This week in our editorial we are thanking all those who had a part to play in the cancellation of the virtual Carnival which can only serve Grenada well. From listening to the support of that decision from the many callers on radio programmes, one can only conclude that it’s popular and has gone down well with the masses.
While no in-depth reason was given for the cancellation, the Prime Minister who was a guest on GBN’S programme said that the two public holidays which are normally set aside for Carnival activities in August will not be allowed this year. Prime Minister Mitchell took the bold stand to proclaim that we can’t have it because if we do some people will use it to have fun and go against the much needed protocols that are in place to save our lives. The record has shown so far that people are throwing caution to the wind. Only last week a group of people were arrested in St James after being warned by the Police. They came out in their numbers to “practice their Jab Jab for J’Ouvert”.
Of interest here to note is a caller who was appealing to media houses to stop designing their programmes to put Carnival in the psyche of the people. The caller noted that the Government is going one way while the public is going another way. It was his belief that media houses are spurring people on to hold activities where people are assembling without the 6ft social distancing and even masks. He believes that the music and programming on the air should be designed to complement the protocols that are now in place. It is our hope that his suggestion will not fall on deaf ears and the media will at least try to calm the nation.
The virtual Carnival activities that were being planned, did its share to add to the temptation of ‘getting on wassie’ as we say in Grenada. So it’s a big relief when it was announced that they were cancelled. Imagine the television set in a village rum shop showing the virtual Carnival shows and everybody drinking rum. It is not hard to imagine the behavior that would follow now that the limited curfew is lifted and people are free to roam. Even the fatal accident during the week should drive the point home that we can all do with some ‘calming down time.’
As the Prime Minister said “We better be safe than sorry.” He also said that he did not enjoy being the bearer of the bad news that we have to forego the Monday holiday, half-day Tuesday, but hopefully next year we’re going to have a bumper time. The time has come for people to pay attention to their attitudes and practices as it relates to COVID-19. Each of us must play our part in saving lives in Grenada. Globally COVID-19 has infected over 13 million people and killed more than half a million.
In the Caribbean region, over 20,000 people have been infected with over 800 deaths. These numbers continue to increase daily. While no deaths have occurred in Grenada, with our borders opening locally, regionally and internationally, there is an increased chance for infection rates to increase with deaths occurring. Let us all try to at least minimize the impact of COVID-19. We know that drinking too much alcohol comes with the Carnival mood and the Drug Avoidance Secretariat has warned us time and time again that the consumption of alcohol can impede our judgement. Can we afford that in this time of COVID-19?
The Police have their hands full as people continue to break the law. They are even seeing the unexpected. Imagine that group of young people who decided to have a party on the beach and those who decided to play Jab Jab. Is it really the education system that has let us down so badly that we are now seeing youngsters devoid of the ability to reason and make good decisions? Here we are referring to those that continue to ignore the new-normal.
The Government has indicated its intention to have both Houses of Parliament consider the revocation of Carnival Monday and Tuesday as National Holidays this year. A bill has already been drafted that is expected to be brought before the House of Representatives when it meets next week Wednesday. It will then be taken to Senate, and it is our hope that it will be passed into law. We do not need a Carnival Monday and Tuesday this year.
Prime Minister Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell also revealed the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy, and said that Government is keen to see the nation return to full productivity as businesses have suffered during the lockdown period. This resulted in Government experiencing a significant reduction in revenue. Therefore, with the cancellation of Carnival this year, the prudent thing to do is to use those days productively. The intention is not to disregard the importance of culture, but against the backdrop of our individual and collective losses in this pandemic, we must now seek to capitalize on every opportunity to revitalize the economy.