PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s minister of culture and communication announced last week that national carnival celebrations will be cancelled in the wake of violent protests that paralysed the country for more than 10 days.
“Organising a national carnival requires preparation time,” Jean-Michel Lapin told reporters.
“Technically, it is too late for the government to discuss organising a national carnival in the city of Gonaives,” to begin Sunday, as originally planned, he added, speaking alongside members of the organising committee.
Last month, people took to the streets across the country to demand the ouster of President Jovenel Moise and improved living conditions in the deeply impoverished Caribbean island nation.
At least seven people were killed during clashes that paralysed the country and resulted in significant property damage.
The cities of Port-au-Prince and Petionville, which usually host the two bigger carnival parades, have already cancelled festivities because of the crisis.
Although the national festivities are cancelled, the government stressed that people could still participate in other celebrations.
The national carnival budget is estimated at 350 million gourdes (US$4.3 million) after a 50-million-gourde subsidy.
Lapin said that instead of being poured into Gonaives, the subsidy funds can be disbursed across “all cities ready to host the tradition this weekend”.
Despite the country’s political instability in recent decades, the national carnival has been held every year except 2010, even if on a sometimes smaller scale.