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TTCBA president Rosalind Gabriel during an interview at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

The Grand Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah will come alive this weekend as the mas fraternity prepares to fill the stage with colour and splendour.

Despite an over $1 million shortfall in its allocation from the $15 million budget approved to National Carnival Commission (NCC), the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bands Association (TTCBA) said it was determined to not disappoint the mas fraternity.

President of the TTCBA, Rosalind Gabriel told Guardian Media thanks to the generosity of First Citizens Bank, two mas shows will be in full swing, starting with traditional mas on Sunday.

“It was a cry for help and we are going to make do with what we have between what was allocated by the NCC and the sponsorship of FCB,” according to her.

The combined budget of state and corporate sponsorship is $3 million, 75 per cent of which will go towards prize monies.

“A King or Queen outlays $80,000 so to say you all could have just had a show instead of a competition that’s not realistic so anybody who says that don’t really know the business of mas,” Gabriel told Guardian Media during an interview yesterday.

“When the announcement was made in early February, everybody jumped on board, not only the usual builders of Kings and Queens but we have new people who registered because we have no bands this year. Usually, you have to be attached to a band and obviously with no bands on the road people who would have to attach themselves to a band to bring a King or Queen the way was opened for them to participate,” she added.

Gabriel said 30 Kings and Queens are registered to grace the stage.

“In a regular year we would get about 80 Kings and 60 Queens but what we have right now, we are happy with it and we could put on a really good show,” Gabriel explained.

Commenting on the cancellation of the Calypso and Extempo competitions, which was announced by TUCO on Tuesday, Gabriel explained, “I wish I didn’t happen but being the head of an interest group, we support the decision that was made.”

Guardian Media visited the Image Nation Mas camp in St Clair where the team was busy building costumes for their two Kings, one queen and one individual.

Creative Artistic Director, Peter Roberts, said it is the most activity the Image Nation camp has had in the last two years.

“Carnival time brings a kind of energy that no other time of the year brings,” Roberts affirmed.

He told Guardian Media that the team has been enjoying the Taste of Carnival.

In fact, he said they are “greedy” for more but are grateful for even the smallest opportunity to operate.

“I just wished the taste could have been a bigger taste. I am loving the taste!” Roberts expressed.

From the moment the announcement was made for a small-scale Carnival, he said he and his team jumped straight into action.

“Four o’clock the next morning the news landed so, I jumped out my bed and pulled out my drawing book and started to do the sketching for it and that went on until four the next morning,” he said.

Since then, the team has been spending hours building their costumes using recycled products.

The Kings and Queens Finals will be part of the Dimanche Gras on Sunday, February 27.