by: Geisha Alonzo, Peter Christopher
Despite last minute approvals granted to Republic Bank Exodus, the steelband will still not be parading the streets of Port-of-Spain on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. This, for the first time in 36 years.
This has amounted to the band losing between $75,000 to $80,000. About 400 masqueraders were registered with the band to play mas but Ainsworth Mohammed, the band’s manager, said refunds were being issued.
The band’s trailer, which would have housed the panmen’s instruments, was deemed unfit for the road by Transport Commissioner Basdeo Gosine.
Mohammed said although approvals were granted late last Friday by the Licensing Department there were still other approvals which the band had to obtain, including those from the Police and Port-of-Spain City Corporation.
“When we got the very late approval I could have done nothing at that stage. When they had initially told us no about the approvals we didn’t go forward,” Mohammed said.
He said the band was using the trailer for the last ten years and that they always got approval for the road.
While he acknowledged the commissioner was within his rights to decline the application, he was disappointed that certain discretion was not used.
“The gentleman very likely is within his right but there is a provision within the act which is what the previous transport commissioners used. They used that provision in the act to approve the trailer for parading on the road,” Mohammed said. He did not say what the provision in the act entailed.
He explained that due to the lengthy bureaucratic process to get a trailer approved, it was not possible to get an alternative trailer to facilitate the band.
The four-time Panorama champions which played in the seventh position placed last at the Panorama finals this year. Describing this as disappointing, Mohammed said the band was ready to move on.
The band faced opposition from Pan Trinbago when it decided to drop SuperBlue’s Rag Storm and roll into the 2019 Panorama finals with Kees Dieffenthaller’s Savannah Grass. High Court judge Justice Kevin Ramcharan ruled in favour of the band which filed an injunction against Pan Trinbago.