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Sunday, December 10, 2006

All will be revealed tomorrow...

The Trinidad Guardian reports that Culture Minister Joan Yuille Willams will reveal all plans concerning Carnival 2007 tomorrow. I cannot wait to hear/read all that will be proposed, I mean it is about time that we hear something about all these plans that are in the works. It seems that there is no possibility that the stage will be used for a last time as indicated in the following article, taken from today's Guardian:

CULTURE MINISTER Joan Yuille-Williams will announce the Government’s plans for Carnival 2007 tomorrow.

Yuille-Williams said on Friday that after a meeting, tomorrow, with the Urban Development Company (Udecott), she would reveal the plans for Carnival 2007.

The minister was speaking during PCS Nitrogen Starlift’s golden jubilee and awards ceremony at its Mucurapo Road, St James, headquarters.

With exactly 70 days to go before the two-day national festival, there has been much speculation on the burning issue of plans for Carnival 2007, especially as regards a main venue for the mas. The Grand Stand on Queen’s Park Savannah has been dubbed “a point of no return” by the Government, until the proposed state-of-the-art Carnival Entertainment Centre is built.

Pan Trinbago, hardest-hit by the closure of the Savannah venue for Panorama, has submitted alternative proposals, and is eager to know the final decision.

Meanwhile, the San Fernando City Corporation has recommended Skinner Park as venue for the National Panorama finals, and is courting panmen with a proposed $1 million first prize.

Michael Legerton, president of Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation, has announced the Jean Pierre Complex and Strand performing arts centre as prospective venues for major calypso events, while the National Carnival Bands Association has thrown its support behind Minister Yuille-Williams—whatever her plans are.

A meeting between the culture minister and heads of the special interest groups drew protests from Ainsworth Mohammed, deputy chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC), who subsequently resigned.

He charged that the line minister was attempting to “micro-manage” the affairs of the body, which has authority for the national festival.

For the moment, Kenny de Silva, who resigned in March, shortly after Carnival 2006, remains as caretaker chairman of the NCC, since Yuille-Williams has not accepted his resignation. —With reporting by Sean Nero
©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Are mas men feeling the pinch?

Interesting article in the Trinidad Express today, reporter Ruth Osman examines the factors of high prices of costumes, increased taxes on acohol as well as the yet to be decided new venue for mas and how these factors are affecting the mas men:

Christmas bells, bikinis and beads
In the midst of the festive season, bandleaders weigh in on the uncertainties of Carnival 2007
Ruth Osman

As shoppers throng malls in search of Christmas gifts and decorations, preparations for Carnival 2007 are already underway.

Bandleaders began costume production as early as August. And with all of the bands already launched, patrons are now rushing to ensure that they get the costume of their choice.

Dean Ackin, bandleader of Tribe, told the Sunday Express that more 90 per cent of his band is already sold out.

Business for Pulse 8, Genesis and Island People is also going well, according to their bandleaders.

But their optimism about next year's big party is tinged with uncertainty.

Where will Carnival be held next year?

Meg Cheekes of Pulse 8 says that Government's silence on the issue is likely to have a negative impact on the bands:

"Things like that put us in a bind. We can't plan and in order to give our masqueraders an exclusive product, we need to be able to advise them."

Although Dean Ackin agrees that uncertainty about the route puts some pressure on bandleaders, he believes that Carnival can't help but be a success:

"At the end of the day, Carnival is going to come off in a big, grand way because the individual bands will treat with their masqueraders as they've always done," he says.

But even he admits that the absence of a stage might put a damper on the festival. Especially since many view it as the climax of the event.

A colleague put it this way: "How we could do without the stage? That's the 'lallee' of the whole thing. That's the sauce."

Ian McKenzie of Genesis believes that Carnival 2007 should be held in the Savannah:

"I think the Minister should think again and make this the final year... let people have the climax of Carnival this year."

Uncertainty about Carnival's route is not the only problem faced by bands. Marked increases in alcohol have wreaked havoc on their budgets.

"We have to absorb the cost," Cheekes said. "Government needs to be aware of the cycle of Carnival... they can't put all these things in place after we start marketing."

In the meantime, the bandleaders are getting their houses in order.

"We're finalising negotiations with caterers for food, music truck providers, DJs... we're preparing for the big street party," Ackin said.
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