Sunday, January 21, 2018

Problems as Chaguanas mas returns to main road

...Bands refuse to cross stage, man loses part of ear in fight

A FIGHT that ended with one man losing part of his ear was among the problems that developed yesterday, as Chaguanas Carnival returned to the main road.

However, while the Chaguanas Carnival Committee was gratified to see a massive turnout of spectators, some bands refused to cross the stage, saying the venue's crammed quarters were unacceptable.

The Chaguanas Borough Corporation and the Carnival Committee this year decided to move the activities from Ramsarran Street, where they had been held for the past few years, back to the Chaguanas Main Road, in the hope of luring a bigger crowd.

By 5 a.m. yesterday, Chaguanas was already abuzz with Jouvert revellers ready to ramajay. By 6.30 a.m., spectators had also begun to flood the main road in front of the Chaguanas market where the stage was located. Most people who spoke to the Express said they were encouraged to come out after hearing that a bigger, better show was being put on this year.

Issues arose early on, though, as the borough's biggest Jouvert band, Junabo, which has over 800 members, refused to battle the crowd to make its way to the stage.

Bandleaders said the crowd was too thick and a number of their female participants had already been harassed by spectators. Later in the morning, some bigger bands made the same complaints and left the venue without crossing the stage, although some had made the journey from as far as Carapichaima.

Around 9 a.m. a fight broke out near the stage exit. As the thick crowd attempted to move away and police officers tried to get through the scuffle, a man was seen clutching the side of his head, which was bleeding profusely.

The man was eventually taken to the Chaguanas Health Centre in Montrose, where it was found that a part of his earlobe had been sliced off. However, the man left before he could be treated, giving only the name Richard to the police.

Police late yesterday afternoon released a suspect who had been held in connection with the incident, after the victim failed to return to press charges.

Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar said the incident would not dampen today's festivities and he praised the Chaguanas police for their corporation so far.

"It was unfortunate but we are going to continue and of course there will be a heavy police presence," Nagessar said.

Chaguanas West MP and one of the sponsors for Chaguanas Carnival, Jack Warner, said he was pleased with yesterday's turnout.

Warner said it was regrettable that some bands rejected the change in location, but he felt that Carnival belonged to the people and the main road made the activities more accessible.