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Bandleaders vex over Junior parade

By Leiselle Maraj Saturday, January 25 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Shevon Rodney ...
Shevon Rodney ...

Junior bandleaders belonging to the local Carnival Bandleaders Association (TTCBA) stood up to be counted in a vote against a proposed route for the 2014 Junior Parade of the Bands.

At a TTCBA meeting held Thursday evening at St Mary’s College, Port-of-Spain, Junior bandleader and TTCBA executive, Rosalind Gabriel, outlined the new route proposed by the National Carnival Commission (NCC). That she said would see the Carnival Saturday Junior Parade of the Bands starting at Adams Smith Square, Ariapita Avenue, and not from the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain.

The parade route allows bands to head east on the Avenue to Colville Street, then they would make a left turn, and proceed to Cipriani Boulevard; then make their way to the Queen’s Park Savannah judging point.

Gabriel said the route would not benefit the thousands of young masqueraders coming into the capital city via City Gate, who would now have to be transported from that terminal to Adam Smith Square. She added traffic congestion that normally occurs in the Woodbrook area on Carnival Saturday would also hamper bands’ ability to make it to the start of the parade route, in a timely manner.

Forty TTCBA junior bandleaders, she said, met to discuss the issue, and they objected to the new route as it would cut out the Downtown Port-of-Spain judging point, operated by the Port-of- Spain City Coporation.

Gabriel said the bandleaders also met with Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim-Kee who was unhappy about his judging point being left out. “We are not accepting this route. It cuts out a major route,” she said.

Calls to the Mayor’s office and his mobile phone went unanswered yesterday. When contacted, Deputy Mayor, Kerron Valentine said the Downtown Carnival Committee is not pleased with the proposed route. “We have over 100 years of history in Carnival, and the Junior Parade of the Bands is one of the major events on our Carnival calendar.

The route starting on Ariapita Avenue and heading to the Savannah is disappointing, and we are not supporting it at all,” he said.

Valentine added Tim-Kee has met with the NCC to discuss the route, and both sides maintain their respective stance on the new route.

Senior bandleaders of the TTCBA were also up in arms at the meeting on Thursday night about an alternate route to the Queen’s Park Savannah judging point for the Carnival Monday and Tuesday Parade of the Bands, also proposed by the NCC. National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF) executive members, who were also at the meeting said their association also refused the proposed route. TTCBA Chairman Gerard Weekes said the Association would be informing the NCC and the National Carnival Bands Association that they have until January 31 to change the route. He added if no response is given by this date, the TTCBA would meet to further discuss their plan of action.

NCC Chairman, Allison Demas, yesterday responded to the bandleaders refusal of the new route.

In a telephone interview she said from next week, NCC will be conducting one on one consultations with bandleaders to discuss their concerns with the route. “I reiterate, we would welcome proposals from any bandleader which would guarantee more than 25 percent reduction in congestion along the parade route,” she said, explaining that the engineers responsible for the new route have assured a 25 percent reduction be using that alternative.

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