With the countdown to Carnival officially being launched on Thursday evening, Minister of Creative Industries Dr Michael Browne is encouraging patrons to be safe.
Speaking during the launch at the historic Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, Browne appealed to residents to be cautious during the celebrations.
His plea stemmed from the ongoing Covid pandemic and news that Covid cases are slightly on the rise again, with the most recent dashboard showing 175 active cases.
“Putting Carnival [together] this year has been a challenge, and it has been a challenge primarily because we still wonder if Covid is gone, is it going, is it coming back? It’s still there. So, we’re going to Carnival this year being very mindful that we are still at a tipping point of the Covid pandemic.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Health and the government of Antigua and Barbuda, I do encourage you to take all the necessary precautions that you can to make sure that you keep yourself safe. For the vaccinated, this is an opportunity for those of you to get your booster shots. For those who are unvaccinated, continue to keep yourselves safe,” Browne said.
It is his hope that this year’s festival will reignite the spirit of Carnival.
“We did these consultations to make sure that we can ensure that Carnival 2022 is not only fun, but it’s also safe, and after those consultations, you will realise from the schedule that there will be some slight changes, there will be some tweaks, there will be some adjustments, some things will be new, but we assure you in the newness, in the freshness, in the change, the spirit of Carnival will be reignited,” Browne added.
Leading soca and calypso performers, including Claudette ‘CP’ Peters, Tian Winter and Jashan Hughes, took to the stage at the launch of Carnival 2022, punctuating the ceremony with performances of hits from Sir McLean ‘King Short Shirt’ Emanuel.
Sir McLean celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this year and will be honoured during the summer festival.
Dennis ‘Menace’ Roberts, Althea ‘Queen Althea’ Williams and Richie Francis also performed during the event, as well as the National Youth Theatre.
This year’s official Carnival calendar kicks of on July 27 and ends on August 2, and will be preceded by a host of pre-Carnival events, starting on July 22.
The pre-Carnival events include a Band Meet Band showdown on Friday, July 22; T-shirt Mas on July 23; Car Show and celebration honouring Sir McLean ‘King Short Shirt’ Emanuel on July 24; and a Teen Rave on July 25.
Drue’s Day will be held on July 26.