Tuesday, November 09, 2010

People’s Band for 2011

Savannah tour: Arts and Multiculturalism Minister, Winston Peters, left,
chats with chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Kenny De Silva, right,
 during a tour of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday
. An unidentified NCC official is at centre.
Author: Sean Archie
Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters is encouraging citizens to wear a costume and play mas with the People’s Band which will be free to the public on Carnival Monday and Tuesday in 2011.
Masqueraders will also get to jump across a big stage once more at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain and there will be the return of the North and Grand Stands.
Peters made these announcements to reporters yesterday after touring the area in the Savannah where the Grand and North Stands were once located but removed by the previous government to make way for the National Carnival Centre. The parade of the bands has taken the form of a street parade since 2007.
He said the People’s Band was one of the measures to be used to deal with congestion caused by bands seeking to cross the big stage in the Savannah during the Parade of the Bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
He urged persons to either don their old costumes or create new ones to take part in the People’s Band. “I not only hope to see a return of dragon mas but a return of the antique costumes people have all over, under their bed or in their attics. I hope they take them and dust them off so their children can put them on and jump in the band and for once I want to see people be creative. Let them take the opportunity to create costumes because they have no restrictions, all you have to do is to make a costume and you are in the band,” Peters said.
He said he was unconcerned with the impact of this band on the sales of other mas makers. “The mas makers in this country are bringing mas from India and China. So what if the people in Trinidad and Tobago make mas and jump in a band? Those mas makers have to think about if they are not taking away jobs from locals and suppressing the creativity of the people of Trinidad and Tobago when they bring mas from these places ,” he said.
This initiative, he said, will give the ordinary man a chance to participate in Carnival either by creating costumes for himself or his family and close friends or by parading in the free band if he cannot afford the high price of a costume from an established band.
“The big bands are there for the people who want to do it but the Government, through this ministry, is putting something in place so people can just come and play mas and enjoy themselves. Make a costume and come or put on an old one but not one of those made in India and China, a costume from Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
He said while there may be teething problems experienced because of the return of Carnival to the Savannah, Government will learn from the venture and improve on the Carnival product in years to come. Peters could not give a figure which will be spent to remove the existing stand and reconstruct the Grand and North stands in time for the Parade of Bands on March 7 and 8 next year.
“With a little bit of creativity, we hope we do not have to go too far with expenses. Whatever it takes for us to be here (in the Savannah), we will be here,” he said.
He said while he would not be able to compete as calypsonian Gypsy in the upcoming Carnival season because of his post as minister, he will perform during the season. Peters won the 2010 Extempo Monarch crown during the last Carnival in February.
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