Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 12th 2014 Contents A25
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In the 1990s, I was commis-
sioned by the NCC to devel-
op software for the computa-
tion of results for the major
Carnival competitions (Calypso,
King and Queen of Carnival,
Band of the Year). In those
days, the "merit system" was
used to determine results. It
was a far superior method to
the current one where high and
low scores are discarded. It was
error-prone when done by
hand but the software eliminat-
ed this problem.
In the years that I was
involved, I had the responsibili-
ty of tabulating the results
directly from the judges score
The system was fast and
accurate, with results available
within five minutes of receiving
the score sheets.
I m not sure exactly when or
why the NCC stopped using
the merit system but I strongly
recommend that they (and Pan
Trinbago) revert to it to deter-
mine the results of their vari-
The merit system takes into
consideration the fact that
some judges are generous with
their scores while others are
less so. However, they tend to
be consistent in their generosity
or stinginess. For example, for
three contestants A, B and C,
Judge1 may award marks of 95,
92 and 88 while Judge2 may
award marks of 78, 80 and 73,
Assuming there are five
judges, the other three may
award marks somewhere
between these two.
In a system where you elimi-
nate high and low scores, you
may find that the scores of
Judge1 and Judge2 are consis-
tently eliminated. The end
result is that they have little or
no say in the final determina-
But they may be very good
judges and their relative place-
ment of the contestants may be
spot on. Yet their input has lit-
tle or no bearing on the final
result. Surely, this cannot be
what we want. This is where
the merit system comes in.
The system gives all judges
equal say in the final results by
nullifying the tendency of one
judge to give high scores and
another low scores. At the end
of the competition, based on
the scores awarded, each judge
would have placed the contest-
ants in a particular order.
Then, all first placed contest-
ants get the same number of
points (50, say). All second
placed contestants get 49
points, all third placed contest-
ants get 48 points, and so on.
These points are then tallied to
determine the winners.
In the example above, the
contestant (A) who Judge1
placed first with 95 marks will
get the same number of points
(50) as the contestant (B) who
Judge2 placed first with 80
The system can be tweaked
in terms of the number of
points to award for 1st, 2nd,
3rd, and the other places.
Should it be 100 for 1st, 90 for
2nd, 85 for 3rd?
This is a minor detail which
does not affect the principle of
the method. The merit system
is not perfect but I submit that
it has many advantages over
the current system and should
be used for future Carnival
competitions, as was done in
As a resident of Carenage, I have lis-
tened to the news with interest over
the past few weeks about the plight of
the Guave Road, Chaguaramas, farmers
and I have come to the conclusion that
they are only pawns in the process.
The farmers confirmed they received
notices last year to vacate the lands but
for some reason they ignored these no-
tices and went ahead to plant their
kitchen gardens on the lands which they
do not own. If they have a claim to the
land, then come forward with your deed
and the law will stand behind you.
As a country we must stop celebrating
lawlessness. These people, it seems, just
decided to ignore the law and do what-
ever they wanted.
As an avid cyclist I have been through
the Guave Road area on many occasions
over the years, and I can confirm that ex-
cept for some small kitchen garden-sized
plots, no farmer has seriously taken up
the challenge of cultivating the area
since 2009. The area was overgrown
with bush then, and it is still overgrown
I was present for the live broadcast on
the boardwalk on Monday and was ap-
palled by the behaviour of the so-called
farmers as they are clearly planting their
kitchen plots in the hope of a payday.
Their behaviour during the broadcast
also showed they were a bunch of thugs
who were making claims on the land
that they do not have and are not enti-
As a new grandfather, I hope the CDA
stands its ground on development of Ch-
aguaramas because I don't want these
kind of people to be leading us into the
Iwas prompted to write this article by my many experi-
ences that I encountered along my journey in life with
people who cannot and will not accept or live by rules.
One example of this is the many bandleaders who
are annoyed because they were disqualified from the
Carnival competition because they did not follow the
necessary routes to be judged.
Why? Because some felt they got the rules too late;
it was too many pages to read; that the routes were un-
fair; or some other foolish excuse.
I believe that if you belong to any organisation, you
have to adhere to the rules whether you like it or not. If
you believe for some reason or the other that you can-
not, then just bow out gracefully.
As for the NCC, I congratulate you all for sticking to
the rules you made.
We as a people in general feel that this will not hap-
pen, so we always do as we please, hoping and feeling
that nothing will be done about it.
I saw All Stars on television Carnival Monday, and it
was a beautiful sight to behold, the various colours, the
behaviour of the people in the band who remained in
their sections, no vulgarity, lewdness or lack of proper
Hats off to you All Stars. Enjoy your win, you deserve
it, and forget the sour grapes. They need to understand
that every choice we make in life has a consequence.
REVERT TO MERIT SYSTEM
FOR CARNIVAL JUDGING
Stick by your rules, NCC
Just a land-grab by Guave Road farmers
An excavator and caterpillar tractor dredge the Pinto Road river, Arima,
ahead of the rainy season which normally causes massive floods with loss of
property and livestock. Authorities all over the country should do likewise
and make maximum use of the dry season for such maintenance work.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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