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NCC chairman: New Carnival route committee to be established

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

The National Carnival Commission (NCC) wants the route for the parade of the bands settled no later than five months before Carnival 2015, NCC chairman Allison Demas said yesterday.

Speaking at the NCC consultation at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain just before the findings and recommendations of the motion study commissioned by the NCC to resolve issues around the parade route was presented, Demas said: “Immediately following these consultations the NCC will propose the establishment of a National Carnival Route Development Committee that must ensure that all matters of route are settled no later than five months before the upcoming Carnival.

All meetings of the route must have a clearly stated purpose and must be properly scheduled. All stakeholders must be given a fair chance to participate in route development and take responsibility for the results.”

The public, she said, will have access to technical information on the route and the proceedings of meetings will be published.

Demas explained that the NCC’s consultative process was designed with the specific intention to give stakeholders the best chance to work together and the Carnival industry the best chance to make it big on the global stage.

“We are pushing for at least a five per cent growth in the Carnival industry next year. For that to happen, however, we must cooperate.

We need a route that is wanted yet development orientated it must be flexible and susceptible to change when the need arises. Starting from these consultations the NCC will move to improve the balance between the efforts by the NCC to exercise its legal statutory authority and its efforts to cooperate with stakeholders to meet their expectations and ensure their rights.”

The data from the study which was initially commissioned in 2013, to try to improve the management and the route of the parade of the bands, was not used last year because of time constraints, Demas said. It was carried out again during Carnival 2014.

Dr Ray Furlonge, the traffic engineer who carried out the study using GPS devices on trucks and marshalls within the various 26 bands, presented the findings of the study at the consultations and showed that traffic and other violations along the route led to congestion and lulls in the flow of the parade. He then presented three alternatives to the current route which he described as the alternatives—making the route longer and taking the parade completely out of downtown, the reverse alternative which means the route would go clockwise instead of anti-clockwise, and the lottery option which means allowing bands to pull for the chance to parade on either Monday or Tuesday of Carnival and not both days.

Furlong, who admitted that there were issues with all of the alternatives, then carried out a simulation exercise with four people showing the rate of the flow of the bands on Carnival which he said was currently one inch per second because of masqueraders interacting with spectators in the monitoring zone—the drag—just before stepping onto the Savannah stage, as well as other violations in the rules.

“We know Carnival is not normal walking but the normal walking is eight or nine inches per second for someone who is disabled or 12 inches so we are moving about half the rate of a disabled person on average. Is it any surprise that we have these types of delays?” he asked.

Suggestions, he said included spectator relocation from the monitoring zone, vendor relocation from the monitoring zone and installation of spider cam technology.

“Put (spider cams) all over the monitoring zone; from Memorial Park right into the monitoring zone. Retooling of the marshalls to be able to effectively manage the monitoring zone and enforcement of the monitoring zone,” Furlonge advised.
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