Band leaders to face penalties for masqueraders who deface property

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 04:30

Band leaders whose masqueraders deface people’s private properties during this year’s Carnival celebrations will now face stiff penalties.

This was disclosed yesterday by National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Kenny De Silva, who urged residents and business owners to carefully document the alleged damage caused as mas bands pass their respective locations so they can face the penalty.

Speaking during a stakeholder press conference at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, de Silva assured the public the authorities were serious about addressing concerns regarding the damage cause by the mas bands.

He said while there would be ample security along the designated parade route to ensure bands did not go off route, “there will be a penalty imposed on the band leader when that person registers. We have had meetings with the residents and asked them to take pictures of the band and he/she will be dealt with.”

Pressed to say how much the fine would be, he said, “A couple thousand dollars.”

Admitting it was “small,” de Silva said the NCC was hoping to increase it.

Residents of St Clair, Woodbrook and environs in particular have been complaining for years about the damage caused by bands as the pass through their communities, but this is the first time the authorities will be moving to address the issue with some sort of action.

De Silva also warned music truck operators to adhere to the regulations. He said the agencies responsible for monitoring decibel levels would be at strategic locations to ensure compliance, as they are equally concerned about preserving the peace for the elderly and those people not participating in the Carnival celebrations.

Despite the current economic climate in T&T, de Silva also said more people, including children, are playing mas this year. This, he said, was supported by the increase in the number of bands registered in both the junior and senior categories - with the number of junior bands growing from 80 last year to 100 and senior bands from 45 to 62.

He said despite the killing of Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya at the QPS on Ash Wednesday last year, this country had again proven its resilience and ability to forgive by emerging bigger and better. To date, her murder remains unresolved.

With the increase in the number of bands registered this year, de Silva said he does not anticipate any lull or major delays in the parade of the bands, nor does he believe the presence of the Socadrome at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, will detract from the spectacle of Carnival on the streets for the viewing public.

Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, also said this year was more memorable by the achievements of veteran calypsonian Calypso Rose, who won World Album of the Year at the Victoire de la Musique awards in France.

She too urged masqueraders not to enjoy this season “to the detriment of someone else,” adding that once everyone observed the law and complied with instructions from the authorities, the season would be a happy and safe one.

Alternate Gold Commander in charge of security for 2017, ACP John Richardson, assured the TTPS was working with all relevant agencies to ensure the safety of citizens and visitors alike. He said the air and sea ports were all being monitored and that collaboration was also taking place with fete promoters.

Richardson also advised the public to look out for traffic restrictions which would soon be announced in the media.

Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Development Company, Arveon Mills, said they were expecting just over 40,000 visitors via cruise ships beginning today in Port-of-Spain.

SOURCE: (Anna Lisa Paul)