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Mayor pledges better 2019
Unable to afford Carnival costumes, some south masqueraders created their own costumes and jumped up with prominent bands during yesterday’s Parade of the Bands in San Fernando.
However, the bands were judged on Harris Promenade and seemed more organised and orderly than previous years.
Southern Mas Associates was the first to cross the stage to Machel Montano and Super Blue’s Soca Kingdom. Their presentation, titled Indigenous Americas, portrayed several sections of feathered Indian mas.
This was followed by Fireworks Promotions’ Tabanca presentation, which crossed the stage from 12.15 to 12.55 pm. Kalicharan’s’s Elixir of Life came next followed by Jagessar’s Eminence at 2.55 pm.
Veteran masquerader Rosemarie Kuru Jagessar said despite the downturn in the economy, the number of masqueraders in his band did not dwindle.
“In fact, we had more masqueraders than last year because over the last few days many people came out and supported me because this year marks my 40 year anniversary. Those who started playing mas with me came back to play this year,” Kuru-Jagessar said.
She added, however, that some people opted to make their own costumes.
“Some people came on Saturday and asked permission to jump up with us and they offered to make their own costumes,” Kuru-Jagessar said.
But mas producer Ivan Kalicharan said the economic downturn had affected his 2018 Carnival production, saying there was a 25 per cent decrease in participation although they reduced the price of costumes.
He said there are usually 1,500 people playing mas with his band annually.
At the Carnival bandstand, judge Walid Baksh said some bands appeared larger than before. He also said there were three new bands this year. Saying south mas was very much alive, Baksh said the band owners were still successful in marketing their product and attracting masqueraders.
“Despite the economy, some of the bands appeared larger than last year according to the numbers we had here,” Baksh said.
San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said the use of the bandstand was cost effective and worked well for showcasing Carnival. He added that a post mortem will be done on Carnival 2018 and better preparations will be made for next year.
“Due to retrenchment and high unemployment, we have to find new ways to market the mas. We have to look at the Diaspora and make San Fernando more friendly for spectators and masqueraders,” Regrello said.
Commending major bands Kalicharan, Jaggesar and Fireworks for keeping south mas alive, Regrello said he hoped to encourage local producers to bring indigenous materials for mas production to the 2019 Carnival parade.
“There are low cost materials that can be used and we will be asking local manufacturers to send samples of what can be used for mas production,” Regrello said.
He added that property owners on Cipero Street would also be barred from renting out the pavements in front their businessplaces for commerce in future.
In the Road March race, Montano and Super Blue’s Soca Kingdom, Iwer George’s Savannah and Kes’ Hello played prominently as the bands crossed the stage.
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