Kalicharan rules Sando Carnival…again

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Leaders of San Fernando Carnival’s Band of the Year 2023, Ivan Kalicharan, from left, Sterling Mahase, Ayana Kalicharan Mahase and Aaron Kalicharan. –

THE band Ivan Kalicharan’s 2023 presentation Reset, saw the band retain its San Fernando Carnival Band of the Year title.

In making the announcement on Thursday at City Hall, San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello lamented that the prize structure for Carnival winners is yet to be announced since only half of the monies promised by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) has been received.

Regrello said a cheque for $350,000 was collected at 11.15 am on Ash Wednesday, with a promise from NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters, that this represented only 50 per cent of what is to be allocated.

“If we are guaranteed the other 50 per cent, then we can restructure the prizes, but if this is all we are getting, we would not be able to do much,” Regrello said.

Kalicharan, by far the largest band to cross the stage at the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts (SAPA) on both Monday and Tuesday, wowed both spectators and the judges with its high energy and colourful costumes, to amass a score of 460 points.

In second place was Fireworks Production, with 438 points, and Jagessar Costumes, with its “Unforgettable” tribute to its late patriarch, Lionel Jagessar, which gained 424 points and placed third. Jagessar was unable to field a King or Queen this year due to logistical constraints.

This is the 30th time that the Ivan Kalicharan band of Harris Street, San Fernando has claimed the title, even as control has been passed on from Ivan and Wendy Kalicharan to the second generation – children Aaron and Ayana.

She made it clear that her parents are still an integral part of the band, guiding and advising in the background. Kalicharan said the band notched another crown with a reduced number of masqueraders.

Attributing this to the pandemic, she said a lot of people wanted to play, but could not afford to do so.

As a result, she said, they have decided to institute an easy-payment plan (with payments spread over a period of months) for people wishing to play in the band for Carnival 2024.

Commenting on the dwindling number of spectators and masqueraders observed on Monday and Tuesday, and the moverment of southerners to watch Port of Spain mas, Ayana said her family band is dedicated to ensuring their costumes are on par with those from Port of Spain.

“Stakeholders all need to come together to strategise on the best way forward to review how San Fernando Carnival is held in order to bring the crowds back,” Kalicharan said.