PACE FOR SO
Saturday, February 15 2014
It will be pace for so in the country today, as Pan, Cricket and Chutney Soca lovers swarm the nation’s two cities, Port-of-Spain and San Fernando for a celebration of Carnival and sport.
Thousands are expected to throng Port-of-Spain for the first leg of the Panorama semi-finals when 32 single pan and 21 small bands compete at Queen’s Park Savannah in the capital city for places in the grand finals two weeks away on Carnival Saturday.
Debate still rages over Pan Trinbago’s “Pan Splash”, a $700 a ticket pool party in the designated fete zone on the Greens which the organisation contends is meant to attract youths, even while steelbandsmen, who see the bacchanalia as disrespect to the artform, play sweet melodies before judges and hardcore pan lovers in the North and Grand Stands of the Savannah.
The first note will be struck at 12 noon when Nu Pioneers Pan Groove is due to hit the stage performing “Sweet and Sexy”.
Tomorrow, the medium and large bands will be in the spotlight for their semi-final round when even larger crowds are expected.
In the midst of today’s pan revelry, cricket lovers vow to paint the city red in support of the Trinidad and Tobago (TT) cricket team, Red Force, who go up against Barbados in the Nagico Super50 final at Queen’s Park Oval, just around the corner from the Savannah.
The match-up begins at 2 pm and with the Oval almost sold-out, the action promises to be hot in Port-of-Spain. TT Cricket Board president Azim Bassarath yesterday said today’s final reflects the renewed strength of the Red Force in regional 50-overs cricket and urged all citizens to wear red in support of the team.
“The Red Force has been the dominant cricket team in the T20 format, but today’s final is a chance for us to start a new streak of domination in the 50 overs with a victory in the Nagico Super50 final,” he said in a statement. “We are asking all of TT to wear red in support whether at the game, home or in the office.”
Up to midday yesterday, close to 6,000 tickets, out of 12,000, were sold for the highly-anticipated contest, and ticket sales have risen since Red Force secured a place in the final, courtesy of a seven-wicket win over Jamaica on Wednesday.
Suruj Ragoonath, CEO of the TT Cricket Board, said the organisers were pleased with the rise in sales. The first 200 lucky patrons to enter the ground today will get a complimentary Nagico Super50 tournament magazine.
“Tickets sales picked up significantly since TT Red Force beat Jamaica to reach the final and we expect a very large crowd to turn out for the last match of what has been a great tournament so far,” said Ragoonath. Ragoonath added: “We strongly encourage the fans around the country to collect their tickets as early as they can – before they are all sold out. There is no guarantee that tickets will still be available at the gate.”
Tickets cost $50 and are available at the box office at the Oval.
The Nagico Super50 started on January 30 and featured 15 matches at the Oval and Shaw Park in Tobago. The champions will take home the Clive Lloyd Trophy – named in honour of the legendary captain of the 1975 and 1979 World Cup winning teams. (See page 38A)
With a turnout of thousands of cricket and pan supporters expected in Port-of-Spain, the Police Service has assured adequate manpower will be at the Oval and Savannah.
Senior Superintendent Harry Baldeo of the Police Traffic Branch yesterday disclosed parking and traffic restrictions for the venues.
Persons attending cricket will not be permitted to park on Elizabeth Street, St Clair, however Tragarete Road and St Clair Avenue will remain open to normal traffic and officers will be out to give directives to cricket patrons as to where they could park.
Baldeo told Newsday there will be a zero tolerance of persons who drink and drive and added that officers will be carrying out breathalyser tests around venues where the major events are taking place. He also advised the Port-of-Spain City Corporation wreckers will be out therefore proper and legal parking is advised. Snr Supt Michael Roban of the Port-of-Spain Division also assured officers will be deployed at the cricket venue and the Savannah.
He called on members of the public to allow the cricket finals and pan semis to take place peacefully.