Saturday 24 October, 2020

Tribe to masqueraders: We will return to the streets when it is safe

A masquerader from The Lost Tribe's 2020 presentation Anansi.

A masquerader from The Lost Tribe's 2020 presentation Anansi.

Dean Ackin, the bandleader of the Tribe group of bands, says it will only be safe to return to the streets for Carnival 2021 if there is a vaccine for COVID-19.

In a letter issued to masqueraders today, Ackin says bringing people together, knowing the risks associated with COVID-19, would be irresponsible.

"I believe that it will only be safe to return to the streets when a vaccine or treatments are developed and widely available, or when the experts sufficiently relax social distancing rules," he says.

Ackin acknowledges that they have been contacted by many masqueraders asking about their plans for Carnival 2021.

"We are humbled by your faith in TRIBE, but we too are at the mercy of this virus. The official Carnival date is nine months away and given the current state of affairs in the world, it would be premature of me to make a declaration about it at this time," he says in the letter.

"The truth is, we can only make plans when those responsible for guiding us - our scientists, medical experts and government, indicate what is best for everyone. I am mindful that this illness is life-threatening and that there is likely to be an economic aftershock that will affect many people, including the entire Carnival ‘eco-system’ – from the musician to the taxi driver to the vendor. These two factors will guide us as we move into the future."

Carnival 2021 is scheduled to culminate on February 15 and 16.

Ackin says given the length of time scientists say it will take to have a vaccine ready, postponing Carnival could be an option.

Addressing the operations of his business, Ackins says they may have to scale down operations and plan in a big way for Carnival 2022.

"We will try to keep as much staff as we can for as long as we can but no Carnival for us means absolutely no income.  We have a business that is concentrated mainly on one time of year. No income means it will be challenging to pay for our expenses. It may mean we have to scale down all resources but we have to wait and see," he says.

Tribe is the umbrella body for Tribe mas band, Pure, Bliss, Rogue, Harts and The Lost Tribe.

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