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4 mas bands get own route
Four large Carnival mas bands—Harts, Tribe, Yuma and Bliss—have been given approval by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) to parade along an extended route on Carnival Tuesday. The route will not take the masqueraders to the traditional main stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, but further west through Woodbrook and to the “Socadrome” at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. This means that for the first time, masqueraders will be allowed to go into areas outside downtown and uptown Port-of-Spain. However, it also means that they will be denied the opportunity to parade on what many revellers believe is the home of carnival, the Queen’s Park Savannah stage. An NCC press release yesterday said the bands had proposed the change since January 30 and it agreed to go ahead with the idea because it supported the idea of freeing up the congestion traditionally caused by all the mas bands having to cross the Savannah stage. “... a proposal was made to establish an extension of the parade of the bands route to allow bands to better plan their movements to allow a better mas experience,” the NCC said.
The new route will begin in St Clair and the bands will proceed west along Queen’s Park West and St Clair Avenue to Damien Street, then move southward toward Bellesmythe Street to the Maraval Parkway. They will then move south on the Maraval Parkway to enter the stadium compound through the west gate and go around the outside the stadium to the Jean-Pierre Complex’s west court, which has been named the Socadrome. There, they will cross a stage and then exit the stadium compound through the east gate, moving north on Hamilton Holder/O’Conner Street and back to Ariapita Avenue. About 60 Woodbrook residents met with Port-of-Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee on Tuesday night and objected to the new route, saying Carnival should not extend beyond the capital city since it would result in extreme discomfort to them and particularly the elderly.
However, Tim Kee said he had no authority to stop the event if it were okayed by the NCC. The release addressed security, saying National Security Minister Gary Griffith, in discussion with members of the T&T Police Service (TTPS), had put measures in place to cater to the extended route. It said he assured that provisions would be made “to increase the compliment of protective personnel with members of the Defence Force to ensure the safety and security of masqueraders, spectators and residents of the Carnival city and its environs.”