K2K Alliance and Partners’ inaugural win as Overall Band of the Year was bewildering for many bandleaders, not because they felt they weren’t deserved winners but because many bands had no clue the new category existed.
“Based on my little communication with certain bandleaders (none of them) were informed. At the end of the day, even the band who won the category from what I understand, even they weren’t aware that this was happening,” Ronnie and Caro bandleader Ronnie McIntosh, who had won Band of the Year automatically as the large band winner for the previous three years.
K2K bandleaders, twins Kathy and Karen Norman, also confirmed they had seen the new category on the National Carnival Commission (NCC) website but had little clue what it was about.
Lost Tribe creative director Valmiki Maharaj also confirmed he was not aware of the new category, while many masqueraders in the band initially believed they had won Band of the Year only to learn that K2K had that honour under the new ruling.
The announcement was a shock to the media as well, as reporters learnt about the category for the first time during the NCC’s announcement of results on Wednesday. NCC officials confirmed they did not make a public announcement about the new category, nor did they inform the media about the change. This fact also worried McIntosh.
“It’s kind of weird that even though you had that meeting and you made that decision, at least the media should be informed so that even if there was a meeting and I wasn’t present then at least when you inform the media at least the public is informed,” said McIntosh, who said he had learnt about the change in designation for medium-sized band in a similar manner years ago, which prompted his change to the large band category.
“How it came out, it was like we not telling you what we plan to do, we telling you what we did. Basically, all I could say, if there are minutes of that meeting it would be nice to see some minutes to see who was present and who is this panel,” McIntosh said, urging officials to be more transparent with their decision making.
Mc Intosh still congratulated K2K Alliance and the Lost Tribe on their victories, although he reiterated that the NCC’s approach to it was problematic.
However, NCC commissioner Rosalind Gabriel said the new category was not hidden from bandleaders.
“It’s a little strange to hear that because it was in the rule book. A list of all the competitions being judged for Band of the Year was in the rule book and that’s there. It’s listed there but probably they missed it,” said Gabriel, who clarified that the Overall Band of the Year was selected by a panel of 10 judges from the winners of each category, mini, small, medium and large.
She said the change was made to give further inspiration to masmakers.
“We wanted to give an equal chance to all. We felt it would encourage innovation too and it would encourage the medium, small and mini bands because now they know they could win more than mini band or small band or medium band of the year.”