Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 25th 2014 Contents A9
Saturday, January 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Two mas-band organisations have
joined forces in opposition to the
plan by the National Carnival Com-
mission (NCC) to reverse the parade
route for Carnival 2014.
This has been the second time in
as many years that this same plan has
been rejected by bandleaders.
The National Carnival Development
Foundation (NCDF) and T&T Carnival
Bandleaders Association (TTCBA)
united on Thursday evening to declare
their opposition to the route.
In a meeting at St Mary's College,
Pembroke Street, Port-of-Spain, both
groups suggested there were numerous
issues that could stop this new route
from being successful.
The NCC said the route would
decrease congestion on the road but
this has been rejected by bandlead-
ers.The NCC first presented this plan
during consultations with the three
major mas organisations---the National
Carnival Bands Association (NCBA),
NCDF and the TTCBA---in 2013, but
it was rejected.
This year, the TTCBA and NCDF
were excluded from discussions and
the NCC presented the plans again
early this month, saying last week
that bandleaders had reached an
Vice-president of the NCDF Jean-
Paul Touchet said the majority of his
members were opposed to the new
The NCDF represents most of the
large bands such as Tribe, Harts,
Island People, Yuma and Legacy.
TTCBA President Gerard Weekes
said the organisations intended to
write to the NCC, Arts Minister Lin-
coln Douglas and the Prime Minis-
"We want a response by January
31," Weekes said.
Carnival will be celebrated on March
3 and 4 this year.
The NCC said on Thursday that it
was still awaiting police approval for
the new route and that it was not yet
set in stone.
NCC chairman Allison Demas also
said the NCC was open to dialogue
with bandleaders. Instead of meeting
with the representative organisations,
however, the NCC will meet with
bandleaders on a one-on-one basis.
She said these meetings will begin
"We are seeking a proposal that
would reduce the congestion by more
than 25 per cent," Demas said.
She said engineers had promised
that the new route would decrease
congestion by 25 per cent.
"We have weighed the pros and
cons and we are asking bandleaders
to just keep an open mind. Let us hear
The NCC said progress could not
be made without the co-operation of
the bandleaders, adding that when
the plan was first announced, band-
leaders were notably reluctant to con-
The new route means that mas-
queraders leaving Woodbrook will now
move east along Tragarete Road before
turning onto Victoria Avenue and
heading up to the Queen's Park Savan-
nah, which they will approach from
the western side of the stage.
They will then pass through the
Savannah heading east before heading
to downtown Port-of-Spain.
The National Carnival Commission
(NCC) is launching Chaguanas Bor-
ough Carnival tomorrow.
The launch will feature a parade of
traditional Carnival characters, including
jab-jabs, moko jumbies, Dame Lor-
raines, blue devils and stick fighters.
Individual performers like fancy
sailors, firemen and the bookman will
also be on parade.
There will be music groups as well,
including rhythm sections, tassa and
The action starts at Busy Corner, on
the Chaguanas Main Road, with mas-
queraders gathering from 3 pm. The
parade will head north to the Chaguanas
Main Road, then west to the car park
at the market, where there will be a
stage for performances by the Carnival
The official launch start sat 6 pm,
with greetings from NCC vice chairman
This will be followed by an evening
of cultural performances, including soca
and calypso by Denise Belfon, Rikki Jai
and Ravi B.
Traditional characters for
Chaguanas Borough Carnival RAPHAEL JOHN-LALL
Secretary general of Com-
munication Workers Union
(CWU) John Julien is demand-
ing that the Telecommunica-
tions Services of Trinidad and
Tobago (TSTT) pay salaries to
thousands of employees on
"Today we are outside protest-
ing as today is pay day and no
one has been paid from TSTT's
bargaining unit," he said
"When they went to the bank
they were told that there is no
money in the bank. Scotiabank
said there was a problem with
the batch that was uploaded.
Everything is electronic. So TSTT
uploads the information to Sco-
tiabank and then Scotiabank then
sends the money to the other
banks. Scotiabank said there was
a problem since Wednesday."
Julien spoke to the media yes-
terday at a union picket at
TSTT's offices, Henry Street,
He said both Scotiabank and
TSTT were "culpable" for what
has happened and also said
roughly 2,200 workers were
affected and if they were not
paid they there could be no work.
"Stop oppressing the TSTT
workers, you are carrying us
down a road that we do not want
to go to," he said.
"The company has not even
written to the workers telling
them they have not been paid.
It shows the disrespect for the
workers. People have their mort-
gages to pay, so that means they
have to pay interest as their
salaries are late,"
He added that TSTT operates
in a competitive environment
and the management is not
doing anything to assist in this
over late pay
against new route
NCC wants dialogue with mas bands
In a release yesterday, Scotiabank
said a technical error occurred
overnight, resulting in a delay of the
processing of automatic salary pay-
ments to 2,109 TSTT employees.
The release said: "Investigations
are in progress to identify the cause
of the technical error discovered on
Friday morning and which appears
to be a cyber-glitch.
"The bank employed full
resources to rectify the error and
accounts in Scotiabank, First Cit-
izens, RBC Royal Bank, Republic
Bank and Intercommercial Bank will
be credited by 4 pm today (yester-
"Scotiabank wishes to assure the
employees of TSTT and our cus-
tomers of our commitment to the
timely processing of salaries and we
apologise for the inconvenience
caused by this unforeseen delay."
TSTT employees protest outside the TSTT building on Henry Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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