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New mas band Passion Carnival
has signed on to participate in the
Socadrome initiative at the Jean Pierre
Complex on Carnival Tuesday.
The band joins four other megabands
--- Bliss, Harts, Tribe and Yuma --- in
the initiative which is also being used
by the National Carnival Commission
to test whether an extended parade
route will alleviate some of the con-
gestion heading to the Queen s Park
Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Carnival
Passion Carnival s decision to join
the initiative was revealed by Tribe
bandleader Dean Akin yesterday during
an interview at the Jean Pierre Com-
plex, where the Socadrome stage was
still being built.
Akin, describing it as a pilot project,
said the organisers would not allow
any other bands to join the initiative
in an effort to maintain control over
"We will see how it goes this year
and if all goes well, we may have the
Socadrome again next year," he said.
Spokesperson for the Socadrome
initiative, Danielle Hunte, yesterday
said she could not indicate when con-
struction of the stage at the venue
would be completed.
A visit to the venue showed the
structure of the stage had been built
and about a quarter of its surface had
In response to questions about park-
ing for patrons, Hunte said the organ-
isers were encouraging patrons to use
the parking facilities at MovieTowne,
which would cost $40 for Carnival
She said, however, that masqueraders
usually parked closer to the bands
"None of the bands involved are
starting or ending their route at the
Socadrome, so parking for masquer-
aders is not an issue," Hunte said.
Mas band Fantasy, which in previous
years had rented part of the car park
at the Hasely Crawford Stadium for
use by its masqueraders, said yesterday
that it had found an alternative loca-
Hunte told the T&T Guardian on
Tuesday the cost of the initiative had
already crossed $1 million.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
PETER RAY BLOOD
A decision by the National Carnival Commission
to move tomorrow s annual regional children s tra-
ditional mas parade away from downtown Port-
of-Spain to the Queen s Park Savannah is not sitting
well with mayor Raymond Tim Kee.
This is the second major kiddies parade which has
been shifted from the heart of the city and the T&T
Guardian understands it is not sitting well with the
mayor, who now believes it is part of a concerted
effort to stifle junior mas from the downtown city
streets. In fact, Tim Kee is expected to address the
issue during a press conference today.
The kiddies parade is scheduled for 9 am at the
Queen s Park Savannah. It will start at Queen s Park
West, opposite White Hall and head east around the
Savannah. The plan is for the bands to reach the
Carnival Village inside the Savannah by 1 pm, with
a one-hour show thereafter.
However, apart from Tim Kee s concern motorists
are now worried about the major traffic pileup which
may result, which will already be busy due to the
last-minute Carnival preparations.
Speaking about the issue yesterday, however, NCC
commissioner of regional carnival, Don Sylvester,
said the route was changed due to safety issues.
"The route was changed because over the past two
years there were serious challenges with the parade
going up Frederick Street. This was dangerous for
children," he said.
One-lane traffic on route
Sylvester said they have also taken the steps to
alert the public to the activity and also have the full
support of the police.
"We have started advertisements to alert the public
of the parade and traffic adjustments. The police is
co-operating with us and is coning off one lane
around the Savannah to allow the free flow of traffic.
The traffic police have everything under control."
He added, however, that the route change was an
attempt by the NCC to return the mas to its roots.
"Many years ago, if you go into the archives, mas
was played around the Savannah, on the inside lane,
while tram cars ran on the outside.
"It s a two-pronged reason for having the parade
this way this year. One, we are trying to bring back
the family aspect to Carnival events and two, we are
being nostalgic, doing something that was there from
the beginning. Very importantly, we must also consider
as well the safety of the little children."
Giving the new parade route her blessings, NCC
chairman Allison Demas said they also decided to
facilitate the National Carnival Bands Association s
staging of the senior King and Queen finals later in
"This move is also to accommodate the NCBA
with the staging of its Big Friday (King and Queen
of Carnival finals) that same evening. Last year,
because of the parade, we did not give them enough
time to prepare for that production."
But deputy Port-of-Spain Mayor Kerron Valentine
yesterday voiced his concern about the removal of
the parade from the inner city, especially in light of
the fact that last weekend s Junior King, Queens and
Individuals preliminaries was also shifted from its
traditional downtown route start to Adam Smith
He added: "I am really concerned by this and other
developments in this year s Carnival.
"Kiddies mas is already being moved to Adam
Smith Square. There seems to be a clear and deliberate
attempt to move Carnival out of the city centre.
"Meetings have been held with special interest
groups but everyone seems to have their own agenda.
The Downtown Carnival Committee (DCC) did not
have challenges like this during the 2011-13 term."
Demas, however, refuted Valentine s claims, say-
ing: "There is definitely no clandestine move to take
Carnival out of the city centre. Look at Canboulay
and the Dragon Festival. Those events are still being
held in the city centre."
Savannah route for kids' traditional parade
Tribe bandleader Dean Akin stands next to the partially completed Socadrome
stage at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Five bands --- Bliss,
Harts, Passion Carnival, Yuma and Tribe --- will now be participating in the
initiative which will test an extended parade route. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Fifth band joins
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