The most popular being politics, the bacchanal surrounding the UNC internal election, last May’s general election, the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) and its illegal wire-tapping of public and private figures, the People’s Partnership’s subsequent attempt to appoint Reshmi Usha Ramnarine as head of the new Strategic Security Agency (SSA); a merger of the SIA and the old SSA, these national issues were ventilated in the costumes and presentations at J’ouvert.
This all took place mere hours after last night’s crowning of the 2011 Calypso Monarch as well as the King and Queen of Carnival, during Dimanche Gras at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
J’ouvert parades lasted until just after sunrise, when many of those parading headed for home for a bath and a change of clothing, or to pan out the heat for a cooldown in preparation for the real Mas.
During that period the streets become virtual ghost towns during the morning while “mud mas” revellers become the players for their Carnival Monday “pretty mas” costumes. In stark contrast, today’s parade which got underway at 11 am takes the form of a dress rehearsal for the Big Show tomorrow, Carnival Tuesday, when everyone comes out in their full costumes, including those ever-popular feathered head-pieces.
The action gets going much earlier tomorrow. From 8 am, masqueraders will all be pumped up in their full regalia ready to go as far as their energy can take them. Most of them aim to get their ten minutes of glory on the now huge Savannah stage before the television cameras as well as the many other foreign camera people on hand to record Trini Mas.
Apart from the disk-jockeys on their heavy ten-wheeler trucks, there are also the many full fledged steelbands beating out the many road march hits to the jumping joy of the numerous revellers on the streets – not only in Port-of-Spain, the capital, but also in every town, district and other village areas. It is a time when each reveller tries to outdo other revellers, whether they be friend or foe. The competition, especially on the Savannah stage, is what the revellers make their pitch for with the many cash prizes at stake.
Prizes are given out, either a week or two later to the many who are adjudged winners.
At midnight tomorrow the fun and revellery will come to a halt. The morning following that will see many people, back in normal clothing, going to church to get their “Ash Wednesday” blessings.
Already, many people are hailing this Carnival as the biggest and brightest in a long time. Many viewed the occasion as “Carnival coming back from the dead.”
The event was seen as the biggest and brightest due to the increased number of steelbands and masquerade bands in which noted bandleaders show off their skills and creativity in order to cop the top titles – Band of the Year; Individual of the Year, plus the several prizes for the individuals.
This year’s show is also viewed as a revival of Carnival following the meagre four years when bands last paraded on the stage in 2006.
In the intervening period bands and revellers were ordered out of the Savannah and onto the streets. This move did not go down too well for the masqueraders, but the then Government insisted that the Savannah was being looked at as the site for a much-touted National Carnival Centre.
Brian MacFarlane is the defending champ in the ‘Large Band’ category, having won the George Bailey Large Band of the Year title last year for his presentation Resurrection-the Mas and in 2009 for Africa, her people, her glory, her tears. This year we await the judges’ final decision.