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Revelry with safety

The gates have now been thrown wide open to the Merry Monarch who has begun his two-day reign for Carnival 2013. Large and in charge, this is his domain for all of 48 hours. But how we wish that his arrival was not heralded by the pain that has been befallen so many families who have lost loved ones in the run-up to the two-day festivity.

The shock following yesterday's five-fatality tragedy in Tobago was of a scale beyond the earthquake that rattled Trinidad a few hours earlier. Our sympathies ago out to all the families, as they also go to the families that lost the six-month baby Semia Charles and 24-year-old John Lee Apping. Indeed, we grieve for all who, against the backdrop of national merriment, are in mourning.

We can only hope that the message of the dangers lurking out there, on the road and elsewhere, has got through to all and that we will exercise extra care, not only for ourselves but for everyone else.

The tragedies mar what promises to be another luxuriant Carnival season, full of playfulness and revelry presented in the unique art forms of Trinidad and Tobago.

If there is one theme this year, it has been regeneration as exemplified by the first place tie at Soca Monarch 2013.

SuperBlue bounced back to soca, bringing a much-needed thrill and musicality with his monster hit, "Fantastic Friday".

His return is vindication of the power of the human spirit to survive and thrive against all odds.

The same could be said of Machel Montano, even if on a much smaller scale. Machel entered the season under the cloud of a conviction which left his fans unsure of how it might impact his performance. In the end, it was the friendly, though intense, rivalry that developed between him and SuperBlue that commanded our attention.

We congratulate them both for sharing the 2013 Soca Monarch title and look forward to seeing how the rivalry builds in the coming year.

Congratulations, too, to Phase II Pan Groove and its gifted arranger Len "Boogsie" Sharpe who finally broke the iron hold that Trinidad All Stars has had on the Panorama championship (Large Band) in recent years.

This has also been a particularly good season for Tobago steelbands which have made a strong showing with Seion Gomez leading Buccooneers to winners' row with Maestro's "Gold" (Medium Band).

Three cheers as well to the King and Queen of Carnival notwithstanding the minor controversy that met the judges' decision to declare a tie in the Kings category.

Trini Revellers' "Moko in Flames" portrayed by Ted Eustace and Brian MacFarlane's "Ai To Yujo No Yorokobi" by Gerard Weekes did the art form proud in taking top honours. Among the queens, we hail MacFarlane's winner "Rakuen No Yorokobi" portrayed by Charisse Bovell.

With several major competitions still to come, the mood is intensifying. As you go out there to make merry with the Monarch, we urge you to please be safe.

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