Government says Carnival 2021 hinges on success of vaccination programme


Antigua & Barbuda’s Carnival could see a comeback this year if things go well with COVID-19 vaccinations.


Daryll Matthew, the Minister with responsibility for festivals, told state media that he is “optimistic that once the health situation is controlled and we are at a point where a significant portion of our population is inoculated, we can have some carnival or some remnant of a carnival.”


“We do see the rollout of a vaccine taking place locally and globally, and the expectation is that certainly over the next 90 to 100 days, the momentum will speed up with the inoculation of persons both in our source markets where we expect people to visit Antigua and here in Antigua & Barbuda,” Matthew explained.


Last year, the Festivals Commission hosted virtual Soca and Calypso Monarch competitions.


Matthew said he saw “no reason why with the circumstances being as they are today, we would not be able to have those two events again.


He said he also saw “no reason why, if needs be, we can’t have a virtual queen show and other pageants.


Prime Minister Gaston Browne expressed similar views while speaking on Point Fm on Saturday.


“It’s not inconceivable that we could have carnival despite the fact that the months are advancing and normally it would take us up to a year to plan it,” Browne said.


“We could probably plan it in a quick period if we are able to achieve herd immunity in the next couple of months, maybe in the next three months. In that case, we would have the type of safe environment in which we could safely host carnival,” he explained.


However, the Prime Minister said, “If we don’t achieve that type of herd immunity, then evidently, we would not be able to host carnival and other socializations.”

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