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...Bandleader ‘didn’t approve’ portrayal

Mas Passion bandleader Gerard Weekes yesterday distanced himself and his organisation from the presentation made under his band’s name at the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) Senior Kings and Queens competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, on Tuesday evening.
An irate Weekes said he never gave any permission for Keston Benthum’s ill-fated portrayal of “Adoni—Father of Love and Life”. In fact, he said he only became aware the portrayal was being made under his band’s name following the printing of the results of the semi-final round of the competition in last Saturday’s Express.
“I met with the individual [Benthum] after I saw the Express and indicated my displeasure. I do not understand how the NCBA could allow a king into their competition without any signed authorisation from the bandleader. They have issued some draconian rules and regulations and now they are breaking their own rules,” Weekes said via a phone interview.
The experienced designer, who has previously worked with Brian MacFarlene, said he is calling for a full investigation into the NCBA’s due process.
“How could that costume get into the competition without my approval? I am investigating that matter with the NCBA,” he said.
Benthum, however, is adamant he had verbal permission from the Mas Passion bandleader. “Let me be clear. This project was a solo project under my company, Kstar Production. I thought they (Mas Passion) were the best band to associate with because his band didn’t really have a king,” he said.
“I don’t want to go do down the road of arguing over who said what, but what he is saying is not entirely true. He did give permission.”
NCBA president David Lopez yesterday said there is a registration process in place where accredited members of a band executive enter their respective kings and queens into the competition. He said he would have to request the relevant paperwork to confirm whose signature authorised Benthum’s entry.
“I don’t have that information on hand from where I sit. I am not in charge of the process. It is an independent process,” said Lopez.
“I am not concerned with what Gerard Weekes has to say. I am saying I would have to request the information and look at the registration of the information to see whose signature is on that document,” he concluded.
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