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NCBA leader suggests: Ban party bands from QPS stage (with CNC3 news)
Come Carnival 2014, mas bands which are registered but do not want to compete should not be allowed to cross the big stage in an effort to ease congestion. Making the announcement yesterday was David Lopez, president of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), during a press briefing at the NCBA’s office at Picton Street, Port-of-Spain.
He said the proposal had been on the drawing board for at least five years but it was up to the stakeholders to fine-tune and implement it. Carnival, Lopez added, had outgrown Port-of-Spain and an extended route was desperately needed and should include the Audrey Jeffers Highway.
An upsurge of “breakaway” bands over the years, Lopez said, had resulted in the main routes being clogged for several hours, as well as the stage. “We propose to send the party bands down there (Audrey Jeffers Highway) and let them party whole day,” Lopez added.
Urging that Carnival should be better run, Lopez said: “We cannot continue to manage Carnival like that. We have to manage a competition and we have to look seriously at non-competitive bands that want to come on the stage, bands who are registered but don’t go to any of the venues. “Whether you take away the points from them, it does not matter. So why must they be allowed to come on the stage and block it up?”
He said such “party bands” ought to have a separate route for themselves. Lopez, who recently became a board member of the National Carnival Commission (NCC), levelled some blame on the organisation, saying in the past it had not managed Carnival activities properly.
“The NCC has failed in the past to provide the necessary facilties to accommodate Carnival. I hope this time we put the necessary infrastructure in place.” Another issue that Lopez said must be aggressively tackled was indiscriminate vending. Saying he was not against vendors, Lopez called for more modern approaches to be used instead of allowing people to put booths on the pavements.
He added: “While the vendors are important for Carnival, we cannot continue allowing the vendors to operate the same way they operated in 1946 and 1956, by just coming and put up a shed on the pavement and blocking the pavement. “If we get a disaster, what will happen? Who are checking these people? Where is the flowing water, the toilets? And they are selling to the public,” Lopez said. While maintaining he would alway support the vendors, he said he could not support “selling a spot on the pavement with an open flame.”
Another issue, he added, was the need to reduce the number of trucks in the city during Carnival Monday and Tuesday. He said while it was unwise to decrease the number of “wee-wee” trucks, other trucks, including those equipped with sprinklers to “cool down” masqueraders, were being reviewed. “We were very successful in eliminating some of the trucks for 2013 but we still need to work on that. In some cases the pavement is not there to give the trucks adequate space to pass,” he said.
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