Tobago had its biggest Carnival ever, according to Secretary of Community Development and Culture Assemblyman Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
She told reporters at Thursday’s (February 23 2012) weekly post Executive Council media briefing that Tobago Carnival showed an improvement in the offerings of mas bands and individuals; a big increase in the number of participants; and a high quality and creativity of costumes portrayed on the streets. She added that mas bands were extremely larger than previous years; there was an increase in children’s bands from 25 in 2011 to 49 in 2012, while there was an increase in the number of steel bands from 11 to 17 this year and an increase in Tobago Calypsonians making the National Semi Finals from 4 to 7. “That speaks volumes for the future of Tobago’s Carnival,” she stressed.
Davidson-Celestine said there was good response to the Assembly’s efforts to revive traditional mas portrayals and was satisfied that the training courses put on by her Division paid of.
Chief Secretary Orville London said like Davidson-Celestine he wanted to congratulate the Division, the Festivals Committee and all of Tobago for what could easily be said to be the best ever Carnival in Tobago. He said a lot of people treated Carnival in Tobago as if it was an after thought and it was very patronising how they treated the Carnival not recognising that on a per capita basis Tobago’s Carnival compared favourably to that of Trinidad.
He pointed out that in a population of 55,000 people which was one-twenty-fourth of the country there were 16 steel bands; to do that on a per capita basis in Trinidad there ought to be 400. He added that if one was to look at the number of Calypsonians to qualify for the semi finals and the number of steel bands that qualify for the Panorama finals, on per capita Tobago was doing very well.
London said it could be that over 5,000 persons participated in the Tobago Carnival, making it one in every ten persons.”I want us to recognise that Carnival in Tobago is an event, it is not a side show for what is happening in Trinidad, it is an event in itself, it is a spectacle in itself and therefore it is something that has to be treated as such especially when one plans going forward.