Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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More congestion expected along parade route
Masqueraders and bandleaders are expecting more congestion along the parade route today as the five big party bands are set to join the traditional parade route later this evening, after parading across their own private “Socadrome” stage at the Jean Pierre Complex. This apprehension comes after weeks of debate and discussion to determine the route and, even after then, acting Prime Minister Prakash Ramadhar stepped in to quash the National Carnival Commission (NCC) decision to reverse the route. The advent of the Socadrome was expected to ease the congestion for today’s parade but party band masqueraders have called for a return to the Carnival Mecca.
Police, National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) officials and onlookers agreed that the congestion was “not as bad” during yesterday’s procession through downtown Port-of-Spain, even though Tribe and Bliss crossed that judging point an hour after the competition opened. It was a trickle of bands that paraded before scanty crowds in the downtown stands. The larger audience remained along the route watching the bands. After weeks of debate, discussions and hiccups, the major non-competing party bands—Tribe, Yuma, Bliss, Harts and Passion—did parade around the traditional route but did not linger as years before and left the route more or less congestion-free, except for the usual bottleneck just at the entrance of the Queen’s Park Savannah stage.
They will parade today at a private stage built at the Jean Pierre Complex and though previously denied, have been granted the authorisation to return to the parade route. After much back and forth, the bands are set to parade on their own stage at the Jean Pierre Complex and also to rejoin the traditional competition route which some masqueraders are concerned will add to the same congestion the experienced in previous years.
Machel leads Road March
The downtown officials revealed that an unofficial count put Power Soca winner Machel Montano’s Ministry of Road far ahead of the competition to claim this year’s Road March title. Bands began crossing the downtown stage just after 11 am yesterday and almost all accompanying music trucks played Montano’s seemingly runaway hit dubbed MOR. Montano, already a multiple road march winner, has already taken the Power Soca Monarch crown.