Developing an acceptable code of conduct in Carnival involving behaviour on the streets, dress, lyrics, drinking alcohol, inter alia, is a longstanding issue.
For some, wining, semi-nakedness and drunkenness, are objectionable. One can have no real quarrel with this stance, for there are certain limits we have come to associate with behavior in any civilised society as we know it. But is there a flipside to this?
Can wining, for example, be taken as an energised, spontaneous, almost irresistible response to the infectious rhythm of soca, calypso and pan with no deliberate, insidious intent as the purists may want to suggest?
Our music is what it is and not of the character of ballet and our response can only be what it is! As for the semi-nudity which some find so appalling, is it as obscenely suggestive and exhibitionist, or taking an enlightened view, is it a way to preserve the mystique of the female form, yet giving a taste of its visual delights?
And who is here so sinless as not to take a drink in moderation when an occasion of festivity and merriment calls for it? It is this transient indulgence called Carnival, so beautifully captured by Katrina Mohammed in her letter "The sweetest tabanca," (Express, February 12) since she cannot be a part of it being so far away in the cold, and by Gregory Aboud in his almost plaintive cry for pan to take its rightful place in this land of its birth, that makes us unique as a people, and even as we must frown on some of its excesses, let us be joyful that it is something that we can call our very own when others elsewhere in the world know only starvation, destruction and death.
Dr Errol Benjamin