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2 bandleaders demand score sheets

Saturday, March 8 2014

BANDLEADERS Rosalind Gabriel and Ronnie McIntosh have issued letters via their lawyers to the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) demanding their score sheets and querying their reported disqualifications. Gabriel is also calling for the Government’s intervention to stop the “runaway” organisation.

“The Government has given the authority to the NCBA to be the body in charge of mas. They are supposed to be the custodian for mas and for the culture. But the NCBA is a runaway renegade organisation with a dictator (president David Lopez) in charge of it,” Gabriel told Newsday.

“So the Government and the NCC (National Carnival Commission) are supposed to step in and do something about it,” she said.

She reported that yesterday her lawyer Michael Quamina issued a letter to the NCBA requesting that her band’s score sheet for Carnival 2014 be provided “promptly”. She noted that her large band is usually among the winners in all the categories but this year we do not see any evidence that they were in winner’s row in any category.

McIntosh, together with Ronnie and Caro the mas band’s co-bandleader and wife Caroline, issued a similar letter to NCBA at 10 am yesterday requesting their score sheet by 3 pm. Up to news time it was not clear whether the NCBA had responded.

The band won the Downtown Large Band of the Year title but failed to place in the top six for the overall band of the year, which was won by Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars. He congratulated All Stars and all the winners from the various categories but noted “we want to get some answers from NCBA”.

He reported that he spoke with Lopez and was told a GPS report of their band showed they went off route on Monday. He pointed out, however, that the rules signed with the NCBA did not include anything about going off route.

McIntosh added there was no discussion with the bandleaders about the points from Monday and Tuesday being joined and questioned where was this new rule.

He said the masqueraders in his band enjoyed themselves for Carnival but have been upset by the results. He stressed his band always tries to do the correct things and this year stayed within the 30 minute time allotment at the Queen’s Park Savannah and behaved orderly. He said it was difficult to put in so much effort and then be disqualified “out of the blue”.

He lamented changes were made to Carnival two to three weeks before the festival. He said with the first meeting in October with NCBA and NCC planning started “far too late” and instead should start as early as April.

Gabriel noted the Monday judging usually stood on its own but Lopez “very craftily” added on Monday mas to Tuesday mas.

“It was definitely not discussed with anybody,” she stressed.

She recalled that when registration started online in October or November the rules were not available until December. She also noted that instead of bandleaders receiving a written copy of rules it was changed and greatly expanded and placed online. Gabriel recalled she had to retain a lawyer to understand the ramifications of the rules.

“A total lack of respect, as though the NCBA thinks that Carnival belongs to them,” she said. She noted it was “amazing” that Lopez was doing so many things detrimental to the mas and not stopped by the authorities, and called for Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas to intervene.

Anderson Patrick of traditional mas band Warriors of Hurracan also complained about a new rule which prohibited anyone under 18 from participating in Carnival Monday and Tuesday. He noted while he still had some children in his band they felt hurt that after all these years they were not being allowed to play. He stressed young people in the bands were key to continuing the traditions and accused Lopez of “killing the traditional mas”.

Repeated attempts to contact Lopez yesterday via cellphone were unsuccessful and there was no response to a text message sent. Attempts to contact Douglas were similarly futile.

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