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Independence Parade returns to the Savannah

By JOAN RAMPERSAD Friday, August 27 2010

THE ANNUAL Independence Day Parade returns to the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday, after three years of being staged in the streets around that venue because of the demolition of the Grand Stand.

As the nation celebrates 48 years of Independence, the military parade, one of the highlights of the day, will begin at 7.30 am, with President George Maxwell Richards scheduled to take the salute at 8 am.

The parade will include all arms of the TT Defence Force, including the Air and Coast Guards, Regiment and Defence Force Reserves, as well as the Police, Fire and Prisons Services. The St. John’s Ambulance Brigade and the TT Red Cross will also take part. Music will be supplied by the Regiment, Prisons and Police Bands.

After the traditional march, drive and fly pasts, displaying various aspects of the country’s military and para-military operations, the parade will leave the Savannah, then head along Frederick Street to Park Street. The parade will then move along Park Street, to Tragarate Road, then on to the Roxy Roundabout ending at the St James Barracks.

In 2007, the parade was relocated from in front of the Grand Stand, on the southern end of the Savannah, due to the planned and still pending construction of the National Carnival and Entertainment Centre. That year, the parade took place on the northern end of the Savannah, opposite the band stand at President’s House. The following year, following complaints from several onlookers about the poor view they had of the parade on the northern end of the Savannah, there was a military street parade.

Last year, the parade was held north of Memorial Park and was shortened to the point that the President did not inspect the parade as had been customary. Instead, President Richards took a salute in front of the NCC Stands.

Also absent from last year’s parade were contingents from the Police K-9 and Mounted Branch. Large trees around the parade route made it difficult for spectators see aircraft during the fly past. That parade lasted approximately 30 minutes, instead of one hour as is traditional.

This year, the Government is spending more than $3 million on Independence Day celebrations. For the first time, there will be celebrations in all of the 14 regional corporations throughout Trinidad in addition to the usual activities in Port-of-Spain and in Scarborough, Tobago. There are plans for fireworks and cultural presentations.

These activities will begin from tomorrow, with cultural events planned by the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo and San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporations. On Sunday, Independence activities will be hosted by the Mayaro and Penal/Debe Regional Corporations and on Monday there will be festivities at the Tunapuna/Piarco, Siparia and Princes Town Regional Corporations.

On Independence Day, August 31, celebrations will take place in Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Arima and Point Fortin.

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