Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 18th 2015 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 18, 2015
Despite the continued fall in oil
prices, masqueraders and party-
goers are not refraining from
spending for the 2015 Carnival.
As a matter of fact, bandleaders
and fete promoters are predicting a
bumper Carnival, as the sale of cos-
tumes and tickets for all-inclusive
and general fetes have been selling
In the face of cutbacks at all gov-
ernment ministries, economist Dr
Roger Hosein is urging carnival lovers
to spend wisely and consider cutting
expenses, as they enjoy the revelry
in the coming weeks.
Promoter of Soca Chutney
Monarch and Girlz Gone White,
George Singh, said the public had
not yet felt the impact of the inter-
national oil prices, which fell below
US$50 a barrel in January.
"Party lovers have been planning
and putting aside money for their
tickets months in advance...way
before oil prices started to drop. So
it is not really affecting their pockets.
They are enjoying Carnival as nor-
mal from what I heard. In my opin-
ion, this is going to be a great Car-
Singh said if the price of oil con-
tinued to tumble, Carnival 2016
might be affected.
Another promoter, Cliff Harris
who organises Army Fete, said if oil
prices continued to decline, citizens
could be affected.
But for now, Harris said, people
have been attending parties and fetes
"It has become part of our cul-
ture." As it stood, Harris said, it cost
a party goer upward of $600 to
attend an all-inclusive fete.
For a couple, it would cost in
excess of $2,000.
"After spending that kind of
money on tickets, a new outfit,
shoes and to style your hair in a
salon, how many fetes can an aver-
age couple attend? They might just
have to settle for one party because
they would have to watch their
spending. But this would not stop
them from enjoying Carnival."
Party goers will attend selective
Dexter Charles of Island People,
which promotes popular fetes like
Insomnia and Girl Power, said party
goers might be a little more selective
in the fetes they attended.
"They may not be adventurous
to try new ones, not knowing what
to expect. They would attend parties
that worked in the past."
Charles said Carnival had become
a staple in a Trini s diet and people
would still party and enjoy them-
selves to the max, even though it
meant scaling down the number of
events they attended this Carnival.
"This is going to be a short, sweet
Carnival," Charles said.
Charles said he expected his
events to be well-attended.
"We are expecting thousands of
Tribe operations not affected.
Rhiannon Pemberton, group
manager of large band Tribe, admit-
ted that the dip in oil prices had in
no way affected the operations at
their mas camp.
Pemberton said the band s 13 sec-
tions were sold out within weeks
after it was launched last July.
The band has a following of close
to 2,000 masqueraders
Tribe will showcase its 2015 pres-
entation Wings of Desire.
"It does not seem to be affecting
us for the upcoming Carnival. Tribe
has not had cancellations...anything
more than the normal. People have
already begun paying off for their
costumes. So we don t see it having
a huge impact for 2015."
However, Pemberton said, if the
dip in oil prices persisted "this is
something we would definitely have
to monitor and make plans for in
The prices of Tribe s costumes
range in excess of $3,000 up to
Big Mike: Trinidadians not
studying oil prices
Bandleader of Legacy, Big Mike
Antoine, said he did not see any
disruptions for Carnival.
"Trinidadians are not studying
oil prices at this point in time."
Antoine said no one had informed
the country to tighten its belt.
"As far as I know all is well. The
country is not panicking in any way."
Antoine said if oil prices continued
to decline, it could affect next year s
"Right now, it is too early to tell.
But this year, people are still spend-
ing their money because they have
already worked out their budgets
and events they would be attend-
Legacy will showcase 12 sec-
tions which will cater for between
1,500 and 2,000 masqueraders.
Four of the 12 sections have
already been sold out.
Antoine was optimistic that the
remaining eight sections "would sell
out" in the next few days.
Kalicharan: High demand
Aaron Kalicharan, assistant band-
leader for Kalicharan Carnival, said
he initially thought that the slash
in oil prices would affect their cos-
tume sales, but he was wrong.
From Boxing Day, Kalicharan said,
the band saw an influx of masquer-
aders paying and registering for cos-
"This oil thing has not disrupted
our carnival sales. We don t know
what will happen next year, but we
are keeping a positive attitude that
all will go well with the economy."
This year, Kalicharan will grace
the streets with eight sections, three
of which will be all-inclusive.
"Our average costume is $1,500.
The all-inclusive sections are priced
between $2,600 to $2,800. We are
seeing a positive feedback. I think
if the oil prices continue to dip it
would affect Carnival to a point, in
that, party-goers will attend less
fetes. But people will still want to
play their mas and free up them-
selves. This will be a bumper Car-
nival," Kalicharan said.
Hosein: Consider cutting
Hosein said even though some
people continued to spend freely,
the rest of the economy was yet to
feel the pinch of the impact.
"While export and government
revenues have taken a hit with the
falling oil prices, the rest of the
economy is faced with a time
lag. People are doing business as
usual and they are spending as usual.
This would likely change in the com-
ing four to six months if the price
of oil remains at US$40 a barrel."
Hosein said if the price of oil were
to climb to US$80 by this Septem-
ber "all the lessons that we should
have learned from the fall in the
price of oil we would have lost
because everything would go back
If, however, oil prices remained
lower than US$50 a barrel for 2015,
Hosein said, "then in 2016 band-
leaders would have no choice but
to use cheaper materials for cos-
tumes, while promoters may have
to look at renting venues that are
less expensive to cut costs."
For this Carnival, Hosein
said,"People should consider car
pooling and cooler sharing a bit
more to get the same basic level of
revelry, but with a lower level of
No stopping this party ...spending on Carnival
falling oil prices
Party-goers during the semifinals of the Chutney Soca Monarch at Rienzi Complex, Couva, on Friday night.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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