Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2017 Contents DARK CLOUD: The homicide
rate in T&T is two murders a day.
SILVER LINING: 90 per cent of
those killed are male, poor and black.
CLOUD: Heart disease is the
leading cause of death in T&T.
LINING: Trevor Sayers can cure
CLOUD: Crime remains the main
worry for most citizens.
LINING: Acting Police Commis-
sioner Stephen Williams will not re-
sign because all other serious crimes
CLOUD: If a strong earthquake
strikes Trinidad, there will be wide-
spread loss of life and property.
LINING: Since prayer can move
mountains, it can also stop moun-
CLOUD: One in every three mur-
ders in T&T are caused by domestic
LINING: This statistic was sup-
plied to the Prime Minister by fem-
CLOUD: One in every 20 mur-
ders in T&T is caused by domestic
LINING: Domestic violence helps
gender feminists argue that marriage
puts women at risk of being mur-
dered and doing the laundry.
CLOUD: Murderers are not being
LINING: Seventh Day Adventist
Pastor Dottin is praying to God to
stop the parasitic mafiatic rhinocer-
itic murderers who killed two wom-
en from his church.
CLOUD: The Government wants
to pass an Anti-Terrorism Bill which
will be "negative, chaotic and op-
pressive for Muslims."
LINING: Muslimeen leader Abu
Bakr is helping oppose the bill so he
won't be oppressed.
CLOUD: Cancer is the second
leading cause of death in T&T.
LINING: Colon cleansing can
cure all diseases except gay.
CLOUD: 14-year-old girls are
being married off by their devout
Hindu parents to older men.
LINING: This prevents the girls
from committing suicide due to their
parents throwing them out for get-
CLOUD: Having sex can result
in unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
LINING: Having sex.
CLOUD: 43 women were mur-
dered in 2016.
LINING: Only one victim was
important enough to stage candle-
light vigils and panel discussions,
and it wasn't a woman who had
tattoos and sex for money.
CLOUD: In domestic violence,
men kill more often but women hit,
throw objects, and use weapons
more often than men.
LINING: Gender experts will
always emphasise the first fact
and suppress the second one when
recommending policies to reduce
CLOUD: Diabetes is the third
leading cause of death in T&T.
LINING: Alkaline water can cure
all diseases and, with its extra hydro-
gen molecule, also make you blonde.
CLOUD: Children die in acci-
dents and in floods.
LINING: God loved them so
much that He let them be killed so
they could be with Him.
CLOUD: Historian Angelo Bis-
LINING: God is ignoring Presi-
dent Anthony Thomas Aquinas Car-
mona, who at Angelo's book launch
said he will pray for a miracle.
CLOUD: Bullying is a prevalent
problem in schools.
LINING: School principals can't
be easily fired.
CLOUD: Children are abused in
Children's Homes, and one boy was
even killed some years ago.
LINING: The Anglican church
has a weekly radio programme.
CLOUD: Many Venezuelans are
now working in Trinidad.
LINING: They will go back as
soon as the CIA stops undermin-
ing the Venezuelan's government's
CLOUD: Carnival does not gen-
erate a profit.
LINING: Carnival renews our Af-
rican cultural and spiritual heritage
which rejects capitalist oppression.
CLOUD: T&T is in a recession.
LINING: The highest-paid em-
ployees at the country's most in-
debted State-owned company got
a five per cent wage increase.
CLOUD: Marriages are not the
site of safety and protection they
are idealised to be, according to a
leading gender feminist.
LINING: Since most women want
to be married, most women are not
as intelligent as gender feminists.
CLOUD: Women are most at risk
of being attacked and injured in their
LINING: A woman's chances of
being a victim of domestic violence
is less than eight in 100, according to
the Caribbean Human Development
Report 2012, so if gender feminists
get funding to do gender research
they can save money by inventing
CLOUD: The soca for Carnival
2K17 is even more inane than last
LINING: Iwer George's "Jump in
de water/Take ah bathe" will reduce
crime because cleanliness is next to
godliness which is right next to the
plantain chips on Aisle#7.
CLOUD: Everyone dies.
LINING. Everyone dies.
Kevin Baldeosingh is the author three
novels and co-author of a history
The last couple of columns
looked at Carnival econom-
ics and concluded it looks like a
scam, a massive feeding trough
for political/cultural hogs. That
conclusion was data-based--a
parliamentary report on the NCC,
government sources, and a basic
knowledge of economics and cul-
tural economy. But other, alterna-
tive facts and conclusions are out
there. Calypsonian De Fosto was
on CNC3's Morning Brew show
on Monday, presenting many of
them. He believes Carnival gener-
ates about $2 billion. And "some-
body" told him it was closer to $10
billion, and he wants his share.
(The clip is here https://youtu.be/
De Fosto's song, of which a
snippet was played on the Morn-
ing Brew, said, in essence: "Don't
treat we so. We want we money!"
It's logical if calypsonians, steel-
bandsmen, NCBA, TUCO, believe
they generate billions of dollars, to
want their share of it. Incidentally,
the Minister of Tourism believes
Carnival generated $350 million
last year (though she provided
no data on how that number was
derived). De Fosto's logic would be
sound even if this lower number
were true: a $350 million return
for a $250 million investment is
great. If it were true.
This (notion of Carnival profit
generation) is relatively new. Car-
nival economics has always been a
polite way of saying "State hand-
. In newspapers and studies of
Carnival prior to, say, 1990, you'd
be hard pressed to find any notion
that Carnival was a money maker.
To take a random year, 1984. The
Guardian's editorial on February
16, reported a dropoff in the hotel
bookings that year, and floated
the idea that "if tourism is to be
developed...Carnival must play
an important role." It also asked
whether or not the drop-off in
tourist arrivals might not have
been a result of the "horrors" suf-
fered by visitors the previous year.
In the same year, Pan Trinbago
decided to refrain from asking
the Ministry of Culture for more
money because of the economic
situation. In the 1960s, the gov-
ernment made itself the godfather
of the steelband movement, and
tried to strong-arm the busi-
ness community into supporting
So where did this notion come
from? It started with the PNM ad-
ministration of 1991--1995. Alfred
Aguiton was appointed head of
the NCC, and first floated the idea
of monetising Carnival at a press
conference in 1992. (I was there.)
Naturally, it flopped. But what
really gave life to the idea was the
accession of the UNC government
of 1996. Suddenly (to "cultural"
people outside government) the
Carnival became of superlative
national importance. Once the
Manning government cheated its
way back into power in 2002, it
immediately increased Carnival
funding and intensified its pro-
motion as the "national" festi-
val. And somewhere in there the
notion that it generated all these
fantastic returns was crafted.
UNC Culture Minister Sen
Daphne Phillips said in the Senate
(on September 12, 2000), Carnival
funding had increased from $11.5
million in 1995 to $19 million in
2000. This was a modest increase
of less than 20 per cent per year.
By the time the PNM left office in
2010, it was more than $100 mil-
lion, an increase of 1,000 per cent.
In 2011 it was $231 million. When
the PP left office in 2015 it was
over $300 million.
What accounted for this in-
crease? Simple: the PNM's polit-
ical calculation that the best way
to stay in power was to Carnivalise
the society. This meant the viral
spread of Carnival, the insistence
on its "national importance" and
its African origin to enrage its
base with ideas of ownership and
entitlement. It also kept the pop-
ulation distracted while the PM,
his pals and his prophetess got up
to all kinds of mischief. The PP,
once it got in, saw it similarly: as
a convenient way to distract the
populace from their own impres-
But, as any good Marxist knows,
capital needs culture to make it
legitimate. Once the money began
to grow from tens to hundreds of
millions, a Carnival eco-system
formed. Segments, groups, be-
came dependent on it. To protect
the flow of money, justifications
were required and all sorts of ar-
guments and theories emerged
about the importance of Carnival
to national identity, to tourism, to
art. Carnival Studies appeared at
tertiary institutions, along with
Carnival conferences, Carnival
academies and special interest
Each group had its rationale,
which took as starting point the
axioms of profit, nationalistic/
patriotic benefit, and artistic val-
ue. Unfortunately, none of these
was true. Carnival's expansion
was made possible only by gov-
ernment's increasing funding,
not its own economic potential.
It was not and is not financially
self-sustaining and possesses no
or negative innate intangible val-
ue. (Look at the society for proof
of that.) People might think it's
valuable, but not so much to actu-
ally invest in or pay for it.
So now, money done and people
like De Fosto are enraged at the
loss of income, but it's not just
calypsonians. Many have built
academic and other careers and
businesses in the last 10 to 15 years
on this foundation. Except those
businesses don't make money,
they just take it from the govern-
ment. I doubt the promoters of
the big shows, ISM, Chutney SM,
could show a credible business
plan to a bank for a loan.
Bottom line, the hustlers are in
pain. Some hustlers might even
have drunk their own Koolaid and
believe they're really what they
think they are---patriots, or some
such twattery. I have no sympathy
either way because critical think-
ing and dissent at the Carnival
argument, expatiated only in this
column (nowhere else that I know
of), has been stifled, ignored,
and dissembled for years. In fact
what's happening now resembles
an investment bubble (a la the US
derivatives market crash of 2008),
which a few people pointed out
before hand and were ignored and
reviled. As De Fosto might say,
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, February 8, 2017
THE CARNIVAL BUBBLE
But, as any good Marxist
knows, capital needs culture
to make it legitimate. Once the
money began to grow from
tens to hundreds of millions,
a Carnival eco-system formed.
Segments, groups, became
dependent on it. To protect the
flow of money, justifications
were required and all sorts
of arguments and theories
emerged about the importance
of Carnival to national identity,
to tourism, to art.
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