Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Socadrome to offer different view

...but MP has problems with route

 SOCADROME offers a new venue where spectators can enjoy the presentations from the bands participating in the pilot project, a statement from the organisers said yesterday.

“Children will enter the Socadrome free once accompanied by an adult who will pay just $25 to enjoy the action from the Socadrome stage at the Jean Pierre Complex,” media liaison Danielle Hunte said. “There will be more than just Harts, Tribe, Bliss and YUMA at the Socadrome on Carnival Tuesday. Individual characters, Carnival kings and queens and even presentations by Rosalind Gabriel will grace the new stage.” 

Socadrome comprises bandleaders from Bliss, Harts, Tribe and YUMA who have come together to offer the public a new option to view mas for Carnival 2014. Located at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain, the Socadrome stage will be crossed by over 15,000 masqueraders from these four organising bands on Carnival Tuesday, the statement from the organisers said.

The route to access the Socadrome has been traditionally used by the Parade of the Bands for many years, the statement said. The move to use this option is hoped to ease the congestion on the roads leading to the Queen’s Park Savannah on Carnival Tuesday morning which, organisers hope, will be to the benefit all Carnival bands this year. Once each of the four bands crosses the Socadrome stage, they will re-enter the official parade route and, if the route is free flowing, will continue on to various points on the route, the statement said.

However Woodbrook residents whose homes fall within the planned route are against the plan and yesterday Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald said  that she stands firmly with the residents of Woodbrook who are objecting to the planned use of the streets of the residential area on Carnival Tuesday by the bandleaders. The bandleaders approached and yesterday received permission from the National Carnival Commission (NCC) for the alternative route and venue.

“The approval given by the NCC to parade along this extended route on Carnival Tuesday without consultation with the residents  is another slap in the face to  the residents of Woodbrook,” she said in a release yesterday.

Noting that the bands presented this proposal since January 30, according to the NCC, McDonald said that in all of that time, no one sought to meet the residents to explain the plan or seek to understand the impact such a plan could have on them.  

“To make matters worse, it now seems that Gary Griffith, National Security Minister, has bypassed the Port of Spain City Corporation and Woodbrook residents to cater for a select group of mas players.  Everyone  supports moves to free up congestion in the area of the Queen’s Park Savannah, but not at the expense of a residential community.  Some years ago, Jouvert celebrations were discontinued in St Clair after complaints from the residents. Woodbrook residents have a right to be affronted by this latest incursion on their right to peace, quiet and the enjoyment of their property.  The use by the bands of the proposed route can be expected to leave a trail of noise, vehicle exhaust, garbage and urine through the area.  The suggestion that more police and army will be deployed into these residential areas  to  ensure the safety and security of masqueraders, spectators and residents is hardly comforting,” McDonald stated. 

She added: “The time is long past for a more proactive discussion of the future direction of this important cultural festival; the staging of Carnival cannot continue to be an annual bacchanal of reactive decisions for short term impact that leave openings for solutions without consultation by omnipotent politicians. We need to look carefully at what might be all of the reasons  these bandleaders have chosen to abandon the heart of Port of Spain and deprive the families who come from all over Trinidad and Tobago to enjoy this free entertainment largely facilitated by the State.”