“We must put the lives and well-being of our citizens first.”
Any incarnation of the staging of Carnival 2022 must make that statement paramount to its planning, says event promoter Randy Glasgow.
Glasgow, CEO of Randy Glasgow Productions (RGP), said recent calls by promoters and artistes to stage “safe zone” concert events around next month’s originally scheduled Carnival dates is premature at best and irresponsible at worst. Carnival 2022 was scheduled to be held on Monday, February 28 and Tuesday, March 1.
“Let’s ask four questions now and you make the call after as if to proceed in February. One: Does our country currently have the health infrastructure and capacity to handle any serious, additional outbreak of the virus, as a consequence of events?
“Two: Would anybody living in foreign come to T&T to watch Carnival-related events that wouldn’t have the contact element in February?
“Three: Would the high cost associated with producing and presenting an event in a pandemic with smaller capacities, be feasible for non-governmental organisations?
“Four: Pan Trinbago cannot stage their overdue Annual General Meeting because a large percentage of its pan playing members are not vaccinated. Does this mean there will be no pan if there are February events?” Glasgow asked.
“We have to be truthful to ourselves and other citizens who don’t participate in Carnival. “Our present health care infrastructure and capacity cannot handle in a few weeks’ time any major upsurge in virus numbers as a consequence of events and gatherings, regulated and those unregulated, by any number of the unvaccinated who will be tempted to stage private events of their own,” he added.
Postponement the best option
Glasgow suggests postponing any celebrations to the months of August and September will not only potentially give the recent wave of upsurges of Covid-19 infections time to subside, but also mean a higher quality production.
“February is only a few weeks away. As the mecca of Carnival and Carnival being our country’s tourism franchise product, we can’t afford to fail or fall short in any regard. Definitely, more time is needed to plan and execute a safe series of Carnival-related events in August or September. By then more citizens would be fully vaccinated and, equally important, better planning to allow more critical and important contingencies to be put in place,” he said.
Glasgow addressed the naysayers who question whether the staging of Carnival should even be a concern for T&T in the middle of a global pandemic. Carnival remains “a significant generator of economic benefits” for many citizens on the islands, he noted.
“Trinidad and Tobago Carnival as we know it, is a significant generator of economic benefits for numerous large, medium, small businesses, creatives and several others within the entertainment industry. Even the average man on the street makes a dollar,” he said.
The importance of the festival as a tourism identity of the country cannot be understated, he added. With this in mind, Glasgow continued, it is crucial to secure that brand identity, especially in a market when several others offer a similar product.
“Carnival is also our country’s tourism sector franchise product. In this regard, we at RGP feel trying to rush Carnival-related events next month as a substitute for the real deal is risky and not advisable by us.
“Other Carnival staging countries are patiently waiting for us to fail and exploit for their benefit. In this regard, we are asking the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, to schedule events for August or September,” he concluded.
Kenny J’s magic will only get stronger
Randy Glasgow expressed his “deep sadness” following the passing of his friend, calypsonian Kenny J (Kenwrick Joseph).
Kenny J died of Covid-19 on January 2. The 69-year-old parang soca veteran was warded in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Couva Hospital for two weeks prior to his death. Mere weeks before his passing, Kenny J, a vocal supporter of the Covid-19 vaccination drive recorded an advert for the Ministry of Health encouraging the vaccine-hesitant to take the jab.
Glasgow called Kenny J, who was on the RGP cast for many events throughout the years, a local and regional music legend.
“Kenny J was a local and regional music legend. A leading creative force in songwriting, rhythm creator, his visual presentation on stage was always of the highest quality and pleasing to audiences, producers and promoters. He worked every time, 100 per cent-plus for his performance fees. We had the honour and privilege of working with Kenny for numerous shows and special events spanning several years,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow said the “Paint Brush” and “Alexander” singer’s legend would only grow stronger following his sudden passing. RGP would do its part to ensure this lore continues to spread, he added.
“About two weeks before his untimely passing, RGP initiated discussions with Kenny to feature him in his own National Mega Parang Soca Tour in 2023. He was elated and thankful for the consideration. We still would proceed with something to celebrate his work along with Scrunter (Irwin Reyes Johnson) Crazy (Edwin Ayoung), Marcia Miranda and others.
“He will be missed on the circuit, but his music will get stronger and live on for decades to come. Condolences again to his entire family, his good friends, fans and the calypso and parang fraternities. May he continue to rest in peace,” Glasgow concluded.