National Carnival

Development Foundation

 NCDF Chairman says the struggle continues to ensure allocation by the state for mas is trickle down for all mas practitioners.

In its first major decision since the new Board was appointed, the National Carnival Commission (NCC) will now directly manage the mas element of Carnival, a role up until this year was performed by the National Carnival Bandleaders Assocition (NCBA).

The commission has also removed the registration fee for competitive and non-competitive bands so that bandleaders and individual mas makers around the country can now play for free.

The decisions were announced in a statement released from the commission’s communication manger Kevon Gervais yesterday afternoon and was strongly sup- ported by two of the three main mas stakeholders.

While T&T Carnival Bandleaders Association (TTCBA) president Gerard Weekes and National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF) head Mahindra Satram- Maharaj were in full support of the move, NCBA head David Lopez said he would meet with his executive before making any comments.

Lopez is expected to comment today. Prior to yesterday’s release, the NCBA has been in charge of the mas element of Carnival, including the Parade of the Bands and junior carnival competitions. In his statement, Gervais said NCC had resumed direct management of the mas element of Carnival 2016, which includes the Junior and Senior competitions,

Individual competitions, Junior and Senior Parade of the Bands, J’Ouvert and Traditional Carnival (Nostalgia).

Gervais, in an interview following the release, said the NCC met and held discussions with all three mas stakeholders over a six-week period. “The NCC felt the decision was taken in the best interest of the development of mas in T&T.

Asked whether the decision received unanimous support from the stakeholders, Gervais said “not all decisions would reach a full consensus.” He said decisions still needed to be taken for the best interest of T&T. “The majority felt this was the way it should be done.”

Despite there being less than two months before Carnival 2016, Gervais said the NCC was pre- pared to resume its direct responsibility over mas.

“Everything will be in place for Carnival 2016. The NCC has the institutional knowledge and more than 25 years experience.” This means all participants must now register with the NCC for their respective competitions. In separate interviews yester- day, both Weekes and Satram- Maharaj said the change was greatly welcome.

Weekes said the TTCBA had been clamouring over the past few years to improve the man- agement of Carnival as we felt the NCBA had not been doing a good job,” Weekes said.

The TTCBA has held several protests yearly over the NCBA’s holding the responsibility for mas activities for the carnival. “We thought that the NCC taking control was a positive step in ensuring the success of Carnival 2016. Satram-Maharaj said the change was one he had proposed for several years.

“We found that the monies allocated to mas never trickled down to the people bringing out the mas. “mas practitioners never really benefitted from the allocation.” He said there had been no motivation for mas makers. Satram-Maharaj said he was in full support of the decision. He also commended the NCC for removing the registration fee, saying the fees were in poor taste and was unfair to smaller bands and individual performers. 

NCDF Chairman says the struggle continues to ensure allocation by the state for mas is trickle down for all mas practitioners. 

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian

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