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Carnival sweet for days

Published: 
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

T&T’s still the best for Carnival—security disruption plot or not.

That’s the view of a cross-section of visitors playing mas yesterday in different bands which crossed the South Quay, Port-of-Spain judging venue.

It’s also how some spectators— local and foreign—felt.

Day one of national fete boasted the usual characteristics of Carnival Monday: smaller band numbers, shorts and T-shirts and scaled-down versions of full costume.

This, plus T&T Carnival’s signature eye candy: bottoms, bikinis and beads abounding.

Jump-up tunes of choice from Downtown band deejays included Iwer George’s Savannah, Machel Montano’s Showtime and Patrice Roberts’ (Carnival) Sweet for Days. But following last week’s police revelations of a plot to disrupt the Carnival, a single outstanding feature was security in and around the festival.

Bands which crossed the South Quay (Downtown) stage yesterday featured large numbers of in-house security. Greater numbers of police were seen on every corner of downtown Port of Spain, patrolling and parked.

Bands like Tribe which crossed the Downtown stage first at 10.45 am to Iwer’s “Savannah” previewed what was to come in terms of band security, there was almost more security personnel in Tribe than masqueraders.

Downtown spectator numbers, however, were less than some band numbers. Bands like Yuma, Tribe and Bliss which passed through downtown, all boasted masqueraders flying flags from Jamaica, Barbados and other Caribbean countries.

Those in costume—and some intending to be in costume come Carnival 2019—shrugged off any concerns about security plots.

Danielle Jackson and her friend Adam from England who came to T&T for a friend’s wedding, were among Independence Square spectators. She said, “It’s our first time here and so far we only played J’Ouvert, but we are definitely coming back to play in costumes in a big band.”

“I heard about the terrorist/ safety matter, but that doesn’t worry us, we’re coming back next year Carnival,” she said.

Zion Mohammed, from Toronto, one of Yuma’s many masqueraders who crossed Downtown around 2 pm, said, “I come to T&T for Carnival as I have family here. We heard about the security issue but frankly, it’s the stories that some people are telling me which are scaring me more than how I really feel if you understand what I mean.”

“I’ve always come to T&T for Carnival and I’m coming back next year for sure,” he said.

T&T-born Joe Lewis who’s lived in New York for 18 years was on his first visit back since then.

Enjoying the sights in the band and chipping to Legacy’s music truck, while standing on the pavement, Jones said, “Your safety arrangements are great, everywhere I go I see police. I was out since last night and they’re everywhere. So I do feel safe. It would be good if you have that kind of presence all year round next year I’ll be back to play mas.”

Fete seemed to the only thing on the mind of a group of young men who said they were from Syria, playing with Trini Revellers. One of the five, all dressed in black T-shirts and caps, said, “We are not from here, but this (Carnival) we just come to play, I live in Trinidad three years, that is the life. It is nice.”

A masquerader with Ronnie and Caro’s “Chequered Board,” said she had no safety concerns, “People too busy having fun today for that. Look at the amount of police all over the place. You bound to feel safe.”

The spokesman among a group of Polish men who were avidly looking on and taking pictures, said, “We are seamen who have been working in T&T for three years, we’re moving together so we feel safe, it’s not a problem for us.” A number of Venezuelanborn people were spotted doing security for a couple bands.

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