JENSEN LA VENDE
This year was the best Carnival for downtown Port of Spain, chairman of Downtown Carnival Committee Wendell Stephan said yesterday, even as the crowds flocked uptown to the Socadrome and Queen’s Park Savannah.
Speaking with the media at South Quay, Stephan said many of bands passed at South Quay compared to previous years and there were many large bands passing through.
“Actually we have been benefiting from Socadrome, our downtown venues is the most convenient for people to view mas and it is the closest you can get to the mas so we always have sold out crowds,” Stephan said.
The crowd sizes fluctuated as at one moment the stands and side walk would be filled with people and before the DJ changed his selection, the crowd vanished.
This cat-and-mouse game continued throughout the day in south and east Port of Spain. Spectators, armed with drinks, sunglasses and cellphones hitched to selfie sticks, stood behind barricades watching the bands pass, some more entertaining than others. Mingling among the crowd were water vendors, with their portable coolers. There seemed to be no concern about talks of threats to Carnival yesterday. Police were visible at every corner, patrolling the downtown stretch offering, to those who needed it, that sense of comfort. Some spectators they said they enjoyed themselves and will be returning. Others complained about the lack of flowing bands but were not dissuaded from returning next year adding that they go downtown annually.
Supporting Stephan’s claims was Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez who also said the introduction of the Socadrome, at Jean Pierre Complex in west Port of Spain, increased the number of spectators at downtown Carnival.
Martinez found himself in the centre of the action, not by choice, as a group of gyrating women cornered him following an interview with the media. Newsday did not see any of the women ask his permission to wine on him.
Speaking on banning glass bottles for Carnival, a call made in 2012 by then Port of Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing, Martinez said he has not heard of any incidents that will warrant the ban.“I haven’t heard much call for banning of glass bottles to be done.
It is something that we can look into, but I will wait for requests from citizens.
I haven’t seen much incidents where people were injured with glass bottles so there may not be a need for it,” Martinez said.
Contacted last week on the non-implementation of his plan, Lee Sing said it can come into effect just by the stroke of the pen and appealed to President-elect Paula Mae Weekes to do him “one favour” and include it in the Carnival proclamation next year.