Driving east on Friday afternoon to El Dorado, the traffic jam extended from the lighthouse, that falling symbol of Port-of-Spain superiority, into the first traffic light near Valsayn.
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Free media access to stadium venue
With the approval of an extended route and separate performance venue for Carnival bands Harts, Tribe, Yuma and Bliss on Carnival Tuesday, free accreditation will be granted to media for coverage, after a review process by the organising committee. Media liaison for Tribe, Danielle Hunte, said any media house, photography company or freelancer wishing to cover the bands at the Socadrome had to submit an e-mail with their information, and committee members would consider the request, and then grant access accordingly. “We are making way for over 100 media personnel to cover the stage,” she said by phone last Friday, warning there was limited space in the designated media area.
Asked about possible copyright issues, Hunte said it was important to distinguish between the rights of the organising bodies of T&T Carnival. “This (Socadrome) is a private initiative. And we are welcoming the media to be part of this initiative. We only have rights to Socadrome itself.” She added that when accreditation was granted, part of the communication given to media would express that organisers were not granting permission to sell any images captured on the stage. Last Thursday, Harts, Tribe, Yuma and Bliss were given approval by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) to parade along an extended route on Carnival Tuesday. It is estimated that over 15,000 masqueraders from the four bands will cross their separate stage. Harts will still cross the Savannah on Carnival Tuesday morning, then head to the Socadrome, at the Jean Pierre Complex.
The extended 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. This means 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 Savannah stage. This was not an issue, Hunte said, as feedback from masqueraders for Tribe varied from happy to cautious. When asked whether media coverage could suffer because of the division in masqueraders, Hunte said there were more than enough various forms of media to accommodate people at the same time at different places. “There is more than one camera out there,” she said, adding that Carnival should not be restricted to the one place.
Freelance photographer Russell Limchoy agreed, saying a division in media coverage should not be a problem, as there were enough resources to have both stages covered. When asked about how the decision was made to include these four bands in particular, Hunte explained the industry was small and a camaraderie developed over the years. “Post-Carnival there would be a lot of conversation about how to make this (Parade of Bands) better for masqueraders.” She said it was not about exclusivity toward other bands. “We want to be inclusive but the space is limited.” In a media release yesterday, the organisers of Socadrome said: “2014 is a pilot project and agreement to utilise the facility has stipulated that we must limit the number of masqueraders passing through the facility to prevent damage, etc. We want to be inclusive but space and time are limited.” Hunte added it was not about division but offering another option, which would ease congestion.
• Interested media and photographers should contact INFO@socadrome.com attention Danielle Hunte about accreditation.
• Children can enter Socadrome free of charge, once accompanied by an adult, who will pay $25. Tickets will be on sale at the venue on Carnival Tuesday.
• Paying patrons may bring small coolers to the venue
•No glass bottles are allowed. Drinks and food will also be on sale.
• The first band is expected to cross the stage by approximately 9 am and the facility will close at 4 pm.
Ministry of National Security Gary Griffith said the extended route would put no strain on law enforcement on Carnival Tuesday. In fact it would be the opposite, he said. Speaking by phone yesterday, Griffith said the previous situation where tens of thousands of people took the same route to cross same stage was a security nightmare. “It is harder to manoeuvre with such a jam,” he said. He explained that with heavy congestion of all the bands, it was more difficult for law enforcement to mobilise and patrol, and it was likely the new route would allow for a better security system throughout the city. “It will release the valve for the police service to be more mobile and responsive.”