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While an ease in congestion on the roads on
Carnival Tuesday could be expected as a result
of the Socadrome initiative, the question of giving
certain bands a special route has brought up ques-
tions of divisions among masqueraders.
"This doesn't seem to me like an effort to solve
the issues at hand. It seems like another way to
promote elitism. Battle lines are being drawn, yes,"
one masquerader said on Facebook.
NCC chair Allison Demas addressed this issue
in the release:
It said: "While we acknowledge that we must
be careful that the route extension does not bring
an elitist division in Carnival, the NCC is guided
by professional engineers who see a deeper merit
to this route extension.
"It is expected to alleviate congestion, reducing
the masquerader count at the Savannah by approx-
imately 15,000 persons."
When the Socadrome idea was announced earlier
this month, some masqueraders took to Facebook
to ask why route changes were being made after
costumes were already purchased.
"Always last minute. It would be nice to know
this when registering so (a) decision can be made,"
one person commented.
One Bliss masquerader added: "People pay real
money then to find out last minute they not crossing
the Savannah. Hope I misunderstanding this ting,
otherwise I go be real mad if Bliss not crossing the
However, Edmund Seow, a Yuma committee
member, said the band did not expect any backlash
from their masqueraders, who were accustomed
to skipping the main stage anyway.
"We chose this because of the congestion at
Queen's Park Savannah," he said.
"Why spend six to seven hours trying to go to
the Savannah? We are not interested in the com-
petition aspect of the parade."
Seow said the nature of Yuma mas was to always
be on the move.
The costs associated with Socadrome will be
absorbed by the bands, the NCC said.
"Neither the State, the NCC nor the NCBA
(National Carnival Bands Association) will have
any costs attached to this route extension," the
With respect to security, Seon said there was no
issue as bands provided their own.
Friday, February 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 20th FEBRUARY, 2014
St Clair Avenue
Wrightson Road Hamilton Holder Street
4 mas bands
get own route
in the dark
Four large Carnival mas bands---Harts,
Tribe, Yuma and Bliss---have been given
approval by the National Carnival Com-
mission (NCC) to parade along an extend-
ed route on Carnival Tuesday.
The route will not take the masqueraders
to the traditional main stage at the Queen's
Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, but further
west through Woodbrook and to the
"Socadrome" at the Hasely Crawford Sta-
This means that for the first time, mas-
queraders will be allowed to go into areas
outside downtown and uptown Port-of-
However, it also means that they will
be denied the opportunity to parade on
what many revellers believe is the home
of carnival, the Queen's Park Savannah
An NCC press release yesterday said the
bands had proposed the change since Jan-
uary 30 and it agreed to go ahead with
the idea because it supported the idea of
freeing up the congestion traditionally
caused by all the mas bands having to
cross the Savannah stage.
"... a proposal was made to establish an
extension of the parade of the bands route
to allow bands to better plan their move-
ments to allow a better mas experience,"
the NCC said.
The new route will begin in St Clair and
the bands will proceed west along Queen's
Park West and St Clair Avenue to Damien
Street, then move southward toward
Bellesmythe Street to the Maraval Parkway.
They will then move south on the Mar-
aval Parkway to enter the stadium com-
pound through the west gate and go around
the outside the stadium to the Jean-Pierre
Complex's west court, which has been
named the Socadrome.
There, they will cross a stage and then
exit the stadium compound through the
east gate, moving north on Hamilton Hold-
er/O'Conner Street and back to Ariapita
About 60 Woodbrook residents met
with Port-of-Spain mayor Raymond Tim
Kee on Tuesday night and objected to the
new route, saying Carnival should not
extend beyond the capital city since it
would result in extreme discomfort to
them and particularly the elderly.
However, Tim Kee said he had no
authority to stop the event if it were okayed
by the NCC.
The release addressed security, saying
National Security Minister Gary Griffith,
in discussion with members of the T&T
Police Service (TTPS), had put measures
in place to cater to the extended route.
It said he assured that provisions would
be made "to increase the compliment of
protective personnel with members of the
Defence Force to ensure the safety and
security of masqueraders, spectators and
residents of the Carnival city and its envi-
A map depicting the new route
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