At one point, Norman Christie, bpTT’s Regional President, couldn’t get more than a sentence out about “our band” before the audience exploded into lusty applause and catcalls of appreciation.
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PoS mayor blames Socadrome, poor marketing for low downtown turnout
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 meaning 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 downtown ever.” He said the new venture of the Socadrome was one possibility of fewer masqueraders in downtown Port-of-Spain on Carival Monday and Tuesday. “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 specific 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 confusion among the mayor stakeholders,” Tim Kee added. 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 (NCBA). Along Independence Square and Charlotte Street, however, Lewis said there were cars and vehicular traffic.
“It was common traffic, not the traffic with special permits or anything like that. On Charlotte 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 downtown was scarce. “I don’t know and I can’t answer that. I was in the savannah and I am now putting my marbles 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.