Work on the North Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, the home for Carnival 2023, has been halted after the startling discovery that steel beam components for the construction of the stand have gone missing.
Workers had to down tools and leave the site yesterday, as work could not continue due to the missing steel.
Guardian Media understands from sources that the steel components may have gone missing while the components were stored outside the Carnival season.
This comes just two weeks before the biggest show carded for the Queen’s Park Savannah, the National Panorama Semifinals, is scheduled to take place.
Pan Trinbago is hoping to attract a bumper crowd for the event in celebration of its 60th anniversary.
Guardian Media spoke to one of the workers at the site yesterday. The worker, who did not want to be identified, said work was halted due to the missing steel, since it means they cannot continue mounting up other critical sections of the stand due to the missing parts. He added that the authorities had been trying to keep the issue quiet but also noted the workers were facing other issues at the site.
“We are building this stand, however, we are facing risky and unfavourable conditions and the contractors as well are not treating us fairly. We are faced with many challenges but we are here despite it all because we know our role is important to the country for the season, but we are speaking out so that the country can see the challenges that we are currently facing at the Queen’s Park Savannah,” the worker claimed.
While Guardian Media was visiting the North Stand site, there were no workers on-site and only a few officials.
Contacted on the issue, National Carnival Commission chairman Winston “Gyspy” Peters confirmed that the steel beams were, in fact, missing.
“I could not tell you the amount of steel that is missing or from where on the North Stand it came. At this moment, I am awaiting a report as to all that occurred in this matter so I cannot say more at this time on the matter,” Peters said.
He added, “The missing steel might delay the construction of North Stand somewhat, because it is something that we have to get done, but I am sure with the resilience that we have in this country and we will get it done.”
The NCC chairman noted that this issue was not unique to this year, as steel for the North Stand has been missing in the past with other versions of the North Stand design.
Guardian Media understands that Sheron Sampath Construction Limited was awarded the contract to construct the North Stand and the company is currently sourcing replacement steel components to replace the missing components for the completion of the North Stand.
The North Stand has not been in use since 2019, when the NCC opted not to construct it for festivities then citing financial costs.
Back then, Peters said the stand serves no useful purpose and is not an economically viable option for Carnival festivities because it “is basically used for just one event, and that is the Panorama—and after that, nothing happens. That stand costs too much to put up and take down.”
The North Stand is usually constructed for the Carnival period and then disassembled after it is concluded.