Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2014 Contents A7
March 2, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Up to late Friday, Socadrome offi-
cials were still working to address
concerns raised by Woodbrook resi-
dents, who are planning to protest the
National Carnival Commission s deci-
sion to allow five large Carnival bands
to parade through their streets on Car-
Socadrome media liaison Danielle
Hunte said Socadrome held a meeting
with the police, National Security Min-
ister Gary Griffith and representatives
of the NCBA and NCC late Friday to
address the residents complaints.
Tribe bandleader Dean Ackin also
had a separate meeting with Woodbrook
"So everyone is on the same page
now. It is important to say that we are
going to work to address many concerns
in our powers to do so. We have met
with stakeholders over the last few days
to seek solutions to challenges faced."
Noise, Hunte said, was one of the
issues raised, as well as music trucks
coming in contact with overhead elec-
Hunte said when the bands come
off the stage at Jean Pierre Complex,
they would try to keep the decibels
levels "reasonable until we get to Ari-
Socadrome officials, Hunte said, have
also been driving along the parade route
to make sure that the trucks don t yank
on the lines to cause power outages.
"We can talk about this until
we are purple in the face, but it s
really when we deliver the product
is it going to count."
Hunte said if Socadrome turns
out successful, she suspects it will
continue with the approval of
everyone. She said she hoped that
the Socadrome bands will not be
blamed for every mishap that
might take place on Carnival Tues-
"I am calling for all bands that
are utilising the areas surrounding
the traditional Carnival route that
they be respectful as possible to
the communities that they pass
Dr Conrad Murray arrives at Piarco Airport last night with his children,
Chinelle, right, son Che and girlfriend Nicole Alvarez.
Murray was Michael Jackson's doctor at the time of the pop star's death of a
prescription drug overdose in June 2009. Murray was found guilty of
involuntary manslaughter in November 2011, and served two years in a Los
Angeles prison before being released in October last year. Born in Grenada,
he was brought up in Trinidad. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
DR MURRAY ARRIVES
The National Carnival Bands
Association (NCBA) is giving
assurances that all systems are
in place for the 2014 Parade of
Yesterday, NCBA president
David Lopez said everything has
been finalised to make the two-
day parade safe, enjoyable and the
greatest show on earth.
Approximately 200 Carnival
marshals have been trained and
will work alongside the police and
army to ensure law and order in
the capital city. On Thursday,
Lopez said, Carnival security gold
commander Deputy Commissioner
of Police Earl Gonzales held a final
briefing with the Licensing Divi-
sion, army, police and traffic war-
dens to ensure a smooth flow of
all bands along the parade route.
On this year s Socadrome ini-
tiative, Lopez said five of the 13
large bands have opted not to fol-
low the association s approved
route and will instead enter the
Socadrome at the Jean Pierre Com-
plex, Port-of-Spain, to showcase
their costumes. After leaving the
complex, the five bands will rejoin
the parade route up to Cipriani
Boulevard, but will not be allowed
to cross the stage at the Queen s
"We have nothing to do with
that. These five bands are non-
competing. The rest of the bands
will be coming to the Savannah as
Lopez said there are over 20
medium and 30 small bands com-
"We are asking the bands to co-
operate with the marshals, police
and route management," Lopez
said, reiterating that bands that do
not follow the association s
approved route will be penalised.
He said city corporation health
inspectors would be out in full
force to examine how vendors pre-
pare and serve meals to spectators,
masqueraders and visitors on the
streets, and all-inclusive bands
would also be under a microscope
with how food is handled and
"We have been working with
the corporation to ensure proper
food safety is practised."
NCBA: All systems go
Entrance is $25 for adults and children accompanied by adults enter the venue for free.
The first band is scheduled to appear by 8.30am on Carnival Tuesday.
Gates open at 7 am.
Tickets will be on sale at the Socadrome patrons entrance at the Fitzblackman Drive or Hamilton
Holder Street gates of the Jean Pierre Complex. Cash will be accepted for ticket purchases.
Spectators will have a new parking option as MovieTowne is operating a car park. To keep the mas
bands route free-flowing, no parking is allowed at the stadium, so patrons are encouraged to keep
the streets around the venue clear and to access parking (for $40) at the MovieTowne car park.
Hunte later issued a press release spelling out
the organisers vision for the Socadrome.
It was set up, she said, "in response to mas-
querader concerns stemming from the ongoing
congestion that has been a part of Carnival for the
past several years."
The challenge was that masqueraders wanted a
stage, as "the stage is an integral part of the mas-
But alleviating the customary congestion could
mean bypassing judging points which included the
Savannah stage. "So we needed to provide a mean-
ingful alternative," wrote Hunte. "Hence, the idea
of the Socadrome."
In response to criticism of the scheme as dividing
the Carnival in two, Hunte and the Socadrome
organisers replied, "It s still one Carnival.
"Socadrome is an option, not a divisive move,"
they argued. "It is not about segregating bands.
There is mas in other cities in Trinidad and we are
not leaving Port-of-Spain...we ll be playing on the
"It s just that it has become impractical for all
the bands to converge on the Savannah at one
time. Socadrome allows non-competing bands to
reduce the congestion. It removes 15,000 mas-
queraders from the traditional route on Carnival
Tuesday morning to head to a different venue leav-
ing room for competing bands to access judging
points without being stuck behind these large,
non-competing party bands."
Hunte said the organisers had met with the res-
idents of Woodbrook and heard their concerns.
"We are committed to addressing the concerns
we have control over," she assured, "including,
among other things, to lower decibel levels to rea-
sonable levels when exiting the Socadrome and to
work to prevent any interference with electrical
With regard to other possible issues arising out
of the new route and the Socadrome project, Hunte
said the bands had now met with officials from
the NCC, NCBA, the Ministry of National Security
and the NCBA. "We are now on the same page
with regard to the plan," she said. "On Carnival
Tuesday the option of the Socadrome will be
See story on Page A6.
It's still one Carnival
What the Socadrome is about:
How to see it:
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