“There is a thin line between morality and legality where Carnival is concerned,” was how one of the members of the traditional Vitus Mas’’ Troupe summed up the lewd and callous behaviour displayed in the full view of the public during the festival.
Donna O’Donoghue said some of the excessive scandalous images and videos were deliberately captured and broadcast all over the world, however, it is not a total picture of mas’’ portrayal in Antigua & Barbuda.
O’Donoghue said that the skimpiness of the costumes has made it easier for revellers to dance in a suggestive manner, which is not suitable for children and is offensive to others.
“It’s more graphic than it was before. I agree there has always been wining, dancing and rubbing up on people but the lack of material, even a strip of it between the male and the female, or the female and the female, I think it makes a great difference. It is more pronounced than then,” she added.
Describing her love for and interest for traditional mas’’, O’Donoghue said she has been participating in carnival since the 1950s.
However, bandleader of Myst Carnival, Michael Freeland noted that human attitudes evolve with every generation and unless it is illegal so much emphasis should not be placed on people enjoying themselves.
“You have certain precursors that can determine lewd and vulgar and what happens at mas’’ is gyration and you will have some people that will go overboard, but what happens at mas’’ in nothing different from being at a nightclub, church gathering or beach function…how is it different from when you come on the street for carnival,” he said.
Freeland noted that it is only when people violate the law that should they be pursued by police. Both Big Issues guests agreed that the behaviour comes down to parenting and adults should be held responsible for their actions.
O’Donoghue closed by stating that she would wish to see carnival move away from the carnage.