As Grenada Gears Up for August Carnival, Prime Minister Urges Caution

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Grenada is gearing to host “the Caribbean’s biggest summer festival in August” even as Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has warned that he is worried about the attitude of young people and also urging that Grenadians continue to follow the policies in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

cariSPGrenada Carnival, "Spicemas". (Photo courtesy of Spicemas Corp)In a nationwide radio and television broadcast on Thursday night, Prime Minister Mitchell said a new disorder could emerge “unless we can muster a national conscience for joint action.

“Indeed there is a worrying trend we have been witnessing lately, with response to violence, particularly among the nation’s youth. The horrifying images confronting us, depicting violence and blatant disrespect, are troubling to say the least,” Mitchell said.

He told the nation that he is not making excuses for the behavior of the young people, “but I must say that I empathize with the enormous impact the pandemic has had on them.

“They’ve spent an extended period outside of the classroom, they’ve been forced to forego the usual social interaction that fuels the relationships they build, and they have been frustrated by restrictions that curtail sporting and other activities.

“As adults, it is important for us to determine how we can positively influence the lives of the nation’s youth, whether through individual or collective action. We should not be satisfied to simply criticize and condemn.”

Mitchell reminded the nation of the old African saying that it takes a village to raise a child, adding “now more than ever, this Grenadian village must spring into action to save the country’s youth.

“While government is responsible for setting policy measures, the human growth and development we are speaking about here cannot be solved by legislation or edict. It is about nurturing and caring; setting the right examples, and looking out for every child as if they are our own. Our concern for the future should be reflected in the time we take to care for our children today.”

Mitchell said that in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government believes that the island is at the beginning of the end of this two-year nightmare.

“As indicated by the Ministry of Health days ago, government has decided to further lift some of the COVID-19 protocols. Effective, April 4th, the mask mandate and the testing and vaccination requirement for arriving passengers will be discontinued.

“I hasten to add, this does not mean that the dangers are completely behind us. Just take a look at the Omicron variant which popped up in China in recent weeks. In the United States and Europe, thousands are still dying daily from COVID-19, although other news developments have taken those startling figures away from the headlines.

“There is still every reason to be cautious — and to observe the basic protocols that have kept many of us safe. The mask mandate is being removed but we still encourage social distancing where possible, and frequent sanitizing of hands.

“Getting vaccinated is still the quickest route to putting this pandemic behind us. Sadly though, vaccine hesitancy is still a grave cause for concern here. Many of our people are still reluctant to accept vaccination as the best shot to safeguarding their lives and that of their loved ones.”

Mitchell said that while current infection rates are down, the relatively low level of vaccination makes Grenada susceptible to spikes, adding “vaccination is key to guarantee the summer we are all excitedly looking forward to”.

He said that Grenada is now planning to stage its Carnival “and if the current epidemiological situation does not worsen, we will remain on course to have a good time”.

Mitchell said Spicemas Corporation has already unveiled the measures that will be put in place given the current situation to ensure a safe and secure carnival.

“Our epidemiological team has been studying the outcomes from the recent Carriacou Carnival and their observations are encouraging – no spike in infections. We will continue to monitor because as we are all aware, the pandemic has been dynamic, and our response has had to be nimble.

“We are therefore confident that Grenada will be ready to host not just another Carnival, but the Caribbean’s biggest summer festival in August. Carnival is a significant cultural and economic event, and this government is committed to giving every support to ensure a grand and successful event.

“We can’t wait to feel the rhythm of the streets, to watch the smiles on the faces, to sway to vibrations of our Soca artistes, and to marvel at the creativity of our mas band producers. And we can’t wait to welcome home not just nationals, but visitors who crave the spectacle of Spice Mas,” Mittchell added.