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Bandleader: Win not based on merit

By Michelle Loubon

 The possibility exists that Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra did not win the Band of the Year title on merit but based on penalties and the disqualification of other competing bands.

This claim was made yesterday by president of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bandleaders’ Association (TTCBA) Gerard Weekes.

In a telephone interview, Weekes said: “I have no problem with All Stars winning Band of the Year. I am saying the possibility of them winning it was not based on merit. It was based on penalties and disqualification of other competing bands. 

“One of the things that stood out was All Stars was able to win the Creative category ahead of many bands who had much greater creativity. They had sailor caps and epaulettes. It won the Most Creative Cate­­gory and went on to win Band of the Year.” 

Weekes added: “I came third in the Creativity category (Mas Passion). It is clear something is wrong. It means a number of bands have been disqualified or have lost points based on the draconian rules that were applied by the NCBA (National Carnival Bandleaders Association). 

“Some of the bands are speaking with their lawyers or attempting to have their score sheets to understand where they lost their points. They are now seeking redress. K2K is also querying the rules.” 

On a personal note, Weekes said: “I do not have a concern. I do not have a query. I am a fun band. But being the leader of several bands, I share their concern. I am like their trade unionist. I know I would be the first to be victimised.”

 Asked if he had attempted to contact NCBA president David Lopez, Weekes said: “No”. 

Weekes also said Silver Stars was the first steelband to ever win a Band of the Year title in 1963 with Gulli­ver’s Travels. 

 
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