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New routes announced for Parade of the Bands

 Bandleaders reached consensus yesterday on a new route for bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday 2014, a news release from the National Carnival Commission (NCC) said yesterday. 

The release said bandleaders discussed the new plan at a meeting facilitated by the NCC, at the VIP Room of the Grand Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah. It was part two of a meeting held last week, where the new plan, proposed by the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) was presented by engineer Rae Furlonge and Dereck Hamilton of C&H Associates.

National Security Minister Gary Griffith, Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz, NCC Chairman Allison Demas, NCBA President David Lopez, and NCBA-POBC chairman Sam Lewis sat at the head table, as Derek Hamilton presented the benefits of the proposed plan once again, this time addressing specific concerns raised by bandleaders at last week’s session. 

Hamilton explained, using a map, that changing the flow of the parade from an anti-clockwise to a clockwise direction would have several advantages, including:

* A larger area leading to the Savannah stage will mean increased capacity for queuing and  less congestion. 

* Bands approaching the stage will not be close to the Port of Spain General Hospital. Therefore music trucks will be able to play, adding to the experience of masqueraders. 

* Bands leaving the stage will have a choice of distributary routes, creating a “release node” instead of a bottleneck. 

Hamilton said windbreakers would be constructed to prevent masqueraders, especially in large costumes, from being affected or endangered by wind. 

He said his team was aware of points along the new route that might present issues for bands. He said these would be manned by route marshalls and police. 

 Griffith said he had met with the Commissioner of Prisons and had  got clearance for bands to pass along Frederick Street. Cadiz called for a spirit of compromise and cooperation. 

Hamilton said he was willing to meet one-on-one with bandleaders to discuss the particular concerns of their bands on the road.

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