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Bermuda Carnival faces inevitable cancellation

Bermuda Carnival events seem unlikely to proceed next month, the Premier signalled yesterday.

David Burt said that he believed that the organisers had announced that the multi-day event would not be held this year amid the Covid-19 crisis.

He added: “Certainly, that would fit over any threshold of gathering of persons and is not something that will be allowed.”

Mr Burt said that it was not the Government's place to announce the cancellation of an event it did not run, and that he believed that communications had gone out that the events this year had been scrapped.

He added: “I think that's pure common sense at this time.”

The comments came at a press conference to provide an update on Bermuda's battle to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Jason Sukdeo, the president of BHW Ltd, the organisation behind Bermuda Carnival, declined to comment yesterday.

The party is scheduled to take place this year from June 12 to 15.

The Bermuda Carnival website said that events this year were to include Five Star Friday, featuring local performing artists as well as international soca artists and DJs, a raft-up in Shelly Bay, the colourful early-morning paint party known as J'Ouvert, and the Parade of Bands.

Tickets to several events were being sold on the event website yesterday.

However, a page found on the Bermuda Tourism Authority's website said that this year's Carnival had been cancelled.

Glenn Jones. the interim chief executive of the BTA, said that the tourism quango had been a sponsor of the event since it was founded in 2015.

He added: “Through our experience investment programme, the event has benefited from annual funding and marketing support.

“Carnival is among a group of home-grown, entrepreneur-led experiences that have achieved phenomenal levels of success.”

However, Mr Jones said the BTA had told Carnival organisers last month that it would not be able to support the event this year.

He explained that several factors had influenced the decision, including uncertainty over when the airport would reopen for regular commercial flights, insufficient time to market the event to visitors, and the cancellation or postponement of similar carnival celebrations in other places.

Mr Jones said: “We believe in the future of Carnival and the entrepreneurial talent behind it, and hope this event will remain a highlight of Bermuda's annual cultural calendar going forward.”

Performers from three bands announced last month they had “made the hard decision” not to take part in the Parade of Bands event over concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Party People Ent, Code Red and Nova Mas International said they had been “monitoring the current situation closely” and consulted with interested parties and the Government before they made the decision.

The Instagram announcement said: “This decision will also apply to our respective BC2020 signature events, Euphoria, Mimosa and Mai Tai Island.

“This decision is essential for the safety and wellbeing of our masqueraders.”

They added that a “costume carry forward” system would mean deposits and payments already made would be carried over to next year. Bermuda Carnival was launched in 2015 as Bermuda Heroes Weekend Carnival as a celebration of Caribbean carnival which incorporated National Heroes Day festivities.

It was rebranded as Bermuda Carnival in 2019.

No show: Bermuda Carnival weekend will most likely not go ahead this year because of the Covid-19 crisis (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 05, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 05, 2020 at 8:02 am)

Bermuda Carnival faces inevitable cancellation

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