Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Woodbrook residents divided on new venue
The dust has settled and for some Woodbrook residents there were mixed feelings as to the after-effects of the new, private initiative of the Socadrome, at the Jean Pierre Complex, in Port-of-Spain. The alternative venue offered accommodation to, initially, four large bands, Tribe Harts, Yuma, Bliss and then Passion joined.
Controversy surrounded the use of the venue as some Woodbrook residents, in close proximity to the venue complained about it, and even signed a petition. But the National Carnival Commission (NCC) granted the permission for the bands to have the alternative venue.
President of the Woodbrook residents association Lynette Dolly in a phone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday said only three bands used the Socadrome venue and the organisers should not be allowed to use the venue next year. The residents, she said, initially voiced concerns about loud music among other concerns.
Dolly said following a Carnival Friday meeting with Dean Ackin, bandleader of Tribe and Bliss, as well as Yuma’s Edmund Seow, it was agreed that music trucks would lower their sounds while passing through the residential community. Dolly said Tribe and Bliss attempted to comply and lowered the music in the residential area but Yuma, she said, was not as successful.
“The place was left in a mess. Drinks and eats all over the place. At one point Bliss was stuck on the Avenue,” she said. Many of the elderly and babies, she said, left the area before Carnival Tuesday. Dolly also complained that some residents on Warren Street were upset because confetti was left all over their houses.
“I think and hope that by May/June this year all the stakeholders (including residents) should get together and discuss what Carnival 2015 should be like…many of the problems of Carnival remain unsolved. They need to get to the root cause of the problems before they find a proper solution. They never saw the residents as stakeholders,” she said. One Taylor Street resident said while she did not want the event to occur next year, if it had to, it should be better organised.
In an interview at her home, she said, “We were inconvenienced in a lot of ways…From early in the morning, not accustomed to a lot of bands passing through. Four large bands one after the next. These houses are old homes, hollow bottoms and stuff…The vibration of the music caused dust all over,” she said.
She also said the loud music affected her dog. She added that it was only okay for her young grandchildren because they were able to sell bandanas to the masqueraders. She also complained of people urinating in the area. However, Richard Acanne, whose family home is located on O’Connor St, Woodbrook, said it was a good experience having the Socadrome nearby for his 80 plus year old parents visiting from Canada who would normally have to walk to Adam Smith Square.
“Everything was right here. It came down Taylor Street, then came up here so they just walked to the corner and saw everything,” he said. Acanne, who now lives in Diego Martin said, he would support it but if all the bands came to Socadrome it might cause congestion.