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Monday, November 20, 2006

Regional Carnival 2007 Launch

The following article on the Regional Launch of Carnival 2007 was taken from Article
Posted: November 20, 2006

The Regional Carnival Launch 2007 took place on Saturday 19th November, 2006, in the exquisite region of Valencia. This launch was said to be the biggest launch in the history of Regional Carnival launches and the residents of Valencia were certainly proud of that fact. The Carnival Mas procession began at the Valencia gas station and ended at Festival Park opposite the Valencia Government Primary School. Traditional Mas characters such as Blue and Red Devils, Moko Jumbies, Midnight Robbers, Jab Jabs, Red Guarahoons, Fancy Sailors and others were on display and journeyed the short distance to the park to partake in the formal ceremonial launch.

The ceremony began with the National Anthem played by the Point Fortin Iron Giants Rhythm Section which was an unusual but equally delightful interpretation of the anthem.

Mr. David Gadar, Councillor of the District of Valencia, then welcomed all and expressed his pride and honor that Valencia was able to host the launch. He was also honored by the presence of Minister Eddie Hart and other officials and invited all to share in the wonderful experience of the 2007 Carnival Launch in Valencia.

Chairman of the Regional Carnival Launch Committee, Mr. Mukesh Harrikissoon brought greetings. According to the Chairman, he had no doubt that the choice of Valencia to host the Regional Carnival Launch was a good one. He also stated emphatically that it was the most successful launch thus far. Although the standard set in Valencia was very high, Mr. Harrikissoon maintained that the standard must continue to grow more and more every year. He also used the opportunity to thank the Parade Master, the infrastructure engineer and others who put the entire production together.

Chairman of the NCC, Mr. Kenneth de Silva was also present to give a brief address. According to Mr. de Silva, last year's launch in La Brea was a good one but Valencia was chosen for this year for special reasons: the famous Valencia River, the popularity of Parang in Valencia and the fact that Valencia is the home of Olympian Neil de Silva. He observed that it was the largest participation for Regional Carnival and he was proud of that fact.

He also intimated that this was the only launch during his tenure where he witnessed five beauty queens (regional queen winners) assembled on one stage and that he was proud to be in their presence.

Mr. De Silva also expressed that the Regional Carnival Committee is the only Carnival committee to operate twelve months of the year with hardworking and dedicated people and that he hopes that this trend is continued to ensure further success.

He praised the works of Commissioner Paula Atherly who, to him, is one of the most passionate and dedicated people in the industry.

He lastly observed that more money has been dispersed by the government of Trinidad and Tobago for Regional Carnival. In fact, he pointed out that in 2002 the government allocated $300,000, and in 2006, $7,000,000 was allocated in the budget for Regional Carnival.

Mr. Eddie Hart then appeared with words of praise to the people of Valencia and to the organizers of the 2007 Regional Carnival Launch. In fact, he said that the sight before him was , "... a beautiful spectacle" and he congratulated Valencia for hosting the most successful Carnival launch in Trinidad and Tobago. He thanked all responsible for the launch and apologized for the absence of Joan Yuille-Williams, but he indicated that it was an honour to formally launch the Regional Carnival.

Chairman of the RCC, Mr. Lennox Toussaint, then presented a vote of thanks. He thanked those who went before for making the event the way that it was; he thanked the Point Fortin Iron Giants, the Valencia Sports and Cultural Foundation Committee members, the Chairman of the Launch project, the Chairman of the NCC Mr. Kenneth de Silva, Ministers Eddie Hart and Joan Yuille-Williams and all the participants and supporters of the Regional Carnival Launch for 2007.

Commissioner Paula Atherly, who arrived moments before the formal segment ended, quickly mentioned that she hoped that all present were proud to bear witness to such a magnificent event in the history of the country.

Mr. Guptar, the President of the Valencia Sports and Cultural Foundation, then made presentations to Senator the Honourable Joan Yuille-Williams, accepted by Minister Eddie Hart on her behalf. The Chairman of the NCC, Mr. Kenny de Silva and Mr. Gadar presented a token of appreciation to Commissioner Paula Atherly for her hard work and commitment throughout the years.

Other presentations of tokens were presented to Mrs. Lyris Smith-Hayes, Mr. Steve John, Mr. Clyde Constantine and Mr. Lennox Toussaint.

Following this, and brief speeches from some of the winners and participants of various regional queen competitions, the traditional Mas characters came on stage and represented the regions from which they came.

Later on in the evening the audience was treated to sweet Kaiso music by legendary Calypso artiste Brother Valentino who guest performed for the evening, as well as the contestants of the Regional Carnival Calypso Monarch Competition. The twelve contestants, their selections of choice and their placement are as follows:

Calypsonian / Song / Placement

Kizzie Ruiz / "Developed Country Status" / 1st place

Tameika Darius / "Through the Eyes of a Dancer" / 2nd place

Sheldon 'Sheldon Nugget' Bullen / "A Woman's Worth / 3rd place

Anthony 'A One' Lincoln / "Fantasy Island" / 4th place

Wayne 'Wayne P' Pierre / "No Man" / 5th place

Francelia 'Lady Tallish' Jackson / "Procreation" / 6th place

Amrika Mudroo / "Wake up Parents" / 7th place

Ezekiel Yorke / "I am a Patriotic Trini" / 8th place (tie)

Kathy-Ann Sarjeant / "What Goes Around" / 8th place

Emrold 'Soft Touch' Peter / "Reflection" / 10th place

Vivian 'Young Poser' Lockhart / "One Song" / 11th place

Roger Johnson / "Black" / 12th place

During the intermission period while the judges tabulated the scores, the crowd was entertained by Chutney Soca artiste Heeralal Rampartap, Calypso icon Eric 'Pink Panther' Taylor, legendary artiste Marilyn Williams and Commissioner Paula Atherly who surprised the audience with her lovely voice.

The first, second and third place winners of the Regional Carnival Calypso Monarch Competition were not present to collect their prizes of $10,000, $7,000 and $5,000 because they left to participate in other competitions. However, the audience was very forgiving and continued to enjoy the nights activities with music by the Roots and Branches Orchestra.

Regional Carnival 2007 Launch in pictures:

Purple Topaz

So, when I heard that D Krewe had scrapped the "Topaz" (yellow) costume and in it's place was going to be a new, lavender costume I never expected that the replacement would be one of Dream Team's costumes now christened "Purple Topaz"!

click for a larger view

The weird thing is that the costume is STILL on Dream Team's website as "Exotic Rhythm" priced at $2345.00 backline and $2995.00 for frontline:

click for a larger view

On D Krewe's website Purple Topaz is priced at $2159.00 backline and $2980.00 frontline, a bit cheaper than it was going for at Dream Team. Well, I have to say I was momentarily confused when I saw the "new" costume on D Krewe's website, having seen it up close and personal at Dream Team's launch!

I wonder what the deal is? The same contact person Nikki Luke is listed on both websites, and I had no idea that a section leader could just take their costume to another band. What about contracts and the people who might have already registered for the costume under Dream Team? This whole situation needs some investigating!

But, I have to say I am disappointed, here I was waiting for a "new" lavender costume all week, when all D Krewe's people had to say was "oh, go check out the lavender costume on Dream Team's website, that's coming over here!". I also think Purple Topaz is not on the same level in design as the other costumes, it is a nice enough costume but looks inapt in design. At least the designers could have tweaked the headpiece, bra or backpack so that it looks as well done as the other three costumes where you can see the attention to detail, lush, full backpacks and headpieces.

And is says volumes that one day a costume can represent an "Exotic Rhythm" and the next it is part of the "French Revolution". That leaves Dream Team with only 13 of 15 sections, having lost one costume to Trini Revellers and the costume "Bossa Nova" never making it to the website from the launch.

Whatever the deal is, I have to say Carnival 2007 is full of equal doses of surprises and bacchanal!
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