Carnival Collapse

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Welcome one and all to our Banana Republic, where the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ is about to take place. Seeing as the tourism rate is at an all time low for the season, anyone reading this is likely to be a returning Trinbagonian. In case however you have missed some years celebrating for reasons of being productive and keeping yourself out of debt/financial burden, here is an update. Our Culture over the years has been ‘updated’ via the new lords of the festivities. Carnival until further notice is now Owned by Promoters, Made in China and Powered by Vice. This being the situation, is what we have now really Carnival? How much longer will people stay with powder in their eyes before they realize what is really going on? Read on, ‘this one goin’ an Fog up de place!’

First of all, at the risk of uttering a Taboo; the tagline of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth,’ needs to be re-accessed. Tourism in Trinidad is at a low and getting lower during this time. Crime, stale ideas, empty expansion of bands (i.e. in size only), and of course less covered every year. Where is the culture and great show in what is now a 2 day street fete? Get drunk, take a wine half naked (if even that covered), and chip to a new song that sounds more like a continuation of the same song for the last 4 years. Where is the Mas? Where is the culture? Where is the creativity? Those that blame it on the World Economy, would do well to read the reports from various Carnivals all over the world, from South America to North America to Europe, which are all growing bigger each and every year, making a show similar to our Ole’ Mas, but stepping it up with an amazing displays of moving art big and small the likes of which we have never seen. While our depth in thoughts of what makes Mas shrinks, others grow, and we lose out on our culture and our tourism in the process. 
Now that the bubble has been popped, we find more air pockets designed to keep us from bursting out of the illusion of the Carnival benefits, namely economical. The Government spends in excess of $100M yearly on the season ($125M in 2012), which consists of our tax dollars. How much can a tourist, especially with the decline in this area really bring into the country? People who sew costumes bawling because of the outsourcing of costumes to China, and food vendors getting an opportunity but under pressure because of ‘big name’ vendors getting exclusive contracts in fetes. All while Alcohol distributors making enough bulk sales to run their corporations 10x over, and Promoters make enough with jacked up prices to retire at any given time off of a couple of parties. The odd seasonal job of a security wuk, food/drink promotions, and piping a beer here and there, provides some drops of relief for some, but overall does nothing for our economy on the whole. The long and short, this is the season for the Rich to get Richer, and the poor to be bamboozled  into emptying their wallets for pursuit of a distraction from life.
Now on that point; What are we trying to distract ourselves from? Life Hard? For many yes, but a hard life here is still relatively easy. We have the warmth of the island and it’s people, including a diverse culture. Trinidad has the 2nd most amount of Public Holidays per year in the world (as of 2012). We celebrate every religious holiday, lime often, and fill our bellies on every occasion we get a chance. War, Famine, and Revolt is a far off notion for any here, with the sun kissing us and the sea caressing us. I doubt this is a reality that people who truly value what they and we as a people have would ever want to escape from.
What we have now is not Carnival. The love and unity is replaced by “Me, Me, Me!” Jump up together as one is now a contest of who can climb to the highest highs and wine their waste for all to see. And where now is Calypso which is the voice of our people for so many years? Moved to a day where it clashes and is ignored by those who are not avid fans. What is to become of Carnival in the future? Provided of course that it still exists right now. We have talent here, we have imagination, we have creativity. We have love for each other of every creed and race. We have the wool pulled over our eyes by those who make millions selling vice packed and labeled as “Culture.” Culture in Trinidad and Tobago is on a razor’s edge right now. We can either choose to fight for what is just and save our culture, or sell our souls to the glamour and flair in hopes of perpetuating a false ‘escape’ and the 15mins of fame mentality wherever it may lie.

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