Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Photo/T&T Parliament
By Sue-Ann Wayow
WHILE Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is in agreement with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that Trinidad and Tobago should not have Carnival 2021, she is suggesting that the “Greatest Show on Earth” be held virtually.
She said a virtual Carnival will still create jobs and opportunities for the many who look forward to their busiest season of the year.
Persad-Bissessar, speaking during a United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting on Monday, said the same manner in which the organiser of the annual Divali Nagar could host a nine-day virtual event, so too the organisers of Carnival should be allowed to host a similar event.
She said, “Today the Prime Minister gave a startling statement which given the circumstances, I agree that Carnival 2021 will be cancelled. I agree given the Covid circumstances. I want to make that very clear. But that is so short-sighted. It is so visionless.
“Why when now we are in a virtual world, we cannot have virtual Carnival events. All the people who participate, all the artistes all the very talented creative people can have a chance and we can have a Carnival across the world virtual. It can become a Forex earner and those who are involved in this massive event each year apart from the actual revelers on the streets, you can have virtual events.”
Making reference to the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation, Persad-Bissessar asked, “We are talking about technology and in this day and age all those high level minds could think that we could host Carnival virtually and showcase it across the world and earn foreign exchange?”
Rowley earlier on Monday said that given the unforeseen Covid-19 circumstances, Carnival 2021 will not be happening. He was speaking at the Spotlight on the Budget event hosted by the Ministry of Finance in which he spoke about government’s financial situation.
Persad-Bissessar said the main things that she would like to see in the upcoming budget was the creation of jobs by providing a wage subsidy to businesses, no additional tax burden on citizens, affordable food and laptops given to children.
The Opposition Leader also questioned the awarding of the contract to the supplier of LED bulbs to the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC).
Persad-Bissessar added that the Prime Minister should not blame the country’s financial misfortunes on Covid-19 since even before the pandemic, people were suffering.
Also speaking at the UNC’s virtual meeting MP for Naparima Rodney Charles who said it was a pity that Trinidad and Tobago was not included in the list of countries to be visited the by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in his Guyana, Suriname, Brazil and Colombia.
Other speakers included MPS Roodal Moonilal, Rushton Paray, Anita Haynes, former MP Surujrattan Rambachan and David Nakhid.