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Gabriel: NCBA trying to exclude tradition in mas
The rules governing the Parade of the Bands competition held by the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) have existed for a long time. Confirming this yesterday, NCBA chairman David Lopez remained resolute that the results of the competition were “above board, transparent and fair.” Lopez said: “Every competition has rules and they must be adhered to. The only thing that might be different is that this year they were executed to the letter. I fail to see why there are issues with the results.”
Bandleaders Ronnie Mc Intosh and Rosalind Gabriel have dispatched legal letters to the NCBA challenging this year’s results. Yesterday Gabriel said, “My lawyers wrote to the NCBA last Friday, but we have gotten no reply to date, March 11. If we get no response, then it’s up to the lawyers to take the next step. “As far as I am aware, the under-18 rule was always there, but was never enforced. The NCBA decided to enforce it this year. I think that particular rule was put in there to victimise Stephen Derek and my band.”
Both Gabriel and Derek include under-18 masqueraders in their senior bands. “The NCBA is trying to exclude tradition in mas,” Gabriel argued. “This is a terrible thing for the culture of traditional mas, which is passed from grandparents and parents to grands and children. It has always been so. This needs to be looked at. How could you encourage continuity in mas if you try to exclude children from participating?” Lopez was adamant that children had no place in adult mas.
“Come on, let’s be serious, a junior parade is a junior parade, a senior parade is a senior parade. Some years ago, Roland St George of D’Krewe took the NCBA to court against Rosalind Gabriel and Stephen Derek for having junior members in a senior competition.” St George contradicted Lopez’s claim, saying, “I took NCBA to court for the number of masqueraders in these bands, not for anything about underage masqueraders. That year, Rosalind was registered in one category and competed in another. I challenged that.
“I don’t know about any rule that says you have to be over 18 to play senior mas. A lot of families have had their children playing traditional mas since Carnival began. That is how you have continuity in mas and tradition survives.” St George admitted that he did not read all of the rules of the competition. “It’s too many pages of rules for me to read. The rules are draconian and who doesn’t play by them cannot win.”
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