“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
So the verdict is in: This Carnival was the “safest” (Minister of National Security); “commercialised” (anyone over 60); “brilliant,” “awesome” or “de greatest” (any foreigner interviewed on TV); “confusing” (NCBA bandleaders); “disgraceful” (various commentators, bishops and mayors); the “final nail” in the coffin of pan (nearly every pan enthusiast) and “too fragmented” (the new Calypso Monarch, Chucky). Obviously everyone had a great time; it was real bacchanal!
Here’s what I noticed. Disabled people are now participating more. It’s not only the Princess Elizabeth pan side. On Carnival Monday, there was a masquerader in a wheelchair on the Savannah stage. In the midst of a seething, swarming mass of misbehaving women, it was difficult to see what he was doing but he was there, enjoying it all and seemingly having enough space to manoeuvre his wheelchair. Wonderful stuff! A 72-year-old amputee, Glenford Sobers, played pan from his wheelchair at the National Panorama Single Pan preliminaries at Guaracara Park. That must be a world first, a pan-wheelchair! Mr Sobers, a diabetic, lost his right leg last year after hot water fell on his foot and burnt his toe. Infection set in, spread and that was that.