By EWALT (WALTIE) AINSWORTH                    07 05 2011

CARIBANNA is essentially the Canadian version of CARIFESTA.  The Caribbean Festival of the Arts, showcasing the artesian skills, the culture,  the music, the wining, the grinding, the smoking, the sexting, the drinking and the eating of the halaal-beef wraps.  It is a perennial love fest between and among the host country, the deep seated Caribbean and the interlocking communities in multi-racial, multi-ethnic Toronto.

Caribbean people live each day counting down for the next Caribanna, planning, scheming, thinking what they will wear, how they look and how it-go-look off Young street or in the playpen now designated to maintain law and order.

Caribanna is the mecca for typee.  Big men, proud men, loud men,  sleep and come while others come and sleep so that they will not miss a event, eyeballing and trying to figure out who is who and whose they are.  Some men come to integrate, others to gyrate while another set, come packing.  Caribanna was never meant to be a proving ground or an arena for settling old scores.  It is about we and how-we-do what we do.  It is about the scholarship, turning the rejections and recessions into new vistas and avenues for change. Over the decades, scores of careers have been launched and cottage industries established.  The secret is about your net worth is influenced by your network.  

The lunie hovers around US 1.05 and the sorrel, bust-up-shirt, mauby, fish cake, oil-down festival, rice pilau and anti-desmond wine may cost a bit more.  Now is the time to innovate and create new and vintage recipes rather than drink and spit back the bottled beverages as a means to conserve.  The dollar can only do so much but you can do so much more if you want to.

Caribanna  is also about retaining and maintaining the contact list, generating new leads,  ideas and ideals.  Tantalise is a fixture and a corrective measure between and among the people.  Some men have matured, others have moved on while others have become trans-parent.  The democratic process allows citizens and denizens to choose or lose.

Globally, this annual festival trumps carnivals in Rio-de-Janerio, P_O_S, Bridgetown, Antigua, Labor Day in Brooklyn, Nottingham, Germany, Antigua, Miami, Boston and  Hot-lanta among others.  Caribbean nationals have four ways of tabulating their age…physically, chronologically, biologically and by the amount of Caribannas they attend.

They would mortgage their homes, pawn their jewellery, interrupt their investment portfolios, beg, steal or borrow just to spend the first weekend every August, in gay abandon.

One woman recently complained to her congressman in her ethnic enclave, that she needed a stimulus package on her return so that she can come back to work the day after the weekend in the Toronto sun.  And she was adamant…”back in the yard, we does have a day before fete and a day after fete; sometimes we does have second Sunday.” She finally declared that it was against her religion to work the day after Caribanna.

Caribanna is meant for scholarships…men sending their wives, spouses, spices and or baby mothers out to play, all day, all night,  all expenses paid.  These donor folks, don dark shades and are beaming over and under, looking like butcher-shop dogs, to see who  is investing in their portfolio.  Caribbean brainiacs also want to see and know, blow-by-blow commentary and get agitated when they hear  the echo.  They also like to know who is paying attention when they are not paying the bills as mandated by the law. The women on the other hand, two Banks in hand, looking good and smelling good, adore the attention and seeming affection (when in fact it is neither of those).’

Caribbean men must be complimented, for initiating scholarship funds and fun for their spouses, real and perceived.  This attitude, this behavior, may also be a hint to the Festival Committee to start a fund for the member nations rather than converting the takings to their own use and benefit.  “Hint to beneba make Quasheba Take notice” goes the African proverb.

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  • wacc080904  On 09/01/2011 at 8:44 am

    This is a very well put together piece of illustration of one of our cultural heritage. It is extremely good to see that one has taken time off to look into and beyond the thinkings actions and actitivies in this perspective. Well written!!!!!!

  • Ann  On 01/16/2012 at 5:26 pm

    Love the slant taken in describing Caribanna, well thought through. I am trusting that someday I may receive a scholarship to attend.

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