Band leaders to take NCBA to court
BY SEAN NERO
A dispute between Carnival band leaders and its representative organisation, the National Carnival Bands’ Association (NCBA), over prize money for this year’s parade is heading to court.
Masmen are claiming discrimination by the NCBA and the National Carnival Commission (NCC) following what they say is a decision to suddenly and exclusively revise the first prize for the large band category from $100,000 to $450,000.
That prize—the George Bailey Award—was won by Brian Mac Farlane for his portrayal of India, The Story of Boyie.
Runners-up in the large band category, as well as winners in the other categories were not given any increases. The winning medium band earned $55,000; the small band $30,000; and mini bands, $20,000.
Earl Patterson, leader of Masquerade said: “We are putting it in the lawyers hands. From the NCC, we are getting different versions about the submission of the prize structure (for mas bands) for Carnival 2007 from the CEO (Clarence Moe) and the chairman (Keston Nancoo).
“Oh God! If you give one, you have to give the others.”
Ian McKenzie of Genesis promised the matter would not be swept under the carpet or pushed on the back burner and that NCBA and NCDF bands were joining forces to deal with it.
Stephen Derek, leader of D’Midas, a medium band, endorsed the call for band leaders to unite.
“This concerns all of us. This is not about association. Prizes are supposed to be paid across the board. We are trying to get answers, but they are pushing us around,” he said.
Trevor Wallace of Trevor Wallace and Associates said NCBA and NCDF members have already taken steps to have the matter resolved.
Secretary of the NCBA Renrick Brown, saying that purses agreed to for this year’s Carnival have been paid, said what was happening now was that people still have expectations.
“All prizes negotiated by the NCBA and agreed to by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) have been paid.
“The first time anybody heard anything about a $450,000 for the large Band of the Year came on Carnival Thursday.
“This decision was made by Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Williams after all other prizes were agreed upon,” he said.
“Band of Year large was paid $450,000; Calypso Monarch $500,000; and $1 million for Panorama winner. Mac Farlane received the original $100,000 and later got the $350,000,” Brown added.