COMMESS IN KIDDIE MAS
By MIRANDA LA ROSE Friday, February 28 2014
COMMESS is brewing in kiddies Carnival.
From all indications, there will be two parade routes tomorrow for the Junior Parade of Bands and the Downtown Kiddies Carnival, both of which traditionally started on South Quay and ended at Queen’s Park Savannah every Carnival Saturday.
The National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) which sponsors the Junior Parade of the Bands has changed its route to start from Adam Smith Square through Woodbrook to the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS), a route which residents of Woodbrook oppose vehemently.
Meanwhile, the Port-of- Spain City Corporation which sponsors Downtown Kiddies Carnival has maintained the use of the traditional South Quay through Frederick Street route to the QPS.
All the band leaders with whom Newsday spoke yesterday were against the use of the NCBA route. With the exception of one, the others could not confirm which route they will take. The majority have signed up for both competitions.
At yesterday’s statutory meeting of the City Council at City Hall, Mayor Raymond Tim Kee said the City Corporation was given permission to continue using the downtown route which has been used for the past 35 years. However, instead of deviating into Charlotte Street to by-pass the Port-of-Spain State Prison on Frederick Street, he said bands will continue past the jail as all security measures are in place.
As of Wednesday night, he said 75 percent of the bands that take part in the Junior Parade of the Bands had signed on to take part in the City Corporation’s competition and yesterday morning more were signing on.
Responding to Tim Kee’s announcement, NCBA President David Lopez told Newsday the association has nothing to do with the downtown activity. “I am not aware there is any change in the route of the Junior Parade of Bands,” Lopez said. The new route, he said, has been approved and will start at Adam Smith from 7 am and will use, among other streets, Colville Street north into Cipriani Boulevard and east into Frederick Street to enter the QPS.
The NCBA Republic Bank-sponsored parade, he said, has rules and regulations. Public Transportation Services Corporation buses, Lopez said, will be provided to take bands to Adam Smith Square.
At the City Council meeting, Tim Kee said he saw no reason for the change in the route of the Junior Parade of Bands as band leaders have explained that children will be forced to face the winds with their costumes if the new route goes ahead. In addition, he said he understands the plight of the residents of Woodbrook, particularly the very old who would have to put up with an additional day of noise in their neighbourhood.
Asked why there was a change in the route, Tim Kee said he had “no clue” but thinks it was “personal” and a matter of, “feeding someone’s ego.”
He claimed hearing of a situation involving NCBA personnel and the City Corporation on the use of space by judges and there was a threat issued by the NCBA, “to take Carnival from downtown.”
Tim Kee said he fully supports Woodbrook residents who have voiced concern about the new parade route. Asked if he thinks the NCBA will penalise bands that take part in the PoS City Corporation Downtown Carnival, Tim Kee said, “If that agency does that and Government does not get involved, I will say, ‘listen! that money is not yours. That money belongs to the country. You are to facilitate mas, our culture, our Carnival, but you are not owners of those funds’.” He said that the monetary prizes on offer in the downtown Carnival will match those being offered by the NCBA.
On the stance taken by the mayor and the City Council, Lopez told Newsday, “I cannot again speak for the mayor and what his council will do.”