Carnival 2017 boasts bigger bands
At a stakeholder readiness meeting hosted by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) on Tuesday, NCC Chairman Kenneth De Silva said it was clear that there was a growing interest in the festival.
As it relates to small bands, he noted that 80 bands were registered for the Junior category in 2016, which has increased to 100 for 2017. In the Senior bands category, 62 bands are registered for 2016 – a significant increase from 45 registered for the previous year.
Arts and Culture Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly agreed that Carnival was growing in size, lauding the youth participation in the various Carnival competitions this year.
The Minister commended the efforts of event organisers and the youth participants, adding that she was heartened as well by the quality of their offerings.
Appealing to the public to ensure that T&T’s traditions are maintained, she encouraged families to come out and witness “authentic” traditional mas at the North Stand, free of charge, on Carnival Monday.
Both De Silva and Gadsby-Dolly urged mas players to enjoy themselves – but not at the expense of others, particularly those not participating in the festivities.
“I want to ask bandleaders to ensure that they do not deface people’s properties. It is not right…the protective services and the various agencies are going to be monitoring those situations…” De Silva said.
“Let us ensure that in our enjoyment, it doesn’t come at the detriment of someone else,” the Minister stressed.
Decibel levels are also to be monitored, with fines to be imposed on bandleaders responsible for these infractions.
The Minister and the NCC Chairman called on bandleaders to ensure that people’s properties and parade routes respected.
In terms of the safety and security of masqueraders, alternate Gold Commander in charge of Carnival 2017 operations ACP John Richardson assured that the Police Service is prepared to provide security to all citizens to ensure an enjoyable and peaceful Carnival.
Patrols, police exercises and other crime-fighting initiatives are expected to take place during this period.
Leave has been restricted to officers from Saturday (February 25) to Wednesday (March 1) in an effort to “maximise human resources”.
Referring to the murder of Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya last year, De Silva said the country is “resilient” and festivities would not be affected by that “incident”, as he believes that this year’s festivities will be one of the “better ones”.
With the current crime situation, the NCC Chairman said the people want Carnival 2017 to happen, and it is "necessary for people to breathe".