We as Trinbagonians don't understand and appreciate the power of Carnival, and sport. Our Carnival history, traditions and heritage make Trinidad and Tobago Carnival unique and authentic.
The longtime brass melody that Machel Montano used in his runaway smash hit Like Ah Boss marries the old and the new in an infectious Carnival 2015 soca smash hit.
It is a powerful example of the positive results that can occur with the marriage between the traditional and contemporary. The old need not be discarded and can be relevant to contemporary Trinidad and Tobago society.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival as I understood it growing up in Belmont–or Freetown–for those with a historical reference point has deep historical and cultural significance.
Prior to emancipation slaves were forbidden from participating in carnival celebrations. When slavery came to an end, the liberated slaves took their mas to the streets to celebrate their freedom. Carnival was used to make subtle and not so subtle statements. So there was an element of cultural and artistic tension between the bourgeoisie–the word now used in the contemporary Trinidad and Tobago is stoosh–and the grassroots.
Carnival is in danger of becoming a means to an end and the divide grows between the traditional and pretty mas, the cultural entrepreneurs and the profit seekers.
The challenge we face is embracing the tension between tradition and contemporary. In the sport space the country is facing the very same issues and challenges.
That we don't seem to be able to harness the diverse energies is part of our learning and evolution as a people, nation and society.
People get defensive and take things personal when you ask the questions that need to be asked.
One such question is why must our elite athletes leave home during Carnival so as not to negatively impact their training programme?
Today I will walk around Port-of-Spain and take in the celebrations. Last year I was out of the country at the Michael Johnson Performance Centre to finalise aspects of their high performance partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. It was my intention this year to make up and play mas.
But that was before the 10 Olympic or more Olympic gold medals by 2024 #10golds24 campaign got going in earnest.
The opportunity to promote #10golds24 during carnival is one that I will embrace. Trinidad and Tobago is a world class centre for Carnival. #10golds24 mission is for Trinidad and Tobago to become a world class centre for Olympic sports.
Like Carnival and the respective Carnival monarch winners. The athletes may be on the front line but achieving Olympic success is very much a team effort.
Each athlete or team is supported by a multi-disciplinary team.
Preparing takes many years and planning and it's the attention to detail that produces the excellence and puts our athletes and teams in a position to compete for Olympic medals.
Olympic sports are a people business and the relationships are important. In a fraction of second results are determined. Everyone is under pressure.
There is a lot of adrenalin flowing. Keeping a cool head is vital when the heat is on.
There is an army of people who work behind the scenes to produce the moment when our athletes and teams mount the podium.
Sport is no different to Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. We have world class talent and potential. Like Carnival sport can put Trinidad and Tobago on the world map in a positive way.
Support the Olympic dream. Make your donations to the #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund at any branch of Scotia Bank Ac# 171188.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed are not those of the organisation.