Promoters of the Karukera One Love Festival at Maracas Bay believe T&T has missed a grand opportunity to showcase our culture to the world by pulling the plug on the stage in the sea.
Thierry Reynaud and Oliver Choisi gave their views hours after the controversial stage, which was erected on the seabed to hold Friday’s event, was dismantled and its location shifted. Yesterday, construction of a new stage began west of the shoreline.
Both men said when concerns were raised that the stage posed a risk to patrons they had to act swiftly to keep the fete alive.
“So to make everybody comfortable with this year we followed the rules and advice of the authorities to remove the stage from the sea. The stage will be on the seashore so that everybody is happy and everybody is comfortable,” Reynaud said.
Choisi said most of the state agencies agreed to grant them the necessary approvals to build the stage in the seawater. He said he was given a verbal all-clear to construct the stage which the EMA and T&T Fire Services would have examined once completed to ensure stability and safety and approval given.
“When you build something like that you ask but before at the last approval you have to finish. When it is finished they give the approval. The firemen knew. We had a study and we sent everything (to them),” Choisi said.
Hours after the first level of scaffolding was erected, complaints began pouring in from the public, Choisi said, and with heavy hearts they had to back down.
“If they think there is danger we have to follow the authorities . . . we have to work together and the good thing, really, is that we worked together with the authorities and found a good compromise,” Choisi said.
Micheal Pierre, who operates a food business on the beach, believes the fete would have put T&T on the world map.
“I know it was a plus for us in Trinidad and also for the Caribbean because it is something new. As a matter of fact, most people have the concept that the patrons will be going to party in the sea when it would have been only the performers.”
Reynaud expressed similar sentiments to Pierre.
“If I may add to what my colleague was saying, we wanted to put Trinidad and Tobago under the spotlight,” he said.
Both men promised not to take legal action against the state for rescinding the no objection letter acting Commissioner of State Lands (COSL) Bhanmatie Seecharan had granted. The foreign promoters said they were not disappointed by the new developments and will return next Carnival to have a bigger and better water fete once the requirements are met.
A press release yesterday from the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) stated that “steps are being taken by the events organiser to acquire all the necessary approvals which are mandatory for the dispatch of final approval.”