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No fans to see children play
Blue devils, moko jumbies, black and brown bats, dame lorraines, red Indians, fancy sailors, burrokeets and minstrels chipped around the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, as the National Carnival Commission hosted its traditional junior mas parade. But parents and teachers complained bitterly that there was nobody there to enjoy the traditional mas display put on by the youngsters. Indeed, traffic moved along Queen’s Park North with few spectators around to enjoy the procession.
In an interview during the event, a teacher, who did not want to be named, said: “When it was in town, people came out of their offices to support it. “Here it have nobody seeing the traditional mas. Only the ones who are dressed up here are the ones who appreciate it. It is sad.” The teacher said they were also told by officials not to walk with their banners. “Nobody knows who we are. They (NCC officials) told us to leave the banners at home.
“I am upset because people are not getting to see the traditional mas. Who they looking at?” she asked pointing to the flowing traffic. “This is a disappointment.” A parent added: “We parading for nobody.” The parade, which was moved out of the traditional downtown Port-of-Spain route by the NCC this year, began opposite the Emperor Valley Zoo and concluded at Carnival Village opposite Memorial Park.
The event was also marred by a two-hour-late start, which officials said was due to the police arriving late. Children also complained about not having water on the route. The children were colourfully dressed in their costumes with a vibrant amount of energy as they danced to tassa drums, steelband music or music provided by a tamboo bamboo section.
Students and children from 160 various community councils, groups and schools took part in the parade, with Couva, Las Lomas, Felicity, Enterprise, Tabaquite, Talparo and Mamoral Police Youth Clubs also being represented. Cpl Julie Waterman, leader of the Chickland Police Youth Club, said they were happy to have been invited by the NCC to participate.
“The children are playing moko jumbie and it is an exciting opportunity for them to be in Port-of-Spain. Now the NCC reached out we can participate, and they are enjoying it tremendously,” she said.