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Being each other’s Carnival keeper

The Merry Monarch wines into T&T today bringing with him a welcome respite from our daily tribulations including several related to the management of Carnival itself.
Until midnight tomorrow, T&T is a veritable zone of entertainment, a country as close to being the happiest place on earth as can be imagined. Our hope is that the spirit of tolerance, generosity and joy, tempered by common sense and logic will prevail in this season of exuberance. When the Monarch makes his way out tomorrow night, hopefully he will leave behind a people content and without reason for sorrow or regret.
Carnival 2014 has been subjected to a series of administrative changes. It will be interesting to see how these serve the public’s enjoyment of the festival, if at all. For better or worse, the die has been cast on the many decisions taken in the interest of enhancing the Carnival experience. Already, the evidence suggests that some, like the re-routing of the children’s parade, have not delivered on the promise of improvement. While the jury remains out on other major changes such as the introduction of the Socadrome, old challenges endure, among them the unconscionably long Panorama Finals competition.
While Carnival and controversy have become synonymous over the years, the public had hoped for less contentiousness this year given the extensive consultations conducted by the National Carnival Commission (NCC). Given the experience of recent weeks, however, during which the cry of non-consultation rose from several Carnival quarters, the NCC clearly needs to review and re-evaluate its consultation process.

It has long been clear that we cannot keep going on this way. Every year, key players in the creative sector complain about bureaucratic frustration destroying the Carnival spirit.
Carnival, which gives us so much, deserves better from us. The conversation around it must change, although how exactly this is to be achieved is anybody’s guess given the tenacity of the territorial interests involved. But we must commit ourselves to early and serious engagement in the interest of Carnival 2015. We cannot keep expending our energies so fruitlessly and uselessly when there is still so much work to be done.
For now though, let us savour these 48 hours of Carnival and, in doing so, assume the responsibility for each other’s safety and happiness.
Out on the road today and tomorrow, we urge you to be on guard for yourselves, your loved ones and everyone else. Let us encircle the country with the love that pours so easily at Carnival time.
The Police Service has assured the public of its full commitment to keeping us safe. We encourage you to support our officers and help them keep us safe. Let’s be on a special look-out for the little ones and for visitors to our shores. The best Carnival experience is within our reach if we accept the role as each other’s Carnival keeper.
So, go out there, enjoy yourself and please be safe.
Happy Carnival, people.
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