Multiculturalism Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters will meet THA Chief Secretary Orville London on Monday to discuss the hosting of Carnival in October in Tobago.
London told reporters at the weekly post Executive Council media briefing on Wednesday that they will also discuss other aspects of the island’s culture. With him will be Community Development and Culture Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine and Tourism and Transportation Secretary Oswald Williams.
He said although the request was a little late, the Assembly will involve itself enthusiastically in any discussion on any kind of issue that benefitted the people of Tobago and will not make a firm commitment on anything until it had weighed the pros and cons.
He asserted that a decision will not be made on Monday because “it is not a decision that one or two or three persons can make in ten minutes or even in ten hours because of the far reaching implications. A decision on Carnival in Tobago doesn’t only include those involved in Carnival, it has to involve the schools because there is going to be an impact on the schools and the school system and school children. It has to include the police and the business community.”
London said it was quite unprofessional to make such a decision without adequate consultation and noted that three critical questions must be answered: “should there be a second Carnival in Tobago or whether there should be Carnival in Tobago outside of the national Carnival. Secondly if there is what kind of Carnival should it be, and thirdly, if you decide on that should it be held for the first time in 2011.”
The THA Chief Secretary said the Assembly did not necessarily believe that “we have to make a decision on everything immediately, so maybe we are going to have to move from an ‘extempo’ approach to management to a management that is more in sync with traditional calypso”.
He emphasised that the THA was prepared to continue that conversation in good faith. “I want to give that assurance but the point I was making is that after the conversation is ended if there happens to be a disagreement between the position of the THA and the position of the Central Government, the Central Government has the responsibility to respect the position of the THA even though they don’t agree with it,” London added.
Shortly after taking up office Peters had suggested the staging of an October Carnival in Tobago this year and even had discussions with London and Davidson-Celestine at a meeting in November in Tobago. Peters also spoke of the Carnival at the launch of Chaguanas Carnival last month. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar also gave support to it when she launched Carnival celebrations in her constituency in Penal.
Meanwhile Davidson-Celestine disclosed that the THA was providing $230,000 to operate four unattached Carnival tents and another $100,000 as first prize in the THA Pan Champs competition on Tuesday. (March 1 2011)
She also congratulated the four steel bands that qualified for the Panorama competitions in Trinidad and the four Calypsonians, Leslie- Ann Ellis-Thomas, Tobago Chalky, Shemica Denoon, and Dillon Thomas who qualified for the national semi finals on Saturday in San Fernando.
She said Carnival 2011 promises to be an interesting one in Tobago.