Port of Spain, Trinidad, March 12, 2018: More than 40 J'ouvert bandleaders and representatives turned out to express their concerns and share ideas for improvement, at a townhall meeting hosted by the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC) at its VIP Lounge at the Queen's Park Savannah on March 8.
The meeting, the first of several in an ongoing series designed to solicit feedback and cooperation in sustainably developing the annual celebrations and mitigating the negative impact on the Woodbrook community and Port of Spain environs, brought out several creative ideas from a diverse cross-section of the bandleader community; comprised of representation from both popular, seasoned bands and several newer ones.
Before a head table of the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. The Honourable Nyan Gadbsy-Dolly, His Worship, The Mayor of Port of Spain, Joel Martinez, and NCC Executive Chairman, Colin Lucas, various representatives took the floor to express their thoughts on how the celebrations could be improved and the fallout reduced.
Some of the ways forwarded included exploring the possibility of designated band routes and zones, increased security and restroom facilities along agreed routes, and working out acceptable sound levels in critical areas in order to reduce the noise pollution for residents.
Executive Chairman, Colin Lucas, who also chaired the meeting, expressed his optimism at the conclusion of the meeting.
"We know that to reach a suitable agreement will take some time, but we are willing to work together to reach workable solutions and harmonies in order to ensure that our J'ouvert culture and stakeholders are not gravely affected," Lucas said.
"However, Thursday's sit down was a very good start. We are grateful that so many representatives turned out, and that we were able to bring so many diverse stakeholders to share their concerns and thoughts, and most of all, to do so in an open and honest setting."
"While we knew of many of their concerns from before, it was good that we had the chance to hear them firsthand, and tease out some viable solutions and ways forward, as we begin planning for the 2019 Season," he said.
Mr. Lucas said that the NCC will continue meeting with all its stakeholders, including the Woodbrook Residents Association, the Trinidad and Tobago Protective Services, and various other state bodies as they strive to achieve solutions well ahead of next year's celebrations.
The second in a series of stakeholder discussions between the NCC, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, and Port of Spain J’ouvert Bandleaders took place on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at the NCC’s VIP Lounge at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Several representatives weighed in on plans, developed by the NCC, to improve the beloved J’ouvert celebrations with added emphasis on reducing the negative impact to neighbouring communities and implementing measures to better safeguard resident and masquerader security.
NCC Chairman, Colin Lucas (at lectern) chaired Tuesday’s meeting, guided by the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. The Honorable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly (seated at front) who expressed her ongoing confidence that the discussions would be fruitful once all parties continued working toward a common goal.
The series of meetings, which kicked off in March, will continue throughout the year as the NCC convenes with various stakeholder groups to discuss and strengthen proposed plans.