revealed: Models display costumes from Tribe's 2012 Carnival presentation during the band's launch at the Paddock, Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, on Saturday night. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY
Leader of mas band, Tribe, Dean Ackin, is asking for a new business partnership between the Government, mas makers and other Carnival stake-holders.
Speaking at the media launch for the band's 2012 presentation, Take Me To… last Saturday night, Ackin said, his organisation "did not believe that the controversial costume tariff was in the best interest of the industry or the masqueraders".
He said: "We believe the best solution is for us to form a new partnership with the Government, Carnival authorities, the bands and Carnival stakeholders working together to form a three- to five-year plan, with the aim of developing legal skills, introducing technology and machinery and creating and sustaining the productive capacity of the local mas industry."
Ackin called on other bandleaders to support this initiative as he addressed a gathering which included President George Maxwell Richards, as well as several Government Ministers and Members of Parliament.
During a tour of mas camps with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in February, Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston Peters revealed his intent to increase the tariff on the importation of costumes and mas materials by 3,000 per cent while maintaining that, "The manufacture of costumes abroad is not in the country's best interest in terms of developing and expanding the local Carnival industry."
Ackin said, "The mas industry creates over 10,000 jobs each year for Carnival. Partnering with stakeholders to take Trinbago Carnival to a higher level—was much more prudent than—strangling and suffocating the industry with tariffs."
Peters was not present at Saturday's launch, which was held in the paddock area of the Queen's Park Savannah, in Port of Spain and attracted potential masqueraders for the public viewing.
Following the media launch which was held backstage, the band's twelve sections were revealed to the public in the main arena.
This colourful display was followed by a performance from Kes The Band with lead singer, Groovy Soca Monarch, Kees Dieffenthaller.
Dieffenthaller, in response, said, "I think this issue should have been looked at years now. We are the Mecca of carnivals. By now, the world should be coming to us to source Carnival costumes, pan and anything else we could package from Carnival. The festival is a proven and tested source of income. Why is there no real investment and proper steps to secure its growth and future? I am in agreement with Dean and any other movement in that direction."
Trinidad Express Newspaper National News of Trinidad and Tobago