PROUD TO BE A TT
By CAROL MATROO Sunday, September 2 2012
click on pic to zoom in
An endless line of people wait to get into the Queen's Park Oval before the start of the 50th anniversary concert. ...
They were made to wait in long lines that snaked their way from Elizabeth Street straight across to Havelock Street.
Yet the thousands of persons who lined up outside the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, on Friday to get a chance to attend the country’s second major 50th independence anniversary celebration gala concert, did it with much humour and wide smiles on their faces.
They had been waiting for hours and while they were not yet sure if they would get inside the venue, they did not intend to let anything sour their moment.
After all, they were being treated to a free live concert with several local artistes, a Brian MacFarlane presentation and the culmination of the night – fireworks, all sponsored by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Government.
The red, white and black is synonymous with this country’s national flag and colours, and it was very evident on Friday as miniature flags, large ones, buntings decorated both the venue and were held by spectators. The true patriots also painted their faces in our national colours. Their hair did not escape either ... from the brightest reddish-orange to almost fuschia colours.
There were fetes and parties in every place imaginable in the build up to Friday’s event, as citizens celebrated this country’s independence from Britain, when the red, white and black replaced the red, white and blue of the Union Jack in 1962. The TT flag, which has been flying high since the Olympic Games in London, was flying in the breeze as they were stuck on cars, vans, bicycles, even in people’s hair and used as bandanas.
On Friday evening, this country’s signature colour – red – dominated the stands, and who did not have red had customised jerseys with Trinidad and Tobago emblazoned on them.
As the Oval gates were opened, a deluge of bodies poured in and the stands turned a bright red.
The country’s national anthem was sung vociferously, and then there was thunderous applause as spectators settled in for the show. In between, miniature national flags were sold by the dozens, the nuts man did a brisk trade, the children fought over whose turn it was to lick the ice-cream cone.
When the Journey to Jubilee got going, it featured portrayals of who we are and where we came from masman/designer Brian MacFarlane. Known for his dramatic entrances, MacFarlane lived up to his billing. A performer in yards of red, white and black cloth, underneath which several other performers hid, took centre stage.
Then this year’s Panorama champs, Silver Stars, took up the pace.
The various segments they played walked the audience through the TT journey, the days of the Amerindians, the Spanish, Africans, East Indians, Chinese, Syrian, Caucasian ... the people who we are.
Each era was enacted to show the suffering the TT people endured – the Amerindians, the Africans in manacles, the East Indians being beaten as they toiled in the blazing sun. There was the destruction of the soil and water, but then there was black gold – oil.
As usual, there was a story that needed to be told, and not many could do it as well as MacFarlane did on the evening.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who was shuttled into the Oval in a golf buggy after MacFarlane’s presentation, took to the stage and wished the crowd a happy 50th anniversary. Many expectantly then looked toward the stage again, expecting the PM to say more, but she had already left the building.
But there was much to make up for their disappointment.
The skies lit up as hundreds of fire works in myriads of colours bloomed into the night, much to the delight of the crowd. It was a kaleidoscope on a dark night. Other acts included soca stars Fay Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin, JMC Triveni and De Fosto.