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Hundreds turn up to view Canboulay
As golden rays of the morning sun streamed through the sky, the re-enactment of the Canboulay Riots unfolded before eager spectators who turned up at Piccadilly Greens in Port-of-Spain from as early as 4 am yesterday.
The event, annually put on by the National Carnival Commission (NCC), heralded the start of the much-anticipated Carnival weekend.
Even before the start, eager adults and children alike filled the bleachers at the venue and then surged towards the stage area to get a proper view of the performance.
Hundreds, including awe-struck tourists, witnessed the re-enactment which depicted uproar by the descendants of freed slaves against attempts by the British police to crack down on certain aspects of Canboulay.
These descendants would re-enact the time when the enslaved African was roused by the planter to douse the fires in the canefields to save the crop: cannes brulees or burning cane.
Chairman of the NCC, Kenny de Silva, yesterday hailed the event as a success, saying he was happy the show ran smoothly.
“Everything went well. There were no hiccups and the turnout was also very good. We have a reserved area for public officials and all those tickets went from very early,” de Silva said.
He said that given the smooth start it was a signal of better things to come as the reign of the Merry Monarch had finally arrived.
De Silva also thanked the NCC’s Regional Carnival Committee chairman Lennox Toussaint for ensuring the show was well organised.
The main focus of the re-enactment was that the revellers banded together in order to have their celebrations.
They were eventually recognised and granted two days to keep their Carnival as long as they did not cause any disruptions.
The slaves’ descendants were portrayed by individuals of several communities inclusive of Laventille and Malick.
After the re-enactment, stick fighters, drummers, blue devils, Dame Lorraines and other traditional Carnival characters took to the stage to perform, signalling the start of the revelry which ends at midnight Tuesday.