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Local News 26 Jan, 2023 Follow News

House of Parliament

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says there are no plans to cancel Carnival or introduce lockdown restrictions similar to what was implemented in 2020, following a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the twin island republic. But there is unease that restrictions may be implemented if there is a significant increase in the latest variant.

Trinidad expected to enjoy a Covid-free Carnival for the first time in three years but a recent spike in cases has caused fears of renewed restrictions. But Rowley announced that there’s no need to close the country’s borders as the relevant variants of concern have already been detected within the country.

However, he added that that while there’s no need to panic just yet, the public must pay attention, be responsible and practice health and safety protocols.

The first in-person Carnival celebrations since 2020 in Trinidad and Tobago have already begun leading up to the finale on February 20-21. Carnival enthusiasts are participating in fêtes, concerts and other associated events in the lead-up to the two-day street parade.

Soca star Machel Montano is always a big draw, and this year, after having said that the 2020 instalment of his annual concert, aka ‘Machel Monday’ which was on the Monday before Carnival would be his last. He recently announced that he will be performing at an event called ‘Machel 40’ to celebrate his four decades as a performer.

The revelation was met with great excitement, given that Montano’s live performances are always vibrant and energetic, putting the audience into the Carnival spirit. However, he has been criticised for the show’s timing, which is set for Carnival Friday, February 17, a date that clashes with the International Soca Monarch event.

The inaugural International Soca Monarch competition was held in 1993. Some of each Carnival season’s most popular performers face off for the title and its accompanying prize money, which at its height in 2009 was TTD 1 million (US$150,000). The show has always been held on the Friday before Carnival, dubbed ‘Fantastic Friday’.

It’d not just soca artists performing at Carnival. On Christmas Eve, Grammy-winning reggae star Shaggy and Trinbagonian soca sensation Kes, released a collaboration entitled ‘Mood’ to DJs and radio programmers across the region, adding to ripe speculation that the ‘Boombastic’ and ‘It Wasn’t Me’ singer will be the special international guest at forthcoming Kes’ IzWe concert and Festival event.

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