CARNIVAL band Kalicharan, which has won band of the year title in San Fernando multiple times, chose not to portray its 2019 presentation “#Addictive” before the judging point in the southern City yesterday.
Band manager Aaron Kalicharan said they bypassed the judging point for safety reasons and also in consideration for the patients at the San Fernando General Hospital.
He said they wanted to be part of the route that was outlined by Mayor Junia Regrello and officials but instead used a contingency plan the band put in place in case there was a backlog along the way. “We are solution oriented and we raised the concerns and they said this is what they can do, for the best, for 2019 ... They said that they were trying to facilitate everyone’s request and they were doing their best ... They’re accustomed doing something really good in San Fernando. Hopefully in 2020, they can look at a continuous improvement plan.”
Kalicharan said the 2019 route included heading along Rienzi Kirton to the sole judging point in-front City Hall at Harris Promenade then onto Coffee and Cipero and Sutton Streets, San Fernando.
He however said the band spent almost an hour on Rienzi Kirton before they decided to head along Chancery Lane onto High Street, San Fernando. He said the band’s concern “was based on the safety of the masquerades because we’re looking at 40 foot trailers parked on an incline for a while just before you go on to the (Harris) Promenade. So we looked at safety and trying to treat Carnival as a business and trying to be professional leaders, you have to understand your clientele.”
He said they also looked at the proximity to the hospital. “We were there for nearly an hour parked up, no fault of any other bands, there was no spiteful or malicious behaviour but what we noticed was that the music was very loud ... There were about five bands at one time so we said, we're not going to stay on the Rienzi Kirton.”
He said when they decided to head to High Street, San Fernando, they switched off the music while along Chancery Lane.
He told the Express the band had all the proper documents for its contingency plan. “We did not do anything unlawful. We had all the relevant signatures from the Assistant Superintendent of South and we notified them that we have a concern based on the safety of the masqueraders … We did our application letters to the Assistant Superintendent we had all the relevant signatures we had stamps everything … We had to take into consideration Carnival is a frolic, Carnival is a revelry but what about the persons who can't take part? What about the elderly, the young, the old.”
Kalicharan said that should there not be a backlog on Carnival Tuesday, the band will pass on Harris Promenade.
He also raised issue over there not being a competition this year but only bragging rights and a stipend of $15,000 for a large band.
“It is the City's gesture and I appreciate they’re saying there's something but we're ok … It's really not worth it. There's no official structure because they don’t have funds to have a competition,” Kalicharan said.
Two other large bands, four medium and five small bands were carded to participate in the parade of bands on Monday.
Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith were present during the event.