THE National Carnival Commission (NCC) has defended its move to change the parade route in Port of Spain this year, saying in a media release yesterday that bandleaders were consulted on the possible re-route since last year.
The NCC has been criticised by bandleaders in the past few weeks for its proposal to change the course of the parade of bands, with some saying that the change was being imposed without enough time for bands to adjust.
The Commission said yesterday its engineers have only now received data from the bands that was asked for since January 2013.
“Progress cannot be made without the cooperation of the bandleaders,” the NCC stated.
“In January 2013, NCC engaged C&H Associates to consider an alternative route. Since then, bandleaders—regardless of affiliation with the NCBA, National Carnival Development Foundation and TT Carnival Bands Association—were given the opportunity to discuss its feasibility.
“It was only until the beginning of January 2014, one year later, that the engineers received the data required. There was a noted reluctance on bandleaders’ part to contribute. Ironically, while some bandleaders have been very vocal in their criticism about the alternative route, we are yet to receive their solutions.”
The National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) has communicated with bandleaders, the NCC said, but the Association has only been able to do so much outreach and the Commission is “taking up the slack”.
Outreach to bandleaders continues, the NCC stated, as per the NCBA’s Parade of the Bands Committee meetings between the bandleaders and C&H Associates, which was hosted by the NCC and held at the VIP Lounge of the Queen’s Park Savannah on January 8 and 16, 2014.
“One-on-one discussions have also been scheduled to give bandleaders a final opportunity to discuss their concerns about the alternative route,” the Commission stated.
The Commission said it was determined to get the new route in gear for Carnival 2014, which is being observed on Monday March 3 and Tuesday 4, but the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is yet to “accept, action and manage” the change.
“That is the only way we can proceed,” the Commission stated. “In preparing the new route, a main concern is the trucks that accompany the Carnival bands, since they are one of the major causes of congestion for masqueraders. But that leaves the route organisers between a rock and hard place—because these trucks, as cumbersome as they are, are essential for mas players and we cannot discount the value these vehicles provide.”
The NCC said it also acknowledges the “growing trend of entrepreneurship and independent business development that have given rise to the concept that Carnival is more than a festival but an industry that generates employment, income and profit”.
The Commission, with the support of the Government, now intends to measure the full potential of Carnival in a way that allows the country to make the most effective policy for its development, the release stated.
The focus will be on employment, foreign exchange earnings, private sector development and social and governance benefits.
“In the meantime, NCC continues to push ahead with the production of Carnival 2014,” the Commission stated. “We are also concentrating on other events, such as the return of the Calypso Monarch Finals on Dimanche Gras night, the re-enactment of the Canboulay Riots on Carnival Friday, the revival of traditional mas through the regional Carnival committees.
“And so far, these seem to be on track.”
The Commission stated further that the launch of the regional Carnival earlier this month at Edinburgh 500 was well received.
SOURCE TRINIDAD EXPRESS