the carnival committee”, which greatly streamlined their efforts.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the Roxborough Carnival Development Committee said the parade of bands in the eastern town went smoothly despite a few challenges. A new route in Roxborough has been promised for Carnival 2015. Ainsley King, Chairman of TUCO Tobago, also expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the Calypso competitions.

Winston Gordon, Chairman of the Tobago Carnival Committee, said the Carnival Village at the Dwight Yorke Stadium car park worked well and proved to be a success. Gordon added that J’ouvert in Crown Point, while very successful, had even more potential for improvements and tourism development.

However, Alloy Johnson, PRO of the Tobago Mas Transformation Secretariat which represents all carnival mas bands in Tobago, said he was disappointed that bands did not keep their promise to parade on the streets of Scarborough earlier on the carnival days, despite incentives being offered for them to come out earlier. Marie Toby, Chairman of Pan Trinbago (Tobago Region), also lamented that some steel bands had to wait for up to four hours because of the mas bands’ delay.

In summing up the event, Councillor Tsoiafatt-Angus said there was a significant increase in participation this year, especially among young people, and that this year’s Carnival had provided greater economic opportunities for Tobagonians, with many more vendors lining the band routes than in previous years. She added that she was impressed with the creativity in the mas, and she praised all participants’ respect and good humour – even with the impressive turnout of bands and large numbers of spectators, there was only one violent incident during the entire carnival period.

The Carnival City at Dwight Yorke Stadium was also well received as a main centre for carnival activities leading up the street parades last Monday and Tuesday.

She also announced that the Carnival Committee, which received $9.5 million for Carnival 2014, will continue in office until the 2015 Carnival to be held on February 16 and 17.

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