It is time for the Carnival Commission to honor Angostura, Fernandes Distillers, Angostura House and other suppliers of this precious beverage for the role they have been playing to power the Greatest Show on Earth, our sole banner of glory, progress and identity. May Bacchus continue to bless this land and its people!
It appears that Carnival is more important than life in this country. The government which has a duty of care is now putting the people’s lives at risk so that this festival can be celebrated for benefits they know well.
Carnival in this country is not only about culture. It is a big opportunity to spend money from the treasury to reach the pockets of friends, family, and financiers of the ruling party. It is nothing more, nothing less.
What else would explain this desire to celebrate Carnival amidst the Covid 19 pandemic? One can only look at the UK to understand the seriousness of gathering in a party-like atmosphere. Today the entire population is against Prime Minister Boris Johnson for hosting a porting at his office amidst the lockdown. While this action of Prime Minister Boris Johnson may cost him his political life, in Trinidad and Tobago it would do the opposite-bolster the PM Rowley’s political career. After all, Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival is the Greatest Show on Earth!
There is definitely no urgency to fix potholes in this country. It is a nightmare driving a vehicle in this country. Potholes are no longer a concern solely of opposition UNC stronghold but universal-, even in the heart of the capital city. It is the sole thing that is evenly distributed in this country. In the past, there has been blatant discrimination in the repairing of roads. Now, this has all disappeared. All areas-PNM or UNC- are equally discriminated against.
However, in the case of a culture that it is not so. While the government is busy pursuing the celebration of Carnival, it has chosen to ignore other festivals such as Phagwa. Would money be released by the Ministry of Culture for the celebration of Phagwa, a celebration of good over evil, a message that is apt for politicians around the world?
A little power can make a tyrant of some leaders. This is what happened to a king who, blessed by the gods, declared himself to be worthy of worship. While all the sycophants-ministers, advisors, senior public servants, and the business elites endorsed his arrogance, his six years old son, Prahalad, defied him. Even the chief priest of the kingdom failed to convince Prince Prahalad that his father was God, and worthy of worship. The arrogance of the king brought about his destruction. Phagwa celebrates the defeat of arrogance and tyranny, not an appropriate theme for most politicians!
On the other hand, Carnival is the worship of the god of bacchanal-Bacchus. It is a time to let down one hair, to gyrate, and as the song goes ‘if you can’t get a woman, take a man.’ The alcohol beverage lobby (Bacchus & Company) certainly sees value in Carnival- huge profits for their pockets.
What else can we do? We are adept at serving alcohol-wakes, funerals, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Without alcohol, it would be impossible to impossible to give the dead a decent send-off! Today, alcohol is most efficiently distributed in every nook and cranny of the country including the far rural districts. And so integrated ins the social life of the community that many families take pride in serving it to guests.
So let us stop the bullshitting about ‘preserving the culture’. The plain truth is that Carnival and Christmas are the biggest opportunity to sell alcohol, not Divali, Ram Leela, or Phagwa! These festivals are the antithesis of having a nice time!
Carnival has its origin among the French ruling class. Over time, the blacks have their inputs in the forms of calypso and steelpan. Even chutney and other artforms are now finding expressions in this festival. While all these inputs have been lauded and have their heroes, it is time that the contribution of the alcohol manufacturers and distributors be acknowledged in a loud way. Without alcohol, our Carnival will die. It is impossible to gyrate on the street with a sober head! Alcohol is the fuel that powers the Greatest Show on Earth!
It is time for the Carnival Commission to honor Angostura, Fernandes Distillers, Angostura House, and other suppliers of this precious beverage for the role they have been to power the Greatest Show on Earth, our sole banner of glory, progress, and identity. May Bacchus continue to bless this land and its people!