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The merry monarch reigns

By MIRANDA LA ROSE Monday, March 3 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Two young girls of the band House of Jacqui 'Festivals of the World' were seen on stage yesterday at Skinner Park, San Fernando Kiddies Carnival celeb...
Two young girls of the band House of Jacqui 'Festivals of the World' were seen on stage yesterday at Skinner Park, San Fernando Kiddies Carnival celeb...

THE Merry Monarch has landed and all is set for the kaleidoscope of colour and creativity, and the riot of music and revelry in the “Greatest Show on Earth,” but for the first time in its history there will be two parades of bands making their way via different routes through the streets of Port-of-Spain.

One of the routes will lead to the privately-organised Socadrome innovation at Jean Pierre Complex and will aid in easing traffic congestion according to the organisers, but Woodbrook residents are saying otherwise. They have nevertheless given their approval after much opposition and not being consulted initially.

Six big bands, Tribe, Bliss, Harts, YUMA (Young Upwardly Mobile Adults), Passion, and Rosalind Gabriel Adult, have opted to cross the stage at the Socadrome.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) David Lopez yesterday told Newsday that hopefully with an incident free J’ouvert out of the way this morning, the stage has already been set for a successful two days of fun, revelry and friendly competitions for the Road March title and bragging rights as bands of the year.

Building on the successes of last week’s Junior King and Queen’s Costume competitions, junior traditional ole mas, the Junior Parade of the Bands through Woodbrook to the Queen’s Park Savannah on Saturday and yesterday’s Nostalgia Parade through uptown Port-of-Spain, Lopez said “all is set for a grand culmination” of this year’s Carnival.

“About 68 or 69 bands have registered for the Parade of the Bands,” he said, “but on the actual day two or three may not show up.”

The route of the NCBA’s Parade of the Bands, he said, remains the same with four judging points. The judging points are the Queen’s Park Savannah, Adam Smith Square, South Quay and the Piccadilly Greens. Judging will take place today and tomorrow.

The judging starts at the Queen’s Park Savannah at 11am when the first band is expected to cross the stage and stops at 9pm when the last band should have crossed the stage.

He has assured that security will be at the maximum so that masqueraders, spectators — both local and foreign, vendors, and the technical people on the road can enjoy themselves, and those who have duties can carry them in relative safety.

Spokesperson for the Socadrome, Danielle Jones-Hunte yesterday told Newsday “all systems are go.”

On Carnival Tuesday (tomorrow), the gates of the Socadrome will open at 7am and tickets for adults are $25 each while children accompanied by adults will be free. The first band to cross the 14,000-sq ft Socadrome stage is expected by 8.30 am with the last due to cross before 4 pm.

“We have a number of celebrities who will be a part of the Socadrome crew,” she said. She did not say who they are and which bands they will be taking part in. In town are a number of celebrities from Hollywood and Jamaican world famous track Olympian, Usain Bolt.

As usual, Miss Universe 1998, Wendy Fitzwilliam will be among the Harts contingents and the contestants of past Miss Trinidad and Tobago will join in with Tribe.

Some of the hiccups, including the opposition by residents of Woodbrook to use certain streets, Jones-Hunte said, have been sorted out.

Two of the organisers, co-founder of Tribe Dean Atkin and a director of YUMA Eddie Seow, met with the councillor for Woodbrook and representatives of the group, Residents of Woodbrook among representatives of other stakeholders including the NCBA, National Carnival Commission and the Ministry of National Security on Friday and together they arrived at some compromises. President of the Residents of Woodbrook, Lynette Dolly, told Newsday yesterday that Friday’s meeting was the first that was held between the stakeholders.

The organisers of the Socadrome, she said agreed to lower the decibel levels of their music on entering Woodbrook onto Taylor Street and while leaving via Taylor Street.

Bands to the Socadrome will proceed west along Queen’s Park Savannah from Victoria Avenue, and continue west along St Clair Avenue to Roxy Roundabout, south on Damian Street, south along Taylor Street, and into Ariapita Avenue where they will be able to “pump up” their music as they make their way to Maraval Parkway to the Hasely Crawford Stadium through the “Castro Gate” going anti-clockwise around the stadium to the Socadrome in the Jean Pierre Complex.

Because of the fear that low-lying wires could be disconnected to the inconvenience of residents, Dolly said they have also agreed that trucks will be equipped with PVC pipes to ensure wires are not disconnected.

The nearby MovieTowne, Jones-Hunte said is also offering secure parking for the sum of $40.

The Socadrome route is not about competition, she said, “it is about solving the congestion and presenting an option to the traffic congestion, but Dolly said, “it will block the Damian Street emergency exit from the Queen’s Park Savannah, Maraval, and St Ann’s.”

Alternative routes, Dolly said will be lengthy and would be subjected to heavy traffic.

In spite of the NCBA touting the success of the Junior Parade of Bands on Saturday, she said it was a traffic nightmare for people in the west, and the noise was a health hazard for the elderly, because the decibel levels of bands were not lowered.

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