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Leave kiddies Mas downtown

By Miranda La Rose Thursday, February 20 2014

Residents of Woodbrook are opposing the start of the Children’s Carnival on March 1 from Adam Smith Square through Woodbrook to the Queen’s Park Savannah declaring it would be unfair to children travelling from out of Port-of-Spain locations.

To this end they are petitioning Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas, Mayor of Port-of-Spain Raymond Tim Kee, National Carnival Commission chairman Allison Demas and Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to revert to the use of the downtown Port-of-Spain venue at Woodford Square, along Frederick Street, to the Savannah.

Contacted on the issue, Demas directed Newsday to president of the National Carnival Bands Association David Lopez. Lopez said he preferred not to comment on the matter at this time. At the meeting, Tim Kee made no comment except to say concerns were being noted. The petition was read by president of the Residents of Woodbrook Lynette Dolly at a meeting held on Tuesday evening at St Crispin’s Anglican School, Woodbrook. According to Dolly, residents think it is unfair to take the Children’s Carnival out of downtown and place it further west of the city as the majority of the participants come from east, central and south Trinidad.

Noting people travel from as far as Mayaro via the City Gate transit hub, she said for them to go to Woodbrook they would have to pay extra.

“Culturally this is a no, no,” she said adding that in a subtle way the move is to take the Children’s Carnival away from the masses.

She questioned where buses and other vehicles will park when they travel to Woodbrook to drop off the children noting there were no car parks around the area so they will have to park on the sidewalks.

“The streets will be blocked and a traffic nightmare will be created,” she said as blocking off Colville Street means traffic will have to proceed along Wrightson Road to Hamilton-Holder Street to get anywhere north of Tragerete Road. Colville Street, she said, is a known artery for traffic to proceed north of Woodbrook.

The change in the route of the event, she said was proposed with no study being done.

Expressing concern about vending on Ariapita Avenue, Dolly said, “We think there should be no vending on Ariapita Avenue between Ana Street and Colville Street for Carnival. It is too dangerous.” Noting it is the route that bands take, she said when the bands come down with ropes around them there is no room for pedestrians to pass. “I have seen people injured because the vendors take up the pavement,” she said. Another concern, she said, was the overuse of fireworks during Carnival. On Carnival Friday during the finals of the International Soca Monarch (ISM) competition, she said the fireworks are bigger than those that are released at Independence celebrations. “Everything in your house shakes,” she said. The ISM will be held at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

The commercialisation of Woodbrook, Carnival, the fetes and the loud music, she said, “affect us greatly.”

The music trucks that accompany J’ouvert bands on Carnival Monday, she said, start to assemble and play music from about mid-day the day before. They do not move until 4 am the next day.

As bands would park up for about two hours at a time, she said they relieve themselves in the area and the stench becomes unbearable.

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