Exodus off the road this year …band loses $75,000 in masqueraders’ fees

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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.

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