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Jun 11, 2020

September without Carnival! No Money and No Time to Get Ready

In years past, the construction of carnival costumes and dance rehearsals would be in full swing at this time of the year. But the coronavirus has thrown a wrench into this year’s carnival season, which is one of the most followed events during the September celebrations. That bacchanal is normally held the second Saturday in September and even though, there is no telling what it will be like in September, bands have not been able to prepare. Even more compelling is the reality that the private sector will not be able to afford sponsorships. Organizers believe that Carnival 2020 is on hold for this year. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

There is no official word as yet from the September Celebration’s Committee on this year’s activities amid the COVID-19 situation, but the idea of these patriotic events taking place as they normally do is slim. One of the biggest activities that attract Belizeans from across the country as well as from the diaspora is the carnival road march. It is held annually on the second Saturday in the month of September, which would have been the twelfth this year, but the bands are nowhere close to being ready. The defending champion is Soca Moca.


Audrey Bradley

Audrey Bradley, Band Leader, Soca Moca

“Carnival, no. I noh know weh part. I wish, but we have to do weh we have to do. The crowd together wah be wah problem cause carnival dah the biggest event dah Belize.  We already had ideas and sketch and everything, but we neva had nothing cause this thing start end of February, March and Soca Moca usually start the second week in April so we neva get as much stuff. So we only get little stuff, small things. But the girls dehn di ask every day.”


From early January, meetings with the various junior and senior bands were hosted by the Belize Carnival Association. The last meeting was held in February and since then, COVID-19 happened and preparations ceased. Earlier this week, Titans Band issued an official announcement to its registered members and followers that it has made the decision to cancel its participation until 2021.


David Matus

David Matus, Lead Design, Titans Mas Band

“We started out this year quite bright, willing to slay 2020 with a ‘Mas of Class,’ but it didn’t work out. In other words, 2020 end up slaying us because we had to take a stand as a group and decide it is best for us to just cancel out on taking part in the Belize Carnival whether there is or not. Up to now we don’t know if there is any and right now it is a bit too late to decide whether there is gonna be a carnival for 2020.”


While all bands had already completed the storylines to their costumes and themes this year, others had purchase some of the initial materials needed. But the finances are not there since the businesses, which would sponsor the bands, are feeling the economic crunch.


Leroy Green

Leroy Green, Designer & PR, Mother Nature’s Creation

“The way things are going, it is impractical and illogical to expect any carnival this year. We are still in a state of emergency. I just read that it will be lifted the end of this month, however, June thirtieth to the second Saturday in September gives no carnival band time to prepare. We of Mother Nature, as usual, had already done all our designs, our colours for this year’s carnival. I had already written the first draft of the story already, but all those things are on hold. We actually sent out letters to sponsors and got commitment from some. We are hoping that things get better next year and things will be improved.”


David Matus

“The business community has a lot to do with taking this big stand because we sent out packages from as early as January and we had some good replies, but some had not replied and when this came in March there was not gonna be any reply. So we decided it is not going to work out. In many ways, we had a lot of tourists, Belizean Americans coming in; we had a hundred and forty-two registered members already and people had paid in full for our costume for frontline which is our most expensive costume. So a lotta things went into the final decision that it can’t happen. We are not allowed to travel to buy anything. We are not hearing positive remarks from most other sponsors so it is not gonna work.”


Audrey Bradley

“Digi done tell we, no money noh deh. Dehn did too much for COVID-19 and I can’t blame them; the people dehn come furst and Belizeans come first. No money noh deh. No money noh deh.”


When we reached out to President of the Belize Carnival Association, Patrick Thompson today, he said that he has not yet been able to meet with NICH President, Sapna Budhrani for a final decision on what is going on. He echoes the sentiments of the band leaders saying that Carnival 2020 is not possible.


Patrick Thompson

Patrick Thompson, President, Belize Carnival Association

“I must say that it don’t seem as though we will be having a carnival 2020 due to this pandemic. And I say this because we have to understand that the pandemic brought an economic crisis on the entire country and the whole world. And most of these bands, as well as the association, get sponsorship from the business community, which is taking a lick. So I am saying that at this time, I don’t see a carnival 2020.”


Audrey Bradley

“For Soca Moca, carnival is a no, no! And please unu noh spring no last minute thing pan wi cause ih noh di happen. No money noh deh; no sponsor noh deh.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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