Sunday, February 25, 2018

'SuperBlue will destroy us'


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Mas bandleaders and the kings and queens of Carnival believe that should they have to go up against the International Soca Monarch finals on Carnival Friday, just having SuperBlue competing will completely destroy their show as people will opt to see the five-time Soca Monarch rather than mas in the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

"Think about it. The King and Queen of Carnival competitions are in stages—preliminaries, semis and finals. People attending the preliminaries will see all the kings and queens and those going to the semis will see all those making it through to that stage," said Gerard Weekes, interim chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bands Association (TTCBA), at a media conference yesterday at St Crispin's Church, Woodbrook.

"In the finals they will be seeing the top competitors, but at the Soca Monarch they will see the return of SuperBlue after years. What you think they will do? We will lose."

Weekes said the TTCBA has proposed to the National Carnival Commission (NCC) that the King and Queen of Carnival finals be moved to Carnival Wednesday, which will allow them the comfort of not coming up against the Soca Monarch. He said even though the Traditional Mas finals are also on that night the two competitions will compliment one another.

Children's mas bandleader Rosalind Gabriel added that the finals of the Junior King and Queen of Carnival also take place the same night of the senior competition, which, if held on Carnival Friday, will be too stressful for the children.

Gabriel said they will have to be at the Savannah as early as 3 p.m. for the 6 p.m. show and after competing at whatever hour have to be back at the Savannah for 7 a.m. on Carnival Saturday.

The TTCBA was formed last July by former members of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) who left that organisation because they were displeased over how the NCBA was running its affairs.

Yesterday's media conference was to officially introduce the TTCBA to the media and general public, as well as to announce that unless its concerns are dealt with by the NCBA and NCC, its membership will boycott the King and Queen of the Bands competition.

Weekes, who portrays the king for Brian MacFarlane's band, said more than 20 popular kings and queens, including himself, Wade Madray, Curtis Eustace, Stephen Derek, Leroy Preito, Rosemarie "Kuru" Jaggessar and Patricia Bailey will bow out of this year's competition if the concerns of the TTCBA are not addressed.

Weekes said among the concerns are having the finals of the competition on Carnival Friday, the same night of the Soca Monarch; the issue of an increase in prize money for the various competitions; payment of royalties to mas bandleaders, kings, queens and designers.