Editorial: Let the festivities begin

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It’s the time of year many save for months to enjoy. We’d tell our readers to watch out – but the reality is, there’s no way to miss it. This evening, thousands of revellers – residents and visitors – will descend on the streets of St John’s to mark the opening of our country’s biggest event of the year.
Yes, we are, of course talking about Carnival which is actually marking its 60th anniversary and we are hoping that all the events are tragedy free.
The atmosphere has already been heated up with quite a number of pre-Carnival fetes and so now we are getting into full Carnival gear.
Tonight, we get things started with the Glow Opening Parade – and this has been an attraction for all.
Today starts the season, which ends on August 8, when children anticipate dressing up and soaking in the sights and sounds of the festivities. Adults look forward to – literally and figuratively – letting it all hang loose. Some after months of hard work in the gym, others after … well just weeks of hard work.
It’s Carnival – a most exciting time in Antigua & Barbuda. At what other time is there such an explosion of culture?  Against the backdrop of our pulsating calypso and soca rhythms, colours that span the spectrum, there is mas’, revelry, pageantry, pan… and this year, celebrating greatness – the official theme.
Festivities will officially be declared open tonight at Carnival City – Antigua Recreation Grounds – which will be the hub of Carnival action. Tomorrow, T-shirt Mas takes over the streets from 3 pm, then Sunday night 15 delegates take to the stage in the 56th Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show and then on Monday, the teens compete in Scotia Bank Teen Splash competition.
Meanwhile, the country has reasons to unwind and let its proverbial hair down. Carnival, this year, comes at a time when hundreds of hotel workers are bracing for layoffs this upcoming September due to several hotels closing for repairs; the nation is still reeling from several scandals involving our Citizenship by Investment Programme coupled with the end of visa-waivers being granted to citizens of Antigua & Barbuda by Canada and; on top of that, law enforcement authorities are dealing with a spike in crime – particularly break-ins and gun crime.
With this in mind, the police have collaborated with the Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force and stepped up security in St John’s and its environs.
And so, we take this opportunity to remind and encourage residents to report any illegal activity they witness or know about, as the police need all the help they can get.
Secure your property; do not leave your valuables in your vehicles; try to walk in groups and avoid parking or walking in poorly lit areas, to name a few. The pressure is on.
These are just a couple of the myriad matters that will be on the minds of many residents as they venture out to enjoy themselves and release stresses during the country’s carnival celebration.
We remind the revellers and party people to drink responsibly and to be cognisant that following the season, they will be returning to their normal lives.  But in order for them to do so with reputations intact, they must refrain from vulgar and embarrassing behaviour.

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