Trinidad Carnival returns to the Savannah

Posted by on October 12, 2010

By LEISELLE MARAJ for Trinidad Newsday Sept 2nd

Trinidad 2010 Mardis Gras_ (80)BANDLEADERS and other Carnival stakeholders yesterday expressed excitement and enthusiasm for the return of the Parade of the Bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday to the big stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston Peters yesterday said government will ensure the necessary resources will be used to ensure Carnival is “given back to the people”. Plans for the then PNM administration’s National Carnival Centre for the Savannah are to be scrapped and government intends on returning to stakeholder consultations to include local input in the construction of the project.

Peters spoke to reporters after handing over $1 million towards the completion of the Little Carib Theatre restoration project at the theatre located at the corner of Robert and White Streets, Port-of-Spain. He said the main stage will be rebuilt and described this as a step in the right direction for Carnival after the parade of the bands was relocated to the streets of Port-of-Spain from 2007.

Speaking to Newsday yesterday, four-time winner of the Large Band of the Year award, Brian MacFarlane said he has been hearing about the return to the stage for a few weeks. “I am very enthused and excited about it. I think everyone who is a part of carnival wants to be where they could be seen by international media,” he said.

He explained he offered government to work free of charge to design a route which would allow the free flow of mas bands from Charlotte Street to the stage at the Savannah. President of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), Owen Hinds, said the association will be very happy to see Carnival returned to the savannah. “When we left the Savannah three years ago, we were hoping to go back. As far as we are concerned we will welcome that move and masqueraders will be happy. The fact that we have a stage to parade on for Carnival makes us different to everyone else in the world,” he said.

He added the NCBA however will like to see Carnival facilities constructed in the near future. National Carnival Development Foundation(NCDF) President, Donald Little, said he had mixed feelings about the return of the stage.

“Yes, I want to see the return of the stage. It added something to Carnival. The average mas player who performs on the stage is transformed. However in the past we have had complaints because of the length of time it takes for large bands to cross the stage which results in congestion on Charlotte Street,” he said. Little added this challenge needs to be addressed before the next Carnival Monday and Tuesday through meetings between bandleaders and those in charge of ensuring order during Carnival Monday and Tuesday activities.

The parade of the bands last took to the stage on Carnival Monday and Tuesday in 2006, after which it, along with the Grand Stand, was demolished to make way for the National Carnival Centre. Work has not begun on the Centre to date. Peters said while a centre will be built, it would not be constructed according to existing proposed plans.

Source: Trinidad Newsday

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