For the first time in history, Fyzabad—the bustling oil town which birthed the labour riots—went dead on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
Unlike Cedros, Mayaro and Moruga which celebrated Jouvert with thousands of people, the streets of Fyzabad remained devoid of any activity for Carnival.
And while the police are denying that it shut down Carnival this year, former MP Arthur Sanderson confirmed that there were no festivities.
Referring to the empty streets, Sanderson said:
"This is what the streets look like. Nobody outside. This is the first time that Fyzabad is like that. It baffles me that people did not come out."
But mas man Rupert Lopez, aka Body Love, said the police restrictions hampered Carnival. Lopez accused the police of going to business establishments and warning that there will be no Carnival this year and anyone who puts music on the pavements or engages in festivities will face the full brunt of the law.
He said the area designated for Carnival revelry was between Butler Junction and Market Street.
"That area is too short. Who going to rent a music truck to go from here to there? That making no sense," Lopez said.
Fyzabad Main Road is devoid of people on Carnival Tuesday. [Photo courtesy Arthur Sanderson]
Meanwhile, several people commented about the lack of revelry in the oil town.
On Facebook, Brandon Hasmatally wrote: "All Fyzabad had for Carnival was a Spiderman yes."
Another person named Banton OG posted a photo of the empty streets of Fyzabad on Monday night and wrote: "I now touch Fyzabad. Could somebody tell me where the money that was allocated for Carnival? Is this it?"
On Friday, Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher confirmed that the police had not shut down Carnival in Fyzabad.
"There is no truth to this. Police officers will be present to provide the necessary security," she said.
When contacted, MP for Fyzabad Dr Lackram Bodoe said there was no ban on Carnival.
"No complaint came to me and there is no ban as far as I am aware. The police met with all stakeholders seeking to gather information regarding Carnival so they could provide proper security measures."
He confirmed that there were no festivities on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, although the Fyzabad Development and Cultural Committee held a queen show last Thursday at Thicke Village.
Head of the Committee, Patsy Ransom, said the Committee usually organises Carnival revelry in Fyzabad. However, she said this year they could not host any festivities apart from the Queen Show as the Committee was transferred under the umbrella of the Southwestern Regional Committee by the NCC. This umbrella body is comprised of Committees from Fyzabad, La Brea, Santa Flora, Point Fortin and Cedros.
"In Fyzabad, we concentrated on the queen show and this was a disadvantage to Carnival in Fyzabad, but we could not provide funding, but people could have still come out with their costumes," she said.
Asked whether the Committee received funding from the NCC and what was done with the funding, Ransome said:
"I have not received any funding for Carnival as yet, although I did get a call from the Regional Coordinator that they had a cheque for me."
Ransome said Fyzabad and La Brea suffered because of this move by the NCC.
"2024 will be different because we are going to get out of the Southwestern Committee next year because it did not work this year. Different regions like Fyzabad and La Brea had no Carnival on Monday and Tuesday," she said.
Meanwhile, despite the desolation in Fyzabad, other regions in the South celebrated Carnival. In Moruga hundreds of people paraded through the streets between Basse Terre and Gran Chemin. In Cedros, thousands of people participated in J’Ouvert, traditional mas and Kiddies Carnival. The same occurred in Mayaro.