East communities focus on J’Ouvert

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Adria and Robhino, both eight, smear each other with paint at Valencia’s J’Ouvert celebrations. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

FOR many in the east, Carnival celebrations are focused on J’Ouvert.

Residents of Arima, Brazil Village, Valencia, Sangre Grande, Arouca and Tunapuna flood the streets in their districts from Sunday night.

Brazil Village saw people arriving outside Parleemend Bar from the previous night to ready themselves for the morning festivities.

Hundreds danced and wined but there were only a handful of masqueraders in mud, paint or oil.

By 6 am, cars were parked as far as San Raphael junction and traffic was at a standstill at that point.

Chairman of the Brazil Village Street Festival (BVSF) Glen Fryer said,” We want to make a plea to the MP or the ministry to assist and keep the culture of the BVSF alive and assist with some of the bills.

“It would help in expanding it to a much greater entity. We also want to thank the police for having an extreme presence at the event. It was an incident-free one and we are thankful.”

Soldiers were also seen patrolling with members of the police service.

Over in Valencia there was a sprinkle of masqueraders covered in paint. However, there were no organised bands crossing the judging point at the Valencia junction,

Over in Arima, Carnival 2024 festivities got a lifeline with the introduction of a steelpan competition. The Arima Carnival Committee (ACC), in collaboration with PanTrinbago Eastern Region, hosted a J’Ouvert Monday Bomb competition.

Twelve conventional steelbands competed.

J’Ouvert mas bands in Arima included the Hard Hat crew with Back to Basic Mud/Oil/Paint; Fish and Friends Mas Band with Dirty Devils and Mt Pleasant Mas Committee with J’Ouvert Jumbies.

ACC representative Jeneice Scott said, “We know we have a long way to go but it is a good start for us. We worked really hard to pull this off and I want to thank all the stakeholders for their contributions. Arima is expected to have their biggest turnout of masqueraders at the Monday evening mas.

Arouca, which was once the Mecca of J’Ouvert celebrations in the east, saw their numbers of masqueraders remain relatively low. The support from the community did not waiver as scores still came out to enjoy the presentations

Tunapuna continued to have the biggest turnout for J’Ouvert celebrations in the east. As in past years, the organising committee blocked off the road from Caura junction to Pasea Main Road, Tunapuna, to facilitate the volume of masqueraders and spectators.

A group was covered in paint for Arima’s J’Ouvert celebrations. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

A little masquerader gets herself painted during J’Ouvert celebrations in Tunapuna. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle