By: Lee-Ann Morgan
The increasing cases of COVID-19 and economic and health-related issues have led the Haitian government to cancel its Carnival this year. The decision comes just days after ‘Kanaval’ as the Haitians call it, should begin.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the citizens of Haiti, where the virus has claimed 804 lives and infected more than 29,000 others. These factors have put a strain on the country’s resources. Therefore, the government has decided to protect the overall security of its citizens instead of proceeding with the annual celebrations.
Kanaval is the French-speaking country’s most significant cultural event held over several weeks, leading up to Mardi Gras. In a statement, the Ministry of Culture said, “Carnival has always been a traditional and popular festival celebrated in all the large and medium-sized cities of the country. The Government, because of the economic difficulties faced by the country, has decided this year not to organize a National Carnival, but to support certain town halls that wish to offer their community carnival festivities by evaluating the health and security risks.”
Several islands still plan to host their carnival celebrations in the wider Caribbean, as these events play an essential part in the tourism industry. Some islands will implement a hybrid approach, like Monsterrat with St. Patrick’s Festival. Other islands like St. Kitts and St. Vincent have their events slated for later in the calendar and will make details surrounding the execution available as the dates draw near. Jamaica’s Sumfest and Dream Weekend should happen this year, though it is unclear to what extent there will be physical attendance by patrons.
The government of Haiti joins others across the Caribbean to have a fully vaccinated population. With reminders to get vaccinated as a protective measure for the nation, the government hopes to see an increase in vaccination numbers soon.
According to figures released, 130,440 Haitians, approximately 1.12 percent of the population, have received the first dose of the “Spikevax” vaccine from the Moderna Laboratory since July 16, 2021. As of January 30 this year, 93,809 Haitians are fully vaccinated.
By: Lee-Ann Morgan