Buju Banton performs at the 2019 WCMF
Buju Banton performs at the 2019 WCMF

There isn't a year since the first staging of the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) which Michael Langlais has missed. In fact, the 47-year-old caterer says that his outfits for the three nights of pulsating rhythm have already been purchased, for the slim chance there will be any festival held this year.

Like the many other festival-goers in Dominica, his life in 2020 and 2021 has seen a dramatic twist with COVID-19 as the diabolical nemesis.

"I am starving for the opportunity to get my feet wet again in a jam," he said to the Sun.

The fete-lover also disclosed that this was the main reason behind his decision to get vaccinated a few months back.

"I did not take this [the vaccine] because I thought it was going to save me from COVID- no I don't believe in that stuff. I only took it because I didn't want for them to say only vaccinated people can enter a jam or fete and I wasn't, so I made sure I took it very early on so that I doh miss the opportunity," Langlais declared.

A statement made by prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit a few weeks back during his weekly programme indicating that the cabinet has set aside $400,000 for the staging of WCMF which would feature only local artistes was welcomed by Langlais, but worrisome to Diane St John, a small boutique owner.

"During the independence season, I would typically make my largest profit because remember people are shopping for WCMF, Creole in the Park, street jump up, and all the other little events which occur during this time," she told the Sun. "But despite the loss, I suffered last year and will once again suffer this year I don't believe that we should even entertain such an idea at this time, not even if our cases go back down to zero. It's too risky."

But not all are expressing the same views. Others like Jane Smith* are calling on the government to take a similar approach to what was done in the US Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Antigua a few months back and only allow the vax to fete.

"We [the vaccinated] should not continue to suffer and not get to do the thing we want to do because others in society are too stubborn to get vaccinated. The government should leave them out and let the vaccinated enjoy themselves," she recommended.

But as the Delta variant continues to surge here on the island, any small window of opportunity to get fete lovers shoulder-to-shoulder this year may very well be out of the window.

"I understand the economic implications of the suspension of sewo in Dominica but the party can't go on right now," Skerrit stated recently. "I know how much we love our fete in this country and I want us to get back to a place where that can happen…I want this for you; I want this for us."

According to him, Carnival and Independence are some of the best times on the island, but right now the health of its citizens must be the government's priority.