Antigua's Carnival cancelled for 2020
Antigua's Carnival has been cancelled.
The announcement was made on the weekend by National Festivals Minister, Daryll S. Matthew.
Matthew said that Cabinet, during its discussions over the weekend, accepted his recommendation to cancel the 2020 Carnival festivities, which were scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 4.
“Cabinet looked at the circumstances surrounding the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic and agreed that the hosting of the activities at this time would not be in the best interest of the population in maintaining good health, which is the foremost priority of the government. The festival is also expected to be affected by the projected negative economic impact the virus will have on Antigua and Barbuda. It was therefore agreed to cancel the celebrations and advised that the focus should be placed on the planning of Carnival 2021 which will coincide with the hosting of Carifesta XV here in Antigua and Barbuda," Matthew said via a press release.
“Also contributing to the cancellation of the festivities is the strong belief that the public will have no interest in attending social and entertainment gatherings during and after the COVID-19 pandemic."
The announcement follows a similar one from Barbados about this year's Crop Over festival.
The Cabinet of Barbados at its meeting of Thursday, April 16 approved a recommendation of the Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports to cancel the 2020 Crop Over Festival as well as the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
The two Carnivals are the latest to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic while others such as Jamaica's have been postponed to a later date this year. The fate of other major Summer Carnivals such as Grenada's Spice Mas, London's Notting Hill Carnival and New York's Labour Day are yet to be known.
Antigua is, however, holding out hope that Independence festivities will still go on.
Matthew revealed that the Festivals Commission has produced an Independence Schedule for this year which will be released when there has been official clearance that the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided.
“We will continue to plan for the Independence celebrations in late October early November in anticipation that the environment would facilitate activities of this nature,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence celebrations are expected to be held in the next six months from October 24 to November 2, 2020.