Return of Carnival after two-year hiatus turns out to be a mixed bag, as some declare it the worst and others good enough

The curtains came down on the Carnival 2022 celebrations yesterday, August 2, with mixed reactions to the staging of the festival after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some residents have declared it was the worst Carnival in the history of the festival, while others said it was good – in spite of the many challenges – since the people were able to go out, socialize and enjoy themselves for the first time in two years.

The one-week activity ended with Tuesday’s parade of the bands and the announcement of winners.

The 2022 Road March winner was Lyricks Man, whose song “How Ma Sound” reportedly was played some 48 times on Jou’vert morning and also won him, for the first time, the title of Party Monarch in the Jumpy Category of that competition.

Claudette Peters’ “Stressless,” which was said to have been played 39 times, and Tian Winters’ “Baddest,” reportedly heard 30 times by the judges, were first and second runners-up, respectively, in the Road March contest.

Still with results from J’ouvert Morning: The First Jam Band on the Road and the Sweetest-Sounding was the Revo Band, while the First Jou’vert Mas’ Troupe on the scene was Mud Mas.’

Icons emerged winner of the T-shirt Mas’, with Red Hot Nation (RHN) taking the first runner-up spot and Xclusive Mas’ the second place.

The Opening Parade Cheerleading Competition winner is Xplosion Cheerleaders, with AS Cheerleaders and BK Cheerleaders in the first and second runner-up spots, respectively.

The official opening of Carnival took place, controversially, last Wednesday, July 27, several days after a number of activities had already been staged.

A number of government departments participated, and the Ministry of Tourism was awarded the Best Float. First runner-up was the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board, with State Insurance taking the second spot.

Trevor “King Zacari” King emerged winner of the Social/Political Commentary segment of the revised Calypso Monarch competition.

Ge’Eve, a newcomer to the adult competition, but no stranger to the stage, took the first runner-up position and Peetron, a first-timer to the Finals, was adjudged second runner-up in that category.  

In the Bacchanal segment, Tian Winter emerged monarch, with Sammie C in the first runner-up spot and Queen Thalia taking the second.

In the Soca Monarch competition, the Groovy category was won by Claudette “CP” Peters, with Tian Winter and Menace XL first and second runners-up, respectively.

The runners-up in the Jumpy category were Menace XL and Tian Winter in the first and second positions.

As the saying goes, “There is no Carnival without bachannal,” and so the usual controversies erupted around the competitions, with some saying that politics had infiltrated the judging.

Earlier contentions centred on the ever-changing parade route; the absence of critical shows, including the Panorama, Teen Splash, and Children’s Carnival; and the controversial selection of a Labour Queen contestant to represent the country in the Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show.

There were at least two reports of stabbings during the Jou’vert Morning street jump-up, as well as a number of fights captured on video and shared via social media.