Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 16th 2014 Contents PETER RAY BLOOD
Carnival bandleaders are unhappy with
proposals made by the National Carnival
Bands Association (NCBA) for a major
change to the parade route for the Parade
of Bands on Carnival Monday and Tues-
The current suggestion is to reverse the
direction of the parade to the Queen s Park
Savannah, Port-of-Spain, from east to west
as it has traditionally been, to west-east,
utilising Woodbrook and environs as the
major artery to the competition venue. This
change, it is believed, will help eradicate
the major pile-up of bands which usually
occurs to get into the venue.
NCBA president Wrenwick Brown told
the T&T Guardian that the plan was dis-
cussed last week at a meeting.
"There was a meeting last week Wednes-
day, chaired by NCC (National Carnival
Committee), to discuss this proposal. A
new plan for the parade route was suggest-
ed," he said.
"Once there is Carnival, there are prob-
lems, but I am sure that this problem will
be worked out.
"All competitions have rules and regu-
lations and the Parade of Bands is no dif-
ferent. All participants must abide by the
rules. The authorities are the ones who
determine the parade route. The police say
what the route should be, and the band-
leaders just have to abide by what the police
But Stephen Derek, leader of D Midas
Associates, said the suggested plan endorsed
by the NCC and NCBA would create a dif-
ferent problem for masqueraders. He said
in the first instance, crossing the stage in
a west-east direction will likely create tech-
nical problems because masqueraders will
have to go against the wind.
"They don t seem to firstly realise the
problem masqueraders have on moving
against the east-west wind that blows
through the Savannah...We also have the
same problem with Ariapita Avenue and
Tragarete Road," he said.
"Why is it every year, six and seven weeks
before Carnival, the NCC and NCBA come
to talk of plans to improve Carnival? Why
can t they do so six or seven weeks after
He added that other veteran bandleaders
had alternative options to the one proposed
for dealing with the congestion that tra-
ditionally causes huge pile-ups of bands
at the Savannah entrance.
"Gerald Hart, of Harts International,
has a great plan to fix the congestion to
the Savannah. It is to clear the way from
Memorial Square of everybody---spectators,
vendors---right up to the exit of the parade
competition route. Move the people who
vend and stand within the parade route,
causing costumed masqueraders to go to
the stage almost in single file. Put the
spectators in the bleachers, and keep them
The congestion woes at the Queen s
Park Savannah have long been a concern
for bandleaders. One of them, multi-Band
of the Year winner Brian MacFarlane, has
in fact opted not to participate this year
in part because of the long periods his
bands have had to wait to cross the stage
over the years and his dissatisfaction at
the organisation of the country s biggest
Derek also expressed concern about the
staging of the King and Queen of Carnival
finals on Carnival Friday night.
"It is a waste of time trying to compete
with the Soca Monarch show by staging
Big Friday (King and Queen of the Bands
finals) in the Savannah," he said.
"Any show anybody does on that Car-
nival Friday night is going to flop and will
be crushed by the Soca Monarch.
"The bottom line is that we bandleaders
want the King and Queen of Carnival finals
to be returned to Dimanche Gras on Car-
nival Sunday night. How can they return
calypso alone? That night has traditionally
been the night for the crowning of the
merry monarch, the King of Carnival."
"Dimanche Gras is too long because it
has too many unnecessary fillers on the
programme. We have the man who pro-
duced the opening ceremonies for three
Olympics. He holds the country s highest
"I know Peter Minshall can give T&T
a world-class production on Carnival Sun-
day night, complete with the crowning of
the national calypso monarch, and king
and queen of Carnival."
Trini Revellers executive member Dave
Cameron said he was hopeful there would
be a quick resolution to the issue.
"I am going along with what the mas
fraternity decides...We need a united front
among bandleaders," he said.
"The management of Carnival is the
main problem. The chairman of NCC said
the NCC is to legally be made the co-ordi-
nator of Carnival, by an act of Parliament.
Of course, this legislation will not happen
NCC chairman Allison Demas could
not be reached for comment yesterday,
but vice-chairman and Regional Carnival
Committee chairman Don Sylvester said:
"There is a parade route committee, which
is managed by the NCBA. It decides the
parade route and brings it to the NCC.
"So far, as far as I know, no route has
been finalised," he said.
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The debate over Michael (Sugar Aloes) Osouna's
decision to reject Roger (Bodyguard) Mohammed
for the Kalypso Revue tent's 2014 cast continued
to rage within the calypso fraternity and on social
Web sites yesterday, with the former being
severely criticised for the move in some quarters.
Four-time national calypso monarch Weston
(Cro Cro) Rawlins, who like Sugar Aloes has
performed scathing political commentaries against
the Government, came out strongly in defence of
Bodyguard's rendition False Papers, saying Aloes
had made a huge mistake.
"Sugar Aloes is wrong and stupid," Rawlins told
the T&T Guardian.
"He should listen to Sparrow's Slave, and learn
the way calypso began, and what calypso is. Listen
to the lyrics: 'We had to chant and sing to express
our feelings to that wicked and cruel man. That
was the medicine to make him listen. And is so
"Calypso was born as commentary and as satire
highlighting the wrongs of those in authority and
politicians. When slavery was abolished, that is
how the jumping in the road, and the Road March
In defending his decision not to select
Mohammed, Osouna, who manages the Revue,
said he found the song offensive, racist and
unfairly targetting the Indo-Trinidadian community.
He said as a businessman/calypsonian, he could
not allow Mohammed to sing a song which would
serve to divide Afro- and Indo-Trinidadians.
But Rawlins, who is a committed supporter of
the People's National Movement (PNM), said he
believed the decision was made because Osouna,
who also has a history of singing scathing
commentaries against governments and
individuals, did not want to incense the ruling
People's Partnership government.
"When Aloes sang She's Royal for Kamla he was
placed in their good books," he said, referring to
Osouna's decision to sing on a PP political platform
"But he also sang for Jack, so now he is in a jam.
"Aloes has no moral authority to reject a calypso.
He has the right as a tent manager to reject
anybody, but he cannot pontificate on calypso. His
reason for blanking the man is disrespectful and
Cro Cro also confirmed that his Icons calypso
tent will not be running this year.
"Icons got no funding so we cannot operate," he
said. "I have taken the Government to the Equal
Opportunities Board. The ministry has to answer
how every other calypso tent is getting funding by
Government and my tent, Icons, is not."
Also contacted yesterday, eight-time national
calypso monarch, Dr Hollis (Mighty Chalkdust)
Liverpool, recalled that calypso has always been
the mouthpiece of the people, but refused to be
drawn into commenting much on the controversy
of the matter.
"First off, I am taking part in the competition, so I
don't want to comment on this issue as I do not
wish to jeopardise anybody," he said.
"The calypsonian has the right to sing about
anything he wants, providing he does not break
the laws of the land.
"At the same time, a leader of a tent has the
right to decide what he wants in his tent. Tent
managers have always in the past removed
calypsonians from their cast. Kitchener Revue
manager Carl 'Jazzy' Pantin benched Bro Valentino
for singing Dr Williams, We Don't Want no
"Calypso composition has always been and
continues as an art. What composers have to do is
compose your song as art and not be offensive."
Anthony (Allrounder) Hendrickson said only:
"Yes, I am part of management of Klassic Ruso
tent, but I never get into calypso people business."
Thursday, January 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Bandleaders object to
parade route change
FLASHBACK: A member of Brian MacFarlane's Joy The Finale displays her costume in all
its glory while crossing the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, stage during last year's
Parade of the Bands competition.
More blows for
Sugar Aloes over
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