By: Yvonne Baboolal
“I am a businessman...I believe in making money.” This statement came from Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston “Gypsy” Peters as he checked on the progress of work on Carnival facilities at the Queen’s Park Savannah yesterday. Work was proceeding apace on the new North Stand. All the steel structures were already up, including the roof, which was half covered. Opposite, excavators cleared the site for the new Grand Stand, while workmen tore down the old Grand Stand nearby. The new stands will include VIP and media booths and a corporate suite.
Further, a building that served as a judging point for the parade will be demolished soon and the area regrassed. There will be improved lighting, running water and better toilet facilities. Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner, who toured the site with Peters, said he would leave no stone unturned to see the new facilities completed and ready by its February 10 deadline. He and Peters checked out the facilities with a number of Government and project officials, including Water and Sewerage Authority CEO Ganga Singh, Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission chairman Omar Khan and National Carnival Commission chairman Kenny de Silva.
Peters said the Carnival Village, which would be constructed immediately after Carnival, would include a Carnival museum and a calypso tent to hold between 10,000 and 15,000 people. The theme of Carnival 2011 is Back in “D” Savannah. Indicating that the new venue would pay for itself, the minister said: “I am not about putting my country in further expense. “I am a businessman...I believe in making money,” he said. Carnival must be a money-making venture...It can’t be a case of losing money anymore.” As for the cost of the new facilities, he said it was still being worked out but would be revealed soon.
He said the idea of the People’s Band was also about bringing back economic benefits to the micro businessman. “I believe Carnival has been taken away from the ordinary man... want to bring back Carnival to the ordinary man,” Peters said. He said all-inclusive mas bands, which provided food and drinks for masqueraders, had taken away revenue from vendors who would normally “make a lil buck” for Carnival. He said the People’s Band would be provided with police and army personnel to guard players and would have big and small trucks, tassa and steel bands and bottle and spoon sections. “If you have any old George Bailey costume from under your grandmother bed, bring it and come,” Peters joked. He promised to bring a product for Carnival 2011 at the Savannah that the world would want to see.
SOURCE: Trinidad Guardian