Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 6th 2014 Contents A5
Thursday, March 6, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Socadrome initiative endorsed by five
of the major Carnival bands ended up with
mixed reviews on Carnival Tuesday.
Harts and Passion did not get to cross the
specially built stage at the Jean Pierre Complex
because of a timing clash with the much bigger
Arriving at the end of Fitzblackman Drive,
having spruced up their costumes and prepared
to cross the stage, Harts masqueraders told
the T&T Guardian they then heard announce-
ments from their section leaders telling them
to return to the trucks because they were
diverting to have their lunch in Victoria Square
earlier than planned. They then saw Tribe
beginning to enter the arena to cross the stage.
"Two hours later, after our lunch, Tribe
were still crossing the stage, so we didn t get
to," said a Harts mas player.
"But Harts still had an excellent day. We
knew we were going to the Socadrome, we
just arrived at the wrong moment, and the
thing about our bandleaders is they want to
keep us on the move, not standing for two-
three hours partying on the spot like Tribe
do on Carnival Tuesday because of the size
of their band."
Harts crossed the Savannah stage early, as
is traditional. The first section began crossing
at 7.30 am.
Another Harts masquerader said, "I think
sending the bands west and taking it away
from downtown was a failure. Harts didn t
make it to the Socadrome and no one seemed
too concerned and upset about it."
For those masqueraders who did cross the
stage the Socadrome was a more positive
Gabriella Bernard, 19, playing mas for the
first time with Yuma, said, "The Socadrome
was great. It was definitely a great substitute
for crossing the (Savannah) stage and mimicked
everything that was embodied in that expe-
Crowds inside the Jean Pierre Complex
were small, with just a handful of people
paying $25 for access to the banks of seats.
But the same could be said of the North Stand
at the Savannah.
Acting Commisisoner of Police Stephen
Williams said yesterday the major challenge
in the previous years was bands getting to the
Savannah stage. He said the Socadrome "aided
in easing the levels of traffic for it to flow."
Officials: it went well
Socadrome officials released a brief press
statement yesterday which read, "Crowds at
the facility were small as expected for the pilot
project," but added that the project "went
fairly well. Feedback from our masqueraders
so far is largely positive as it removed con-
gestion and long wait times from their mas
On behalf of Carnival TV, which live-
streamed the Socadrome mas, Camille Parsons
told the T&T Guardian, "On TV it looked
absolutely amazing, with the backdrop of blue
sky instead of a field. The sunrise was beautiful
and it would have looked magnificent at night
As it was, the complex was only licensed
up until 4 pm as fears of congestion along
the highway and Wrightson Road meant an
early finish time had been agreed upon in
advance. Parsons suggested that an extended
stint next year would allow all the big bands
to cross the stage.
The dust has settled and for some Wood-
brook residents there were mixed feelings
as to the after-effects of the new, private
initiative of the Socadrome, at the Jean
Pierre Complex, in Port-of-Spain.
The alternative venue offered accommo-
dation to, initially, four large bands, Tribe
Harts, Yuma, Bliss and then Passion joined.
Controversy surrounded the use of the
venue as some Woodbrook residents, in close
proximity to the venue complained about it,
and even signed a petition. But the National
Carnival Commission (NCC) granted the
permission for the bands to have the alter-
President of the Woodbrook residents
association Lynette Dolly in a phone interview
with the T&T Guardian yesterday said only
three bands used the Socadrome venue and
the organisers should not be allowed to use
the venue next year. The residents, she said,
initially voiced concerns about loud music
among other concerns.
Dolly said following a Carnival Friday
meeting with Dean Ackin, bandleader of
Tribe and Bliss, as well as Yuma s Edmund
Seow, it was agreed that music trucks would
lower their sounds while passing through
the residential community. Dolly said Tribe
and Bliss attempted to comply and lowered
the music in the residential area but Yuma,
she said, was not as successful.
"The place was left in a mess. Drinks and
eats all over the place. At one point Bliss
was stuck on the Avenue," she said. Many
of the elderly and babies, she said, left the
area before Carnival Tuesday.
Dolly also complained that some residents
on Warren Street were upset because confetti
was left all over their houses.
"I think and hope that by May/June this
year all the stakeholders (including residents)
should get together and discuss what Carnival
2015 should be like...many of the problems
of Carnival remain unsolved. They need to
get to the root cause of the problems before
they find a proper solution. They never saw
the residents as stakeholders," she said.
One Taylor Street resident said while she
did not want the event to occur next year,
if it had to, it should be better organised.
In an interview at her home, she said, "We
were inconvenienced in a lot of ways...From
early in the morning, not accustomed to a
lot of bands passing through. Four large
bands one after the next. These houses are
old homes, hollow bottoms and stuff...The
vibration of the music caused dust all over,"
She also said the loud music affected her
dog. She added that it was only okay for her
young grandchildren because they were able
to sell bandanas to the masqueraders. She
also complained of people urinating in the
However, Richard Acanne, whose family
home is located on O Connor St, Woodbrook,
said it was a good experience having the
Socadrome nearby for his 80 plus year old
parents visiting from Canada who would
normally have to walk to Adam Smith Square.
"Everything was right here. It came down
Taylor Street, then came up here so they
just walked to the corner and saw everything,"
Acanne, who now lives in Diego Martin
said, he would support it but if all the bands
came to Socadrome it might cause conges-
In the aftermath of Carnival celebrations
Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee is
urging that the history and meaning of the
festival be preserved.
"Every thing has gone so commercial that
people are forgetting the history and the mean-
ing behind Carnival and we have to be careful
not to destroy what should not be destroyed.
"It should not only be about dollars and
cents. We should try to understand there is
process and principle in everything."
This as reports of the scarcity of bands at
South Quay and Broadway resulting in many
spectators describing it was the "worst down-
He said the new venture of the Socadrome
was one possibility of fewer masqueraders in
downtown Port-of-Spain on Carival Monday
"If you have a complement of people where
they would have been before and this year they
chose to go to another location then that could
be a possibility," Tim Kee said.
Another possibility, he added, was advertising
and marketing of Carnival.
"For me it was disappointing. I don t know
if it was a function of marketing and advertising
of the product. We need to have some serious
discussions on that," the mayor added.
He said, however, that he could not give spe-
cific causes until he had done a comprehensive
analysis which included having discussions
with various stakeholders.
"We need to be objective and we need to
look at Carnival holistically. Every year there
seems to be some sort of bacchanal and con-
fusion among the mayor stakeholders," Tim
Dane Lewis, bandleader of Island People Mas
Ltd yesterday said he believed his band was
the only large band to follow the entire route
on Carnival Monday and Tuesday as prescribed
by the National Carnival Bands Association
Along Independence Square and Charlotte
Street, however, Lewis said there were cars and
"It was common traffic, not the traffic with
special permits or anything like that. On Char-
lotte Street there were cars driving down at 9
am. I had to go personally and wake a driver
and beg him to reverse. It was a challenge for
us," Lewis added.
Saying this was not the fault of the mayor,
Lewis said those in charge of the route were
the ones to ensure it was clear.
"I can t speak of the scarcity of the bands.
What I do think is a problem is the route not
being conducive. Those responsible for the
routes need to take charge of it," Lewis added.
On whether Socadrome had a part to play
in the scarcity of bands downtown Lewis said
he did not think that may be the sole reason
as only three of the five bands participated at
the Jean Pierre Complex.
Contacted yesterday NCBA s president David
Lopez said he had no answers as to why down-
town was scarce.
"I don t know and I can t answer that. I was
in the savannah and I am now putting my mar-
bles together and gathering information as to
what happened," Lopez said.
On Lewis concerns he said he also heard of
them but needed to speak to those involved to
determine what went wrong.
PoS mayor blames
marketing for low
Woodbrook residents divided on new venue
Bad timing left Harts
out of Socadrome
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams is greeted by Tribe bandleader Dean Ackin
while National Security Minister Gary Griffith looks on during their visit to the Socadrome at
the Jean Pierre Complex on Carnival Tuesday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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