It's utterly annoying to listen to bandleaders carp and condemn the government and the National Carnival Commission (NCC) year after year for the inefficiencies of the parade of bands in Port of Spain.
While the NCC has its role to play—to plan, organise, and police the mas—stakeholders, including the National Carnival Bands Association, also has its role to play, and inherently must accept some of the blame for route congestion and protracted delays.
Some of the problems in the past: bands ignoring the rules and extending their allotted time on stage, bands going off route to butt ahead of other bands, some treacherously planting their banners at vantage points ahead of their bands, employing oversized music trucks that are unable to manoeuvre the narrow streets of Port of Spain. Were these problems created by the NCC?
The size of the streets have not changed over the years. What has changed are the sizes of the bands, additional bands, music trucks, and the "all-inclusive band culture", which warrants additional vehicles and equipment, and too, producing a Carnival band, is now big business.
Perhaps there is need to tailor Carnival to suit the parade route.
We have an attitude in T&T, especially at Carnival time, that we own the place, and we react violently to anyone or any institution that enforces law and order. Also, there are too many stakeholders in Carnival with opposing views.
The NCC can sit and plan all it wants; and I am sure it consults all stakeholders. But if masqueraders and band leaders don't adhere to rules and regulations it will be the same chaos year after year.