Minshall: Berkeley my greatest competitor

The brevity of Minshall’s tribute, which he ended with “what more can I say”, may seem lacking to some, but perhaps was the most complimentary of Berkeley who dominated Minshall in the Band of the Year competitions in the decade between the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Berkeley won the title nine times to Minshall’s eight.

In recognition of Berkeley’s artistry not only in mas-making but in theatre design, Government has asked the National Carnival Commission to discuss with his family an offer to cover the full cost of the funeral.

Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston “Gypsy” Peters, in a statement, shared his sorrow with Berkeley’s family.

“We join with his loved ones as they seek to cope with their loss. My ministry and I offer our sincerest condolences and sympathy to them at this time and beyond,” said Peters.

Oswald, Berkeley’s brother who arrived in Trinidad from Hamilton, Canada days before the masman’s death, yesterday said the family has graciously accepted Government’s offer to cover the funeral expenses.

The service will take place next Wednesday at the Church of the Assumption in Maraval at 9.30 am, after which Berkeley will be interred at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery in Woodbrook. Berkeley recovered from a stroke in 2000 to go on to design again before suffering two more strokes before his death at his family home in Belmont on Thursday. His death has moved other mas icons to praise his work, which included designs for other bandleaders.

“Wayne was one of our best designers. His costumes will be missed at Carnival in TT. At one time he played in my band but eventually went on his own. He had my blessings,” retired bandleader Edmund Hart said yesterday.

Another veteran bandleader Raoul Garib called Berkeley a “mas designer extraordinaire.”

“It’s sad to see him go. He was the only one who had his works recorded. He will always be remembered. He was one of the best, if not the best we ever had.”

Bandleader Earl Patterson of Masquerade, for whom Berkeley designed said he misses his long-time friend.

“I had been there with him for some 41 years. We have lost one of the best, if not the best. He was detailed with all of his portrayals,” said Patterson.

Trini Revellers’ Dave Cameron recalled Berkeley designs for half of the sections in the band’s 2006 winning presentation, “Rome - The Empire”.

“He was an icon and a master, who has surpassed any other bandleader in that all of his mas work has been recorded.

“His queens too, were always outstanding, and he had a unique flare about it. It was par excellence. There is no other designer that was as detailed in his designing as him.”

In the 1990s a book on Berkeley entitled Wayne Berkeley Costume Design Vol 1 and his entire design collection has been acquired by the National Library Information Service.

The National Carnival Bands Association said to try to determine which one of Berkeley’s winning portrayals was his best or most imaginative would be “an extremely difficult proposition.”

“Wayne Berkeley will always be remembered for his exquisitely designed king and queen costumes, winning the King of Carnival title twice and the Queen of Carnival title nine times. There is no doubt that Berkeley has been one of the luminaries on the mas scenario, and undoubtedly, has made a significant and immeasurable contribution to the development of Carnival over the years.”

The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation also expressed condolences to the Berkeley family and recommended a national museum of carnival arts and culture should be established where the works of the designers such as Berkeley can be accessed.


"Minshall: Berkeley my greatest competitor"

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