Any nervousness or fear masqueraders and spectators alike may have had going to the Piccadilly Street (the Greens), Port-of-Spain judging point to play and watch mas were allayed by the heavy police presence at the venue and downtown Port-of-Spain yesterday.
Anyone wanting to cause trouble would have had to breach the police motorcycle and vehicle checkpoint at the corner of Queen Street before the bands crossed in front the judges on the southern side and the manned police barricades, with police inspectors and also members of the T&T Fire Service.
National Security Minister Stuart Young and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, accompanied by security and law enforcement heads and a squad of tactical police dressed in helmets, balaclavas and green BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms) and shadow grey uniforms, also passed through the route bolstering the public’s confidence in the safety of Piccadilly Street.
There were police vehicle patrols through the city streets and at least two police officers were at a corner.
National Carnival Commission (NCC) Chairman Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters visited the venue with other commission officials and addressed the public and officials briefly also reassuring them that patrons’ safety was paramount and it was shaping up to be a very successful Carnival.
While “Las Lap” was still to occur in the night, even at midday in the Road March race, four-time Power Soca Monarch and 2020 International Soca Monarch winner Neil “Iwer” George’s smash hit Stage Gone Bad appeared to be a forgone conclusion.
He is also a contender for the number two spot as part of the trio of Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous and Iwer George with the heraldic Conch Shell and Lyrikal’s Rukshun in third place.
Entertainer cum Carnival band leader Kerron Sealey, aka Sunny Bling, blended the two roles informing the judges and spectators that his band Have ah Time and its portrayal The Spirit of Carnival was an organic band that grew every year and beads and feathers mas was not the spirit of Carnival, but it was the joy of the people jumping up for the Carnival.
The band crossed to Stage Gone Bad played first, then Conch Shell.
Adrenaline City’s Caribbean Unity Queen almost spanned the width of the road but she manoeuvred her costume like a veteran.
Outrageously Community Development Band did a choreographed dance before the judges with eight female dancers and one teenage male dancer.