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TOP's political "licking" stars in San Fernando Jouvert

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

THE Tobago Organisation of the People's (TOP) failure to secure a
single seat in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election, was the
main topic at this year's Jouvert celebrations in San Fernando yesterday.

People's National Movement (PNM) candidate Hilton Sandy's
controversial "Calcutta" statement and allegations related to an
alleged incident between San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali
and his girlfriend, were also popular portrayals.

Large crowds gathered at Harris Promenade, San Fernando, long before Muradali declared the proceedings open at 6.25 a.m.
San Fernando West Member of Parliament Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan wished patrons a safe Carnival.

But it was not until 20 minutes later that spectators got a glimpse of the first individual to cross the main judging point.
Tyrone Nanan portrayed "Me Pad-nah ship", as he tugged along a yellow boat behind him.
He was followed by the first band, D' Playboys, which delivered a presentation of politics and social issues.

The masqueraders portrayed "Ah gone blind looking for leadership", "Ah map from London,
De broom from Tobago...It's a clean sweep" and "Machel New Cell #1800 Lock Up". Defending champions, De Blue Boys, led by Dave Ramsingh presented "Happiness Killing We".

The band has been in existence for the past 30 years and have been winners of the San Fernando Old Mas competition on several occasions with their many creative portrayals.

The band presented 43 individuals including "Calcutta Ahoy", "Tim Gopeeson put up ah stall - Hot Doubles, plenty pepper and planass", "De Mayor have me love struck", "Volney begging for his job back", Max Ready to change", "London Real Ha-Pee", "Kamla Topless in Tobago", "Mach-L and Kern-L sharing ah cell" and "Sandy foils the Calcutta invasion".

The band's presentation for Queen of J'ouvert was titled "Verna Farce - I in charge of the Cabinet....My Cabinet of Substance Made Me Queen". Masquerader Sheila Jackson portrayed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with liquor cabinet attached to her back.

De Blue Boys king portrayal was titled "Rowley Ready to be Prime Minister".

Oma Panday, wife of former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, was among the masqueraders. The pan competition was also judged at Harris Promenade, with San City Steel Symphony and Junior Sammy Group of Companies Skiffle Steel Orchestra among the early participants.

Mayor Muradali along with several San Fernando City Corporation councillors, joined San City Steel Symphony on stage during their presentation of Lord Kitchener's "Iron Man".

Muradali said funding for Carnival celebrations in San Fernando this year was $2 million, a 100 per cent increase. And he promised that winners of the competitions held in San Fernando would receive increased cash prizes.

Muradali said for the first time in many years, Carnival bands would be judged at Skinner Park, San Fernando.

Security was tight at the four judging points - Harris Promenade, High Street, Coffee Street and at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) south campus.
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