“It’s not about the route, it was all about the prize money,” San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello declared as he expressed disappointment with the decision by Carnival bandleader Aaron Kallicharan to boycott judging.
Regrello said the route on Carnival Tuesday offered four options. The first was Coffee Street, Cipero Street (north to south up to Sutton Street only), Mucurapo Street, Library Corner and Harris Promenade; the second Chancery Lane, High Street, Cofee Street and then to the Promenade; the third Carib Street, La Coulee Street, Kelshell Street and Hobson Street and finally Rienzi Kirton Highway, Independence Avenue, Sutton Street and then to Harris Promenade.
He noted that all of the routes were mapped out two weeks ago and decided upon by all bandleaders and vendors.
Told that Kallicharan experienced a bottleneck having come across another band heading east to west on the Promenade, Regrello said, “A bottleneck? Where? I don’t know anything about that.”
He added that Kallicharan was supposed to be heading along Independence Avenue from south to north.
Regrello said San Fernando has been good to the Kallicharan and in return the band had been good to San Fernandians and this should have accounted for something this year.
“Kallicharan owed it to people of San Fernando to cross the judging point and not coming here was a disservice to San Fernando,” Regrello said.
Asked why there was a boycott, Regrello said, “There is no prize structure because of the allocation we got from the NCC. Based on what we had available there would have been an appearance fee. We told them that we will seek additional funds and as of now there may be a first and second place right now,” Regrello said.
He said the judges decided that coming down the Promenade was the better idea because they could get a good view of the bands. As to the vendors, Regrello said they too were informed of the changes to vending two weeks ago. He said many vendors had already made payments to business owners on Cipero Street who rent out the government pavement and contribute nothing to San Fernando Carnival.
Regrello also said a decrease in bands from 14 to 12 was not much of a difference given the state of the economy.