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NCC: No set mas route decided

Friday, January 24, 2014

The National Carnival Commission (NCC) yesterday said an alternative route for the Parade of the Bands for Carnival 2014 has not been confirmed. In a release, the organisation said it was still waiting on the T&T Police Service to accept, action and manage the proposed alternate route. The release was in response to a T&T Guardian editorial which commented on a decision by some bandleaders who did  not agree with the proposed change in the route to the big stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. “While we are determined to get the alternative route in gear for Carnival 2014 for the benefit of masqueraders and spectators, we are still waiting on the TTPS to accept, act and manage. That is the only way we can proceed,” the NCC said.

The NCC admitted there were issues with the new parade route, which proposes for masqueraders to enter the stage from east to west. It added: “In preparing the new route, a main concern is the trucks that accompany the Carnival bands since they are one of the major causes of congestion for masqueraders. “But that leaves the route organisers between a rock and hard place because these trucks, as cumbersome as they are, are essential for mas players and we cannot discount the value these vehicles provide. Solutions must continue to be sought in that regard.”
The NCC added progress could not be made without the co-operation of the bandleaders. The organisation indicated that since last January 2013, it had engaged C&H Associates to consider an alternative route. “Since then, bandleaders, regardless of affiliation with the NCBA, National Carnival Development Foundation and T&T Carnival Bands Association, were given the opportunity to discuss its feasibility.”

This differs from statements from bandleaders, including Trini Revellers bandleader Derek Rajnauth, who said bandleaders were only informed of the changes this year. “There was a noted reluctance on bandleaders’ part to contribute. Ironically, while some bandleaders have been very vocal in their criticism about the alternative route, we are yet to receive their solutions” the NCC said. In an interview yesterday, however, president of the T&T Carnival Bandleaders Association (TTCBA), Gerard Weekes, said he had forwarded solutions to the NCC but those had been ignored. The NCC also defended its communication with bandleaders about the new route. “Suffice it to say, bandleaders were contacted. The NCBA did take steps to communicate with them. However, the NCBA (National Carnival Bandleaders Association) can only do so much and the NCC has been taking up the slack to facilitate outreach,” it said. The NCC said it had scheduled one-on-one discussions to give bandleaders a final opportunity to discuss their concerns about the alternative route. 


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