by Linda Straker
- This will be the second year without formal carnival celebrations
- 60% of 110,000 population to be vaccinated by July 2021
- Ministry of Culture will be meeting with stakeholders to discuss possible aid packages
There will not be formal carnival celebrations for the year 2021, even if 60% of the population were inoculated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine which the island began administering to citizens as of 12 February. This will be the second year without a carnival.
Health officials are working towards having 60% of the 110,000 population be vaccinated by July 2021.
“I don’t see how we will be able to achieve 60% by July, but even if we did, I think it will be a mistake to go and have a mass event because you will still have 40% of the people who will not have been vaccinated. I don’t think it is a smart thing,” said Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell during an interview with select journalists on Friday, 26 February 2021.
Broadcast live on radio, television and other social media platforms, this was the second “selected journalists” interview with Dr Mitchell. That format has been adopted as part of the new Covid-19 health protocol aimed at avoiding mass gathering of journalists to engage in face-to-face interviews with the Head of Government.
Describing a decision to have a carnival in 2021 as a mistake, the Prime Minister said the Ministry of Culture will be meeting with stakeholders to discuss possible aid packages for those whose income is mainly from carnival celebrations activities.
“I think we have announced already that we will not encourage carnival. We have recommended already that there will be no formal carnival celebrations this year. We have asked the Ministry of Culture to meet with the various stakeholders and see what can be done to aid the pain because many people live and operate their livelihood by cultural activities,” said the Prime Minister.
“Like we have done for the taxi association, what can we do for the cultural artistes and other people involved who live by the cultural activities in the country? What can we do to help them?” He acknowledged that the carnival period is a major revenue earner for the Government, and also for many citizens who used the carnival period to earn a livelihood.
Carnival celebrations conclude in August of each year and is normally launched during the second quarter of any year. There were no carnival celebrations in 2020 because of measures enforced to control and contain the spread of Covid-19, however, many persons defied the parliamentary order and held j’ouvert celebrations in communities and villages.
The carnival period, especially the days leading up to the conclusion, records its most incoming passengers. Millions are earned in revenue because of the carnival celebrations.