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Blame police for removing mas from ‘Greens’—Peters
The removal of Carnival from the Piccadilly Greens can be blamed on the Police Service. According to Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters, the decision to remove mas from the Piccadilly Greens was not made by his ministry nor the National Carnival Bandleaders Association (NCBA). “The security forces of this country have articulated that Carnival will be removed from the Greens for 2012,” said Peters. Peters said this while addressing Carnival stakeholders at a meeting yesterday at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA).
Peters announced that he would meet with the Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs to discuss the issue and propose possible alternatives. He added that the police did not have to consult with anyone or inform citizens why the decision was made. Peters acknowledged the tension between the NCBA board and some of its members, but said only that a meeting had been held with Brian MacFarlane and the NCBA and the matter was being dealt with. “You can’t have Carnival without a little bacchanal,” he said. He added that the contentious issues between bandleaders and the NCBA were matters that would be dealt with internally.
The NCBA came under heavy criticism yesterday, after a report that the organisation had removed mas from the Greens, changed the sizes for the Carnival band categories and removed leading mas man, MacFarlane from the association. While member representatives from various stakeholder organisations spoke at the meeting, it was NCBA chairman David Lopez who fielded the most questions. Lopez, who at first declined to comment on the issue, said the changes proposed to the bandleaders at Thursday’s meeting were not set in stone and remained up for discussion for all members of the organisation. He said the changes proposed were done in order to deliver a better Carnival for 2012.
Lopez told reporters that bandleaders had been complaining about the congestion in Port-of-Spain for years and so the decision to reverse the route was made in an effort to alleviate the problem. He said bandleaders had misled the public in saying that there was a fee to use the stage. Lopez said there was no performance fee but admitted that a registration fee had been implemented as of Carnival 2012. He defended his board against accusations that changes had been made without the consultation of members.
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