Saint Lucia may have carnival come next year but it will not be a free for all, a situation that is not sitting well with a large swath of the population as evidenced by the many posts on social media over the past week.
We have been informed that the decision to stage carnival was the result of several consultations between stakeholders and the Government; Department of Creative Industries & Culture and the Department of Health. Only vaccinated persons will participate.
A statement on the Facebook page of Tourism Minister Ernest Hilaire noted that the Cabinet of Ministers had decided that the country will host Saint Lucia Carnival 2022 dubbed ‘The Vaxxed Mas’.
According to the statement “the hosting of Carnival 2022 is subject to the full approval of the Ministry of Health, according to established health protocols. The name suggests everyone participating in Carnival 2022, including, revellers, patrons, support staff and service providers must be fully vaccinated. The aim is to create a bubble to ensure the safety of the general public and all carnival patrons.”
Carnival has transformed into one of Saint Lucia’s biggest cultural displays and has had a significant cultural and economic impact with indications that this upward trend will continue.
The statement quoted Minister Hilaire as saying that “it is critical that we continue to build on the hard work that was started by persons who have brought carnival to where it is now. We must also ensure that we preserve the public health of Saint Lucia while creating economic activity for our people to benefit from. Carnival is also a major part of our Tourism product which sees thousands of visitors coming to our shores to enjoy our island and its wonderful experiences. Those in the Creative Industries use the Carnival season as one of their avenues to showcase their talents so we must continue to provide that platform to do so. It is even more important now after the almost two-year hiatus.”
The statement revealed that Carnival 2022 will not take place in its traditional form but all the necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the true spirit of Saint Lucia carnival is preserved. Strict guidelines and protocols will be implemented and the authorities will ensure strict adherence in an effort to safeguard the health and wellness of all participants. The guidelines will be announced in due course following further working consultations between the Ministry of Health and stakeholders.