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Confusion continued late yesterday over whether party bands—Tribe, Yuma, Bliss, Passion and Harts—which were granted an exclusive route for Carnival Tuesday, will be allowed to cross the big stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. After a late meeting yesterday, a new agreement was reached to allow the Socadrome bands to re-join the parade route up to Cipriani Boulevard after they leave the Jean Pierre Complex, but they still cannot cross the main stage at the Savannah.
A National Carnival Commission (NCC) release said a last-minute meeting managed to reverse an earlier decision not to allow non-competing bands to rejoin the normal parade route. Sent out close to 6 pm yesterday, it said the police agreed to a concession and the extended route will allow bands to leave the Socadrome and parade on Tragarete Road and Ariapita Avenue toward their mas camps.
However, the organisers of the Socadrome said yesterday that the bands have not totally ruled out crossing the Savannah stage, which is seen as the ultimate goal of masqueraders. They said, however, that they would allow the bands actually competing in the Parade of the Bands competitions priority in crossing the main judging point.
The earlier ban
A release issued earlier yesterday by the NCC outlined a specific route, also outside of the traditional route, but which also excluded the Savannah stage. Deputy Commissioner of Police Earl Gonzales said the bands would not be following the traditional route and so would not be allowed to rejoin the parade once they have left the Socadrome. Instead, the bands could move west on Ariapita Avenue.
That decision was taken at a meeting on Thursday to finalise plans for the route for the Parade of the Bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. NCC chairman Allison Demas, Gonzales, Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Ramsubhag, chairman of the National Operations Centre Mervyn Richardson and Sam Lewis, from the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), met with other security stakeholders and bandleaders.
According to the release, Gonzales asked the bands to comply, as it was the condition upon which they were granted the new arrangement. The earlier NCC release yesterday said each band will be assigned React (Radio Emergency Associated Communications Team) officers to monitor their movements. There will be 220 road marshals, ten route managers and ten assistants, identified by maroon T-shirts and fluorescent orange vests monitoring the bands.
The NCBA’s Lewis urged bandleaders to comply with directives.
Special Extended route for carnival
Tuesday 8 am-4 pm:
Into the Socadrome:
• Bands will move west along Queen’s Park West from Victoria Avenue, continuing west along St Clair Avenue to Roxy Roundabout
• South on Damian Street and Taylor Street
• West on Ariapita Avenue onto Maraval Parkway, entering the Hasely Crawford Stadium through the Castro Gate
• Anti-clockwise around the Hasely Crawford Stadium into the Jean Pierre Complex.
Out of the Socadrome:
• After crossing the stage, bands will exit onto Fitzblackman Drive
• North along Hamilton Holder Street
• East onto Ariapita Avenue and Park Street to Green Corner
• Westward along Tragarete Road, then up Cipriani Boulevard and onward to their mas camps.