Police shut down mas early in Couva

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Masqueraders from First Citizens Orginal Jab Jab presentation of Festival of the Ancestors by Ronald Alfred make their way to the stage. –

CARNIVAL celebrations came to an early end in Couva on both Monday and Tuesday nights, after the police shut them down long before the agreed times.

Despite this and a reduced allocation from the National Carnival Commission (NCC), chairman of the Couva Carnival Committee (CCC) Ramchand Rajbal Maraj said the regional body was able to maintain its high standard, offering five nights of events.

In an interview on Wednesday, Maraj told Newsday the CCC held its pre-Carnival meeting with the police, when times for the starting and closing off of events were agreed to. However, he said on Monday night, Couva’s Monday Night Mas was shut down more than an hour before midnight. On Tuesday, the CCC expected its Las Lap to go until 11 pm but was told it had to stop at 9.30 pm, instead.

An individual with Golden Committee’s portrayal of Red Monkey –

“On Monday night, there was a band on the ramp awaiting to go on stage for the competition, but was unable to cross. You have to remember, these bands pay to register, and despite our pleading with the police, they did not budge.”

This, he added, also affected vendors, who were expecting their best sales on Monday and Tuesday nights.

“It is a loss to them.”

Tuesday’s parade of the bands was better, as all registered bands were able to cross the Couva car park stage, Maraj said.

He was also pleased that the celebration was incident-free.

“It has, again, proven to be a safe Carnival in Couva. The turnout of spectators and bands was fantastic. You saw a sea of people, because they know Couva is a safe place. It is home.”

Maraj also said the feedback from spectators and bandleaders was that the events were of the usual high standard despite a reduction in the allocation from the NCC.

With less funding and increased infrastructure costs – in some cases by 80 per cent, he said – prizes had to be reduced.

He bemoaned the lack of corporate sponsorship and the bureaucracy behind getting sponsors on board.

Traditional Carnival characters perform on stage –

“Some of the big companies are telling us we need to get a letter from NCC saying we are a part of them, but we are part of regional Carnival. We don’t have that certification, So this would have affected our ability to get corporate sponsorship.”

This year’s celebrations were titled Carnival is We, which he said encapsulated the essence and energy of the people of Couva and its environs.

The committee also paid tribute to one of its committee members, Wilton “Flex” Griffith, who died in October 2021.