KINGSTON – Chairman of the Carnival in Jamaica stakeholders committee, Kamal Bankay, announced the postponement of the annual event following consultations with the various stakeholders as Caribbean countries continue to react to the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has so far killed more than 4000 people.
Bankay said that the Carnival in Jamaica 2020 Road Marches, schedule for April 16-19, had been pushed back to October and that the decision “is an imperative one and came after much consultation and deliberation”.
“This postponement to October 2020 gives us seven clear months from the initial detection of the virus in Jamaica to provide a level of chronological distancing that shows that we are committed to protecting the citizens of Jamaica and tourists from unnecessary exposure to the pandemic COVID-19.
“With that being said, we also equally value all the employees that make an honest living from the Carnival industry here in Jamaica: our staff, event management agencies, production and logistics companies, costume designers, hoteliers, transport providers, decorators, security personnel, caterers, bar services, DJs, food growers and beverage companies.”
He said a decision to cancel Carnival for 2020 would have resulted in the island forgoing “all the potential economic injections across all sectors that our Carnival brings to our country annually, especially in a year when we will need it most, i.e. in anticipation of the economic fallout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“Our Carnival season has an annual economic impact in the billions. By postponing the season and not cancelling, we can still fulfil our commitment to the revellers to provide the best Carnival experience in the Caribbean and keep our industry from crumbling under the weight of the significant economic pressures we will face as a nation – a most delicate balancing act.”
Bankay said the celebrations will begin on October 19 and that “we have also had robust discussions with our hotels and airline partners to waive change fees for rebooking to October, so our revellers will not incur any additional costs and still get to enjoy Carnival in Jamaica at a time when it should be safe to do so”.