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Carnival not yet over, results head to court

By JULIEN NEAVES Tuesday, May 13 2014

CARNIVAL 2014 may have wrapped up two months ago, but the bacchanal over the parade of the bands results continues with veteran bandleader Rosalind Gabriel issuing a pre-action protocol letter to the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), through her lawyers, claiming breaches of the judging rules, and unfair treatment.

The nine-page letter obtained by Newsday is dated May 7, 2014, and was issued from the offices of attorney Gabrielle Gellineau.

The letter is addressed to NCBA President David Lopez, and on behalf of Rosalind Gabriel Carnival Productions Limited, and Rosalind Gabriel and Village Productions. For 2014 Gabriel had registered a Junior band entitled Colour My Culture and a Senior band entitled Festival of Colours.

Back in March, Gabriel and bandleader, Ronnie McIntosh, had their respective lawyers write to the NCBA demanding to see their score sheets. McIntosh previously informed Newsday that he will not be seeking further legal action at this time.

In the letter, it is noted that following the two competitions the results were not publicly announced via the media, in accordance with rule 12.2 of the Junior rules, and rule 13.2 of the Senior rules.

The letter outlined correspondence between Gabrielís lawyer Michael Quamina and the NCBA. Quamina in a letter dated March 7, 2014 requested the score sheets for the Junior Parade of the Bands competition, noting that for the first time in 20 years Gabrielís bandfailed to place in all the categories in which she competed except The Spirit of Carnival Juniors Large category.

After copies of the results were provided, Quamina in a letter dated March 17 noted that his client had been penalised, according to rule 10.3 for following the traditional route of the City of Port-of-Spain. He pointed out that the route had not been finalised between the NCBA and City of Port-of-Spain.

He also pointed out that other bands, including Carnival Players Limited, Cassix Productions and Lilliput Theatre, also followed the traditional route, yet were able to place in the competition.

Quamina had also charged that the judges were called into the NCBA office to discuss their scores after the results were announced, and questioned whether his clientís were a subject of discussion at the meeting.

In response, chief judge Kester Husbands, in a letter dated March, 20 denied that any meeting was held with the judges after the announcement of the results. The letter states, however, that the other concerns were not adequately addressed. After detailing further correspondence between Quamina and Husbands, the letter contended that the NCBA acted in breach of rule 24.4 of the Junior rules ďwhen they failed to act in a fair and reasonable manner when applying penalties to our clientís presentationĒ.

For the Senior Parade of the Bands, Quamina in a letter dated March 7, requested the score sheets for Gabrielís presentation. After receiving the score sheets Quamina reported that Gabriel was penalised for not following the parade route, and for having band members under the age of 18, both claims which his client has contested. He pointed out that Trinidad All Stars and Tribal Connections had children participating in their presentations, but were not similarly penalised.

After detailing further correspondence between Quamina and Husbands, the letter charged that the NCBA failed to apply, or breached the Senior rules.

The letter indicated Gabrielís intention to approach the High Court in an action for breach of contract, and will also seek damages on the basis that the breaches denied her an opportunity to win prize money in the sums of $39,000 for Junior Parade of the Bands, and $79,600 for Senior Parade of the Bands.

The letter requested a response in 14 days to satisfy Gabrielís claim, or the NCBA would face High Court action.

Repeated attempts by Newsday to contact Lopez were unsuccessful.

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