By Nelson A. King
BROOKLYN, New York, May 19, 2020 (CMC) – The Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) says it plans to proceed with its year-round community programs and the New York Caribbean Carnival Week, “with several new offerings”, even as it remained concerned at the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on countries, worldwide.
New York has been among the American States hardest hit by the virus that has killed almost 90,000 people and infected nearly two million in the North American country.
WIADCA’s President, Dr. Jean Joseph, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the Board of Directors will meet, soon, to make a definite decision on the holding of what is considered to be, the largest carnival parade in North America.
“We’re hoping to meet, very soon, to make a decision, and I’ll let you know,” said the Dominica-born Joseph, about the spectacular carnival parade that takes place, along the 3½ mile-long route on the sprawling Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, on the first Monday in September, coinciding with Labour Day activities in the United States.
WIADCA said over three million people, from around the world, converge on Eastern Parkway on Labour Day for the carnival parade that brings millions of dollars to New York City tax coffers.
In a statement to community members and supporters, WIADCA said that “the rise of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has us facing unprecedented and daunting challenges daily”.
“This pandemic has us all filled with anxiety, as we digest information from the latest press conferences, regarding the necessary precautions to which we must adhere, in order to protect ourselves and loved ones,” it noted.
“As COVID-19 continues to spread, globally, more and more countries have stepped up their efforts to contain its spread, and numerous events have either been postponed or cancelled indefinitely.
“However, based on the increasing public health interventions and measures being implemented, domestically and internationally, along with a considerable amount of time to assess and respond to developments, between now and September, we, at the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, are planning to proceed with our year-round community programs and New York Caribbean Carnival Week, with several new offerings,” the statement added.
“With health as our foremost consideration and as a precautionary and proactive measure, we are keeping up to date with both the Mayor’s and Governor’s offices, the Department of Health (DOH) and established Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended guidelines, to limit exposure and the spread of the virus in our local communities.”
WIADCA said it is currently working with a few of its community partners to provide resource and information.
“To that end, if you have a moment, we would love to hear from you on how you are managing, and/or, if you need any support for you or your loved ones at this time. We will continue to keep you, our dedicated supporters, abreast of any new developments that may impact our events.
“This includes adjusting to any contingency plans required, to seamlessly implement our usual celebratory programming, one way or another,” it concluded.
With all the West Indians who have died and the many West Indian families who are mourning, I think it would be insensitive to go along with the carnival parade in New York. All festivals where I live have been cancelled and all carnivals in the Caribbean as well. I cannot believe that New York cannot follow suit, especially as many of our Caribbean families are still mourning their loved ones due to COVID-19.
We will not die if we skip a year of Brooklyn Carnival, but we just may die if we stage it.
We’re all in this together. Let’s support our nurses, doctors and front line workers by being responsible, social distancing and staying safe. This pandemic will be still around until a vaccine is found.