A news report on a rat invasion in Port-of-Spain conjured images of citizens cornered on filthy city streets by mobs of black, glistening rats.
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Masqueraders in the dark
While an ease in congestion on the roads on Carnival Tuesday could be expected as a result of the Socadrome initiative, the question of giving certain bands a special route has brought up questions of divisions among masqueraders. “This doesn't seem to me like an effort to solve the issues at hand. It seems like another way to promote elitism. Battle lines are being drawn, yes,” one masquerader said on Facebook. NCC chair Allison Demas addressed this issue in the release: It said: “While we acknowledge that we must be careful that the route extension does not bring an elitist division in Carnival, the NCC is guided by professional engineers who see a deeper merit to this route extension. “It is expected to alleviate congestion, reducing the masquerader count at the Savannah by approximately 15,000 persons.”
When the Socadrome idea was announced earlier this month, some masqueraders took to Facebook to ask why route changes were being made after costumes were already purchased. “Always last minute. It would be nice to know this when registering so (a) decision can be made,” one person commented. One Bliss masquerader added: “People pay real money then to find out last minute they not crossing the Savannah. Hope I misunderstanding this ting, otherwise I go be real mad if Bliss not crossing the Savannah.” However, Edmund Seow, a Yuma committee member, said the band did not expect any backlash from their masqueraders, who were accustomed to skipping the main stage anyway. “We chose this because of the congestion at Queen’s Park Savannah,” he said.
“Why spend six to seven hours trying to go to the Savannah? We are not interested in the competition aspect of the parade.” Seow said the nature of Yuma mas was to always be on the move.
The costs associated with Socadrome will be absorbed by the bands, the NCC said. “Neither the State, the NCC nor the NCBA (National Carnival Bands Association) will have any costs attached to this route extension,” the release said. With respect to security, Seon said there was no issue as bands provided their own.