MEMBERS of the Tobago Mas Bandleaders Association have planned a protest on January 29 to highlight their dissatisfaction with the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA’s) management of the island’s upcoming Carnival celebrations.
The decision was taken at Wednesday’s meeting at the association’s camp office, Smithfield, Scarborough. But at that time they did not approach the police for permission.
On February 2, veteran bandleader Marcellin Nedd told Newsday the association, led by new chairman Dianne Mc Crimmon, has now received permission from head of the Tobago Division ACP Collis Hazel to protest from 9am-noon.
She said the bandleaders are expected to gather at the Port Mall, corner Milford Road and Sangster’s Hill.
They will then protest outside the headquarters of the THA Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation at Sangster’s Hill and the Tobago Festival Division Ltd’s office on Wilson Road.
The members are hoping to meet with the division’s secretary Tashia Burris and festivals commission CEO Janice Drysdale-Job to discuss the budget for Carnival, which they have deemed inadequate. They also complained about the prize structure for the various competitions.
The members also said the THA should have also told them long before the start of the Carnival season that they needed to open business accounts in order to access grants to assist with their Carnival presentations. The new arrangement caught many bandleaders by surprise.
Mc Crimmon told Newsday the association had no issues with the new procedure, but members should have been given time to make appointments.
She said the association needed to thrash out these issues before mas competitions begin in earnest.