For the second time in two years, the prize structure for the Play Whe International Soca Monarch (ISM) has been cut due to a reduction in Government sponsorship.
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Tim Kee to probe judging complaints
Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee last night promised to launch a probe into the NCBA’s judging criteria for this year’s Parade of the Bands competition, after several bands complained that they lost points because they started in downtown Port-of-Spain instead of at the first judging point in Woodbrook. Speaking specifically to a complaint from Rosalind Gabriel, Tim Kee said it seemed NCBA president David Lopez was once again making far reaching decisions which could bring the competition into disrepute. “It is absolutely ridiculous. Contrary to what he believes, that man (Lopez) is not God. He feels he has the most power and could just do anything and get away with it, but I will be thoroughly investigating the matter.”
In an earlier interview, Tim Kee had said he had no problem with bands requesting their scoresheets if there were issues with the judging. “If fact, it would only serve to add to the issue of transparency and accountability,” he said. Also contacted last night after the T&T Guardian realised there was widespread discontent with the results, NCBA chairman David Lopez initially said he had no answers. Pressed for a comment, however, he said, “You feel you go just look at somebody and disqualify them? I don’t know what you expect me to say. “People get disqualified and you calling me on that? You cannot expect me to make a comment on that, so I have nothing to say.” But earlier in the day when told of a query from Trini Revellers bandleader David Cameron, Lopez had said Cameron, like everyone else, was within his right to challenge any decision. Lopez said the All Stars’s victory came 51 years after the last steelband copped a large band title. He said in 1963 Silver Stars won the title, the first and only time a steelband had won this premier mas competition.
Silver Stars portrayed Gulliver’s Travels, designed by Russell Charter, back then. The Newtown-based steel orchestra also ran away with the 1963 People’s Choice award. Trinidad All Stars manager Beresford Hunt, who was on his way to the airport when the T&T Guardian contacted him after the results were announced yesterday, said he had seen victory coming. “I am quite elated,” Hunt said. “We came third last year so we were basically knocking at the door. Normally we do two portrayals—one Monday and one Tuesday. This year we merged both and mixed everything.” He said this year there was a committee who designed the costumes and this paid off. Also happy about the All Stars victory was Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz, who said it was a win for all steelbands. “Trinidad All Stars has been one of the bands which has been very committed to the mas in Carnival,” Diaz said. “I would like to celebrate this not just for All Stars but as one for the steelband movement on the whole. To see that we have won the mas category for band of the year, this is very rewarding for the band.”