News day / Even with the change in route, it didn’t increase the number of bands leaders wanted to participate in the morning segment of the celebrations.

Despite the few bands, Arima Mayor Lisa-Morris-Julian hailed the festivities “The celebration was fantastic.

We need more bands to come out next year. People saw how safe it was going around the savannah.

People made their two laps, got tired and went again. No problems with the blocking of Queen Street. We are trying to bring back J’Ouvert in Arima.” When asked why Arimians and band leaders prefer to parade in the evening, Morris-Julian said, “The decline of J’Ouvert had become a safety issue and people started to come out later and later but people won’t have that to worry about it because we have in total, 500 regular police officers, army and municipal police officers on the streets.” There was no Wett Fete this year, an event usually held on a Saturday by promoters Boom Champions 94.1fm. An Arima businessman decided to seize the opportunity and started promoting Colour Fest (a similar event) but did not fulfil all of the requirements of the Environmental Management Authority and the Police Service and the event was cancelled on Friday.

The Parade of the Bands in the afternoon saw revellers hitting the streets from about 3 pm intent on maximising the three hour permit to masquerade. First to hit the road was Rum Splash from Tumpuna Road South, who made the first lap around the Arima Savannah, (the second largest roundabout in Trinidad and Tobago).

A quick survey among masqueraders, brought to light that they were pleased with the change in route to the savannah, as it gave them more space to revel. Patrick Joseph, one of the Rum Splash bandleaders, said, “ The route change is good. Passing through the heart of Arima is only good for the bandits and mischief makers.” Also among the revelry, was a small band from China Railway Construction (Caribbean) Co Ltd (CRCL). Although CRCL had a mere 11 people, it was evident that the Chinese too were basking in the experience of local culture.

The celebrations continued with steel pan and parang at 6 pm and a Youth Concert at 10 pm.


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