Revellers playing T-Shirt Mas’ (photo courtesy Insane Mas’ Troupe)

Chairman of the Festivals Commission Maurice Merchant has dashed the hopes of revellers who have called for J’ouvert to be removed from St John’s, by declaring that the Carnival staple will remain in the city.

Moving J’ouvert out of the city has been “tried and tested and unfortunately it wasn’t a success. It didn’t pass,” Merchant told OBSERVER media yesterday.

He explained the rationale for wanting to keep this event in the city.

“What is unique about Antigua J’ouvert is the togetherness, that closeness that persons yearn for. Taking it outside of St John’s, it started to lag behind, there were large gaps, that intimacy was removed.

“I think that intimate experience is what people are looking for during J’ouvert.

Asked about large trucks and trailers having to manoeuvre through a few narrow streets in St John’s which has been a complaint by some in the past. He said this isn’t really a concern.

“They have been manoeuvring pretty well. It may take a bit longer than usual, but they have been doing it well. Thank God, we haven’t had any serious injuries, and we’re praying for the same. We’re putting certain precautionary measures in place so the patrons can remain safe.

“For instance, we have stipulated that wheels must be covered, so no one can trip and fall, and end up underneath the wheel of a vehicle,” the chairman said.

In relation to the recent calls for T-Shirt Mas’ to be banned on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, Merchant said there’s a place for both T-Shirt Mas’ and the traditional mas’ to co-exist.

“It’s a new attraction for Antigua & Barbuda having started a few years ago. It has grown tremendously. Yes, where culture is concerned, it may be somewhat diminishing our culture in terms of how we play mas’ in Antigua & Barbuda.

Read more in today’s Daily Observer.




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