Remarks at the National Carnival Commission’s Launch of Carnival 2018

Even as I wish you Happy New Year, we hear ““a malady of intoxicating melodies which exhilarates, thousands worshipping at the shrine of steel pan at the Savannah, “their bodies swaying like coconut trees caught in the Carnival gale of Monday’s cadence, that ascends to the frenzied climax

of Tuesday mas, like a deluge in the rainy season, the carnival fiesta erupts … with a million dancing feet and a symphony of celebratory sound…from the cup of Bacchus wine is poured forth and in the streets of Port of Spain Bacchanal is a river…”

Ladies and gentlemen, fitting words of our local poet John Enoch, which captures the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival.

As the National Carnival Commission formally launches Carnival 2018, it is our boundless hope that will allow our current economic challenges to inspire and stimulate our artists and activists who struggled for our cultural freedom, and who contributed in no small way to ensuring Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival experience, though replicated all over the world, maintains its edge here at home. 

As our history records have shown, our spirits have always been unrelenting, and from the bowels of depression emerged art, song, dance, and masquerade. As Trinbagonians we are known for our ability to be innovative and resourceful, and we always find a way to make it work. 

I congratulate the newly installed Board of the National Carnival Commission on pulling together the plan for Carnival 2018 in a very short time.  I also want to thank all other major Carnival stakeholder groups for your sterling service in providing a rich cultural experience for our people and the wider world to enjoy over many years. The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts continues to work with all stakeholders to further enhance our national cultural product development, ever mindful of the historical underpinnings of this festival, and the balance which must be maintained between making it attractive for visitors as our largest cultural tourism product, and keeping our local participants satisfied and engaged. 

As I conclude, I take this opportunity to remind you that many of our cultural events in Trinidad and Tobago, including the Carnival events, can be found on CultureTT, which the Ministry’s latest inclusion in its digital platform. This mobile app is the hub for all National and Ministry events, festivals and national holidays in Trinidad and Tobago with a focus on dance, music, visual and literary arts, fashion, theatre, and of course, Mas. So I invite you to download it, use it to track all your carnival events, make a schedule, and when Carnival is over, use it to rediscover the hidden gems of our culture.

Marry this App with our Cultural Calendar which has been distributed, and make sure that you fully engage yourself in the rich culture of Trinidad and Tobago.

From the cup of Bacchus wine is poured forth, and in the streets of Port of Spain Bacchanal is a river…”

Do enjoy your Carnival 2018.