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Ease up for socadrome bands

By JULIEN NEAVES Saturday, March 1 2014

UP TO yesterday afternoon changes were still being announced in the route for the new Socadrome initiative with the National Carnival Commission (NCC) saying the bands have been granted a “concession” by police and will now be allowed to rejoin the regular parade route up to Cipriani Boulevard.

A NCC release yesterday stated that the Police Service provided a new extended route for the Socadrome bands for Carnival Tuesday from 8 am to 4 pm. The new route is as follows:



‘Bands will proceed west along Queen’s Park West from Victoria Avenue, continue west along St Clair Avenue to Roxy Roundabout, south on Damian Street, south along Taylor Street, west on Ariapita Avenue onto Maraval Parkway, entering the Hasely Crawford Stadium through the ‘Castro Gate’ going anti-clockwise around the Stadium into the Jean Pierre Complex. Having exited the stage bands will go onto Fitzblackman Drive, north along Hamilton Holder Street, then east onto Ariapita Avenue, down to Green Corner, westward along Tragarete Road, then up Cipriani Boulevard and onward to their various mas camps.’



An hour long meeting was held yesterday afternoon at the Ministry of National Security and was attended by Carnival security gold commander Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Earl Gonzales, alternate gold commander ACP Stephen Ramsubhag, representatives from the bands and a NCC representative.

In an earlier NCC bulletin, reporting on a meeting of NCC officials, bandleaders and security stakeholders on February 27, Gonzales is quoted as saying those bands who will not be following the traditional route will not be allowed to rejoin the parade once they leave the Socadrome, but may proceed west at Ariapita Avenue instead. He also reported that each band will be assigned REACT officers who will be able to monitor their movements.

National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) chairman Sam Lewis reported that 16 large bands are set to cross the Savannah stage and noted that the NCBA has no part in managing the new, extended route for the Socadrome.

The new Socadrome initiative will see about 15 to 20,000 masqueraders from five large bands, namely Tribe, Yuma, Bliss, Harts and Passion Carnival mounting their own stage at the Jean Pierre Complex. Bandleader Rosalind Gabriel said her adult band was planning to go to the Socadrome as it was close to their mas camp where they end their parade. She noted this was providing that they make the other venues.

At a police media briefing on Thursday Gonzales urged bands to stick to the route and noted it may affect whether they are given permission for a Socadrome for 2015. Questioned whether Harts would stick to the Socadrome route Harts bandleader Luis Hart responded, “we will stay out of everybody’s way”.

On a threat of legal action by Woodbrook residents, Hart said, “that’s their right. Let them go right ahead. I don’t have a problem with that. Whether or not they will get through...time will tell,” he added. He noted that Ariapita Avenue is usually a “mess” so it does not make sense to him that they are protesting it. “The Courts will decide,” he said.

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