See you in April 2021: No Carnival in Jamaica for 2020

The writing has been on the wall for months, but it is now confirmed that there will be no Carnival in Jamaica this year.

A road march parade in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: visitjamaica.com)

Instead, eager revellers will have to wait until April 11, 2021 to get their full dose of soca.

Carnival road march was originally scheduled to be held in April 2020 but was postponed until October 25, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Community transmission

Jamaica has recorded more than 4,000 coronavirus cases since March. In addition, when the numbers started increasing in recent times, the Government outlawed parties and large gatherings.

“As the country enters the community transmission phase of the COVID-19 virus, we strongly believe it is in the best interest of our people, to forego hosting our annual carnival celebrations for this year,” said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett

“We are mindful of the significant economic loss this will have on our country, as this event generates billions annually, with many small and medium-sized enterprises benefitting from the celebrations. However, the Government of Jamaica must continue to put strong measures in place to prevent unnecessary exposure of our people and visitors to the deadly disease.”

Chairman of the Carnival in Jamaica stakeholders committee, Kamal Bankay, added that rescheduling will lead to a safer carnival experience.

“Based on all of the professional healthcare advice, taking into account that carnival is not only a local but also an international tourism entertainment product, we have no choice but to reschedule the staging of our Carnival in Jamaica Road Parade from October 25th 2020 to April 11th 2021.  This will allow us the time to do what we need to do to have a safe and enjoyable Carnival in 2021,” he said.

Kamal Bankay

No refund

It was also said that bands and fetes will honour all tickets and costumes purchased in 2020 for the 2021 staging.

But guess what? Still no refund.

The bands say the money paid by revellers has already been spent on the manufacturing of costumes.

“The revenue to cover production comes from costumes sales. When the GOJ announced our first postponement in March, costume production was far advanced already, despite many revellers still owing on costumes. This is still the case – the bands have continued to produce these costumes out of pocket (in a year with little or no band revenue), despite most revellers still owing on costumes,” the statement said.

However, the no refund policy is still a no-go for some patrons.

“Thank you for considering our health and safety and “postponing”. However, as we all know Covid has impacted us in many ways especially financially. And under these special circumstances refunds should have been considered. A general bra and panty size is not a custom made item. This would have been my first time jumping and bcz of this terrible customer I don’t think I’ll ever jump again,” one person said on Instagram.

“Give us our money back then. Stop holding our funds hostage,” another added.