Tobago Carnival

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Antiquities Tashia Grace Burris – Photo by David Reid

THA Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris says in preparing for Tobago’s second carnival, a greater emphasis was placed on ensuring that more Tobagonians were involved in the process.

She was speaking on Tuesday during a news conference at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex, which included Tobago carnival gold commander ACP Collis Hazel, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency and members of the police and fire service.

The carnival takes place from October 27-29.

Burris said, “One of the goals this year for the carnival is to ensure the increased participation of Tobagonians in the festival. Is not just about having a smaller scale version of what happens in Trinidad but certainly bringing to the fore that there are very unique elements of Tobago’s culture, history that we need to portray and we feel that the canvas that Carnival in October provides for us to do so, outside of being in the shadow of Trinidad in February, gives us that opportunity to show the rest of the world what Tobago has to offer.”

With less than two weeks to go before the festival, she said Tobago is ready to welcome the world.

She said organisers went through an extensive planning process which began in May and included representatives from the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd, Tobago Festivals Commission Ltd and the Tobago Performing Arts Company (TPAC).

Their main objective, Burris said, was to curate an event for people of various interests, ages and backgrounds.

But she believes the product can still be improved.

“Certainly, there are some elements that are beyond our control and these are things that we are working on as the carnival evolves as there is more appetite throughout the world for what we have to offer.

“But what I can say as secretary is that I am pleased with the turnout in terms of how many stakeholders have contributed to the planning.”

Burris said the festival shifts into high gear from Friday with TPAC’s musical tribute to Calypso Rose, titled Queen of the Road, at Shaw Park. This will be followed by David Rudder’s concert on Sunday, also at Shaw Park.

“We are happy that he chose Tobago as one of the venues for us to see his prowess as an entertainer.”

Burris said the Tobago carnival festival grounds will be opened from next week on the Scarborough Esplanade, where several events are expected to take place.

Next week, carnival lovers can also look forward to Pan and Powder, J’ouvert, Night Mas (Masquerade) and the parade of the bands on October 29, she added.

Burris said from all accounts so far, “Everything smoking coming to Tobago is booked.

So if you know someone with a pirogue, someone with a helicopter, someone with a teleportation machine, that has been the appetite for Tobago carnival.”

News Courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Newsday: Corey Connelly