You can read the following article on this subject in today's Trinidad Guardian:
One Million dollars.
That is the figure the San Fernando Carnival committee has proposed as the first prize for the Panorama 2007 champion, once it gets approval to host the 2007 National Panorama finals at Skinner Park.
Alderman Junia Regrello, Chairman National Days, Festival and Arts Committee and Convener of San Fernando Carnival, under whose responsibility this project falls, said if government cannot raise the prize money, “Corporate San Fernando will.”
“This is the industrial capital, the energy city, we will raise the money,” he said, adding that the entire south is behind the committee to ensure this project is successful.
With the Queen’s Park Savannah unavailable to host Carnival 2007, Regrello, a former King of Carnival, said the Committee may also propose to Culture Minister Joan Yuille Williams that the King and Queens of the Bands finals be held in the south as well.
Regrello also made a special appeal to Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Yuille Williams and other decision makers, to “not to leave us in limbo.”
“We are aware of our culture to do things at the very last minute, but we are an efficient Corporation ready to put things in motion, once we get the go ahead,” he said.
He added that modification to Skinner Park, which is estimated to cost in the vicinity of $8 million, will take approximately four weeks to complete, in time for the Calypso Fiesta and Panorama.
Regrello showed an architectural sketch of the proposed venue, complete with changes to the existing structure. These including a massive stage, traffic arrangements and the ambience of a “drag” that is to be created along the Rienzi Kirton Highway.
He said the main stand will be dismantled and replaced with three-tier steel structures from the Mayor’s Box around the curve, and the current concrete stands and vending court upgraded.
The plan,was first revealed and discussed with the executive of Pan Trinbago and the South Central Region last Saturday.
“We got a nod of approval from the Region and acceptance from the central executive,” Regrello revealed.
He said they have gone through the feasibility of staging this competition in San Fernando with the City’s Engineering department and they are satisfied that it can be done.
The plan calls for Todd Street and the western side of the Rienzi Kirton Highway to be closed off to vehicular traffic.
“We propose to utilise the second class ground (just behind the main venue) as a loading bay for the equipment.
Tents measuring 40 by 40 feet as well as portable toilets will be placed along the northern side and the pavilion will be upgraded to provide seating accommodation.
“From the second class grounds, the bands will exit on Todd Street going left onto Rienzi Kirton and that stretch would become the drag as the steelbands know it.”
Bleachers will be set up between the islands of the highway for patrons who do not wish to enter the Park, and a food and vending court would be set up on Lady Hailes Avenue.
Regrello said performing bands will turn left onto Cipero Street and enter the Park through the Neal and Massy gate.
“We propose to build an adequate stage similar to that at the Queen’s Park Savannah, on the northern end of the ground almost parallel with the entrance, and exit on the western end.
“So as the bands enter Skinner Park, they will mount the stage, perform and exit straight out of the western gate with two options,” Regrello explained.
At this point he said the bands can either go back to the second class grounds and take up their transportation on the Udecott ground on the opposite side, or on Park Street where trailers will be lined up in an orderly fashion.
The direction of Park Street, which is a one way street ,with traffic running from west to east will be reversed, to allow the trailers to access Scott Street on to the San Fernando bye pass and up the highway.
To detractors who talk about San Fernando being too hilly, Regrello noted that “that entire area is flat.”
“If pan men and patrons feel the area is not long enough, we have the entire Lady Hailes Avenue from King’s Wharf to the Park to spread it out.”
In terms of parking facilities, Regrello said the Udecott ground (formerly TSTT ground) will be cleared for trailer and public parking.
He said the Committee intends to negotiate with the three schools in the immediate vicinity to allow parking on these compound, which could be seen as a way of raising funds for the said schools..
Similar discussions will be entered into with corporate citizens along Lady Hailes Avenue, he said.
– With reporting by Yvonne Webb
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