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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Judge seeks peace among mas band leaders

Carnival Bands
Association president David Lopez.
National Carnival Bands Association president David Lopez.

A mediation meeting hosted by Justice Vashiest Kokaram on Wednesday for a resolution between the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), led by president David Lopez, and the TT Carnival Bands Association (TTCBA), led by Rosalind Gabriel ended with another meeting being carded for February 27.

On that date, it will be decided whether the matter goes to trial or not.

Last year Kokaram had called for all parties to come together for the production of the mas shows for 2019, and scheduled Wednesday’s meeting at the High Court with all parties.

This came about after the NCBA took the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, to court when she removed the NCBA representative from the National Carnival Commission (NCC) board of directors last June.

She appointed the TTCBA to the board on the recommendation of Justice Joan Charles,who said the TTCBA was representing the majority of mas bands following an audit.

Lopez questioned how it was determined which body is most representative of the mas fraternity. The NCBA subsequently applied for a judicial review to find out what process was used to make the determination.

Lopez maintains that the NCBA was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 2007 and unless that is changed the NCBA remains the recognised body for mas.

Lopez said Kokaram asked both parties to come up with a resolution to avoid going into full litigation.

They agreed to meet again with Justice Kokaram on February 27, and, said Lopez, "If there is no resolution at those mediation talks, then we will be going to full trial in March, but he is trying to get resolution before Carnival.”

Later on February 27 the finals of both the senior and junior kings and queens of Carnival take place at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Regarding all mas competitions this year, Gabriel told Newsday: “We are collaborating with the NCC on the production of mas shows this year. We are not doing it on our own. As a matter of fact, since 2016 the NCC has taken charge of the adjudication of mas competitions, and it continues this year.”

Representing the NCBA at the meeting were Lopez, Renwick Brown (secretary), Anra Bobb (queen representative), Arthur Stewart (junior representative), Cheryl Clark-Williams (assistant secretary), Beresford Hunte (committee member), Justin Richardson King and Nicole Scott (administrative assistants), and legal representatives Anthony Vieira and Eleanor de Silva.

On the side of the TTCBA were Gabriel and attorneys Shiv Sharma of Ithaca House and Jamie Amanda Maharaj of Fortis Chambers.

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