finals miserable failure
national stickfighting finals promoted by the National Carnival
Commission (NCC) on February 14 at the old market in Princes Town
turned out to be a fiasco. I can find no other word to describe
it. The organisation was deplorable, especially with respect to
accommodation and security.
It would appear as if the NCC obtained the assistance of a Princes
Town organisation and between the two they failed miserably.
The old market was far too small, and at least as many paying patrons
ended up standing as those who obtained seats. The NCC should have
had attendance figures from previous years to guide it in the choice
of an appropriate venue. The inadequate accommodation seems to have
given rise to many of the problems which followed.
Some standing patrons obstructed the view of those who were seated,
and many did not respond to the pleas of officials to co-operate
by desisting from this behaviour.
At one corner of the gayelle, standing patrons, not content to obstruct
the view of those seated behind them, even stood on chairs. They
did so for the duration of the show in spite of the pleas of those
whose view they were obstructing.
There was no security inside the facility to maintain order. I observed
two uniformed policemen outside at the entrance, but according to
a newspaper report, they seemed to have their hands full with the
crowd outside. Appeals over the PA system for the municipal police
to maintain order failed.
Could not a few policemen been hired to maintain order? If they
were inside the facility, they were not visible, did not assist
in maintaining order, and did not respond to appeals over the PA
system for help.
The organisation was so poor that one hour after the scheduled start
at 7 pm, appeals were still being made to competing gayelles to
register at the head table.
I listened to days of advertisement on the radio and no entry fee
was advertised. It was only at the gate on the night of the show
that we learned what the entry fee was.
There was an absence of an elevated stage to accommodate a gayelle
or arena, something which is fundamental to all gladiatorial sports,
eg boxing and wrestling. The gayelle being on the same level with
the seated patrons caused its share of problems. I am over six feet
tall and had difficulty in seeing over those seated in front of
The two ring masters did not perform an important part of their
duties, which was to keep the gayelle clear of unauthorised people.
Appeals for them to do so over the PA system were totally ignored
Inadequate accommodation, no security, and no elevated stage lead
me to wonder whether adequate funding was allocated to this promotion
apart from the prize money, and whether stickfighting was considered
to be the poor relation of Carnival events and what the prospects
are for maintaining this important tradition.
To add to the woes, a pipeline broke and the danger of water on
the floor on which stood high-voltage equipment caused considerable
delay. The programme eventually got underway three hours late.
In spite of the considerable inconvenience caused by unavoidable
as well as avoidable delays, we did see some good stickfighting.
The drumming and singing of the drummers, the dancing of the stickfighters
and the fighting itself were quite entertaining. It is a pity that
the event was so poorly organised.
The NCC commissioner present must be singled out for praise. She
tried beyond the call of duty to maintain some semblance of order,
but the odds were against her from the outset.
This letter is intended mainly for the benefit of the NCC so that
it can avoid the pitfalls of 2007 and put on a better show in the
$20 to park on public property
Sunday evening, I tried to enter the MovieTowne premises but was
faced with a barricade (a good distance from the Movie-Towne guard
booth) manned by very hostile and aggressive security officers
whose clothes (not uniforms) did not identify by whom they were
I was told in a very aggressive tone that I would have to pay $20
in order to gain entry into the compound and a ticket on which was
printed $40, which was crossed off and $20 written in.
I asked whether I could proceed to the right of the barricade to
the area which is clearly outside of the MovieTowne premises but
which their patrons regularly use due to the inadequacy of the MovieTowne
parking. The guard insisted that I would have to pay
the $20 fee to enter that public area as well.
When I protested that MovieTowne had no authority to charge a fee
for parking in a public area outside the MovieTowne premises, I
was verbally abused.
I suspect that with the Dimanche Gras show taking place at the nearby
Jean Pierre Complex that evening, someone at MovieTowne thought
this was a golden opportunity to earn some extra money or restrict
parking on public lands.
Is it not enough that MovieTowne is charging patrons a fee to enter
the concession area, now its a fee to enter the car park and
what is worse a fee to park on public property.
I am calling on the Port Authority and the responsible minister,
Colm Imbert, to investigate this matter.
MovieTowne is the one who should be made to pay for the facility
of allowing its patrons to park on the public lands surrounding
Movie-Towne. It is in fact extending the area of it lease at taxpayers
Country lacks proper security
for a Better T&T (CBTT) believes that kidnappers and other criminals
will continue to rob, rape, and murder our people because we lack
proper security for citizens.
We dont need to be psychic to predict that this year over
300 citizens are going to be murdered while an unacceptable number
will be kidnapped for ransom.
Many of us are praying that the Government succeeds in its fight
against crime. However dont bet on this happening in the near
CBTT has made numerous crime-fighting recommendations which we hope
will be adopted by the Government in the quickest possible time.
Clearly, there are some influential people in the kidnapping business
because most to them continue to evade the police. Records show
that even police and army officers are involved in this criminal
Every corporate citizen is at risk. It seems that its a liability
to be a successful businessman because you may be the envy of many
and the target of kidnappers.
Many honest people in the business sector have already sent their
children to study/reside abroad because they fear for their safety.
Kidnapping will continue to be a big business as long as our security
system remains inadequate. The majority of people could testify
to the lack of regular police patrols in their communities.
Its unfortunate that after more than four decades of independence,
government after government could not pass DNA and breathalyser
legislation. Added to this we still cant even place police
patrols, cameras and other surveillance systems throughout the country.
Yet our politicians, past and present, want zero-tolerance on murder,
kidnapping and drunk driving.
CBTT, La Romaine
Port to ensure movies for all
wish to respond to the letter from Patricia Charles headed Adult
comedy on TT Express (February 27).
I do confirm that movies are shown on the two fast ferries, TNT
Express and The Cat, as part of the on-board entertainment. It is
our policy to show videos rated for general audiences so it is regrettable
that an adult-rated comedy was shown during one of the trips (February
13 on the 6.30 am sailing).
Obviously there was a slip-up on this occasion and I am assuring
Charles, and all our passengers, that with immediate effect we will
be extra vigilant in the choice of movies shown by ensuring that
the policy of pre-screening of movies is upheld.
I wish to convey thanks to Charles for her positive comments on
the trip and also for drawing the matter to our attention, as our
aim is to make the fast ferry sailing an enjoyable experience.
Betty Ann Gibbons
Public relations manager
Port Authority of T&T
flags for Arrive Alive drive
have been following the various sponsored activities by the Arrive
Alive campaign and I would like to suggest a good medium for getting
the message across on a consistent basis.
Utilise 90 per cent, if not all, of the sponsored funds to buy thousands
of flags with the message and the sponsors name on them (flags
that can be installed on vehicles windows). Remember all the
national flags that were brought at $30 each for the World Cup?
The Arrive Alive flags would be sold at cost.
When the fad wanes we can come up with another attractive
flag and a Time to stop crime message.
via post should be sent to the
St Vincent Street,
Trinidad Publishing Company Limited
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