Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 27th 2014 Contents A9
Thursday, February 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
25 MUCURAPO ROAD, ST JAMES. TEL: 622-1996
110 HIGH STREET, SAN FERNANDO. TEL: 653-3202
COR. FREDERICK & HART STREETS, P.O.S. TEL: 627-4278
PETER RAY BLOOD
The leaders of children s bands participating in
Saturday s Republic Bank Junior Parade of the Bands
are up in arms against the National Carnival Bands
Association (NCBA) for changing the traditional
parade route from South Quay, Port-of-Spain, to
the Queen s Park Savannah. Bands will now set off
from Adam Smith Square, Woodbrook.
Multiple Band of the Year winner, Rosalind Gabriel,
speaking from the United States, expressed frustration
over the change of route.
She asked: "If the route for the adult bands was
reversed because of the wind factor how could they
leave the kids to face the wind? The children will be
going against the breeze."
Gabriel added that with the route change, parents
would now have additional transport problems.
She said: "The parents want to be downtown.
They do not want to be in Adam Smith Square.
"At least 60 children s bands are not in support
of this route. This is a terrible thing to do to the chil-
dren. It is their one day to play mas in the road.
"Minister of National Security Gary Griffith said
in a meeting that bands can go straight up Frederick
Street if we go from South Quay. If this is done we
can clear the Savannah early in time for Panorama
finals to begin."
NCBA chairman David Lopez voiced a contrasting
view, saying: "The parade route will begin at Adam
Smith Square this year. Over the years we have had
challenges but we are working them out.
"The issue of leaving the Savannah in time for
Panorama causes us to hustle the last few children s
bands thus depriving the children of enjoying their
"Frederick Street is not a parade route. We have
not gotten permission to use Frederick Street as a
parade route. The Commissioner of Prisons has said
that he does not want any mas bands in the vicinity
of the prison on Frederick Street.
Lopez said the NCBA consulted with junior band-
leaders and looked at different aspects of the route.
"Everybody didn t agree," he admitted, "which is
perfectly normal but the majority of those in atten-
dance did. We are trying to get a better route for the
children to allow them to enjoy themselves."
Vanessa Forde, bandleader of Classix Productions,
playing Hototo this year, said: "This change of route
will be detrimental to my masqueraders, especially
my individuals, for two reasons.
"One, coming against the wind on Ariapita Avenue
is going to mash up costumes, and two, people coming
from the east who are accustomed coming out at
City Gate and just meeting the parade downtown
now have to travel down to Woodbrook to meet the
"No transportation has been provided to Wood-
brook. There are no parking facilities available. People
would have to walk from Woodbrook, leaving vehicles
there for them to be wrecked by the police."
She said normally the mayor has a competition
on the Saturday at which bands competed before
going to the Savannah.
Forde claimed: "He has been taken out completely.
This is to spite the corporation because of a problem
with the past mayor. Once the mayor organises a
competition for Downtown I am taking my band
Gabriel, agreeing with Forde, said: "The Downtown
venue has been systematically and completely taken
out of the mas. Why take mas out of Downtown?
"Could they take Divali out of the Nagar or Hosay
out of St James? The city is celebrating 100 years
of mas and the mayor is being disrespected in this
"Nobody cares, not the NCBA, not Allison Demas
and the NCC, not even the minister (of Arts and
Multiculturalism) or his government. Who really
cares about the children?"
What the sponsors said
Republic Bank corporate communications manager
Anna Maria Garcia-Brooks said the bank, sponsor
of the parade, has endorsed the change to Adam
She said: "Through the years there have been a
number of challenges with the parade route as is.
"There s congestion, as well as the problem of
having to divert the parade off Frederick Street to
avoid the prison.
"Not to mention, having to turn music off outside
the hospital. Another problem we have had was the
vendors who encroached on the roadway, off the
"There s also been reports of vendors having open
fires cooking corn soup, a definite hazard to the chil-
Garcia-Brooks added: "The route from Adam Smith
Square offers a wider route with space for the children.
We are willing to try something new and are open
to the change. The NCBA has assured that if it does
not work we will try another alternative."
Yesterday, the National Carnival Commission (NCC)
announced the provision of a shuttle service on Sat-
urday for junior masqueraders.
A release stated: "NCC approached the Public
Transport Service Corporation to supply the service
and PTSC has kindly agreed."
The service will run from City Gate, Port-of-Spain,
to Carlos Street, Woodbrook, and will be provided
for children (along with their guardians) who are
participating in the Junior Parade of Bands. The
service will be provided from 7.30 am to 10 am.
Republic Bank's group marketing and communications general manager-
designate, Michelle Palmer-Keizer, takes a step back as two young masqueraders
get into the Carnival spirit at the bank's head office. The bank displayed
costumes yesterday for its 2014 Junior Parade section, titled I Grant You Three
Wishes. It has sponsored the parade since 2009 as part of its commitment to
youth empowerment and the preservation of cultures, through its social
investment programme, The Power to Make a Difference.
PHOTO COURTESY REPUBLIC BANK
Protest over new
junior mas parade
• East from Adam Smith Square, Woodbrook,
along Ariapita Avenue to Colville Street.
• Left into Colville Street, across Tragarete Road
into Cipriani Boulevard.
• North to Queen's Park East, then east to the
Savannah entrance, opposite Frederick Street.
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