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NCBA head opposes change to children mas rule
National Carnival Bandleaders Association (NCBA) president David Lopez says it is wrong to allow children to compete in the Senior Parade of the Bands competition.
Lopez, in an interview on Thursday, commented on the National Carnival Commission’s (NCC) revision of a rule that prohibited children from playing mas in competing bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the NCC announced a revision to rule nine of the competition handbook which initially allowed a limit of two per cent for masqueraders under 18 playing in competing bands.
This rule was a revision of the NCBA’s rule that prevented all children from participating.
The new revision allows bands a limit of 30 per cent under 18s.
Lopez said there was a problem with children’s bands entering both the junior and senior competitions. He said the Monday and Tuesday competitions were for adults and inappropriate for children.
“The environment with the alcohol and other things; if you as a parent decide that you playing mas and you want to carry your child in a band it is a different thing than bringing a band with a majority of children,” Lopez said.
He said the problem was lawlessness as certain people didn’t want to abide by the rules.
“If you have a competition there must be rules and it must be fair across the board.
“What is interesting is that they created a rule saying two per cent and that didn’t sit well with certain people.”
Lopez said it was strange that the revision of the rule was made after registration for the competition had closed.
He said it was totally wrong for children to be in a senior competition.
“If a parent wants to bring their child to be exposed to all the things on Carnival that is your responsibility, children should be allowed to be children as long as possible.”
“There is a junior competition for children. Should adults be able to play in junior bands? When will we stop? We know we are living in a lawless society, why must people be allowed to bend the rules?”
He criticised the statement from NCC Chairman Kenny De Silva that the revision of the rule was to let families play together.
“NCC has invested $18 million in regional carnival to teach children the skill. They will be on the street in a different environment. Over $18 million on regional Carnival and the children will display their arts, the jab jab, pierrot grenade.
“There is no alcohol in this environment. There is no police with machine guns. That is the space for them.”