BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – CHAIRMAN of the National Carnival Committee, Noah Mills has announced that a change would be made to the starting point of Parade Day 2019/2020.
He stated that, traditionally, the Grand National Parade would have started from Wiggley Avenue but it has been shifted to the Buckley’s Round-about on the F.T. Williams Highway.
This change in venue, Mills said, is to eliminate the states of confusion witnessed in the past.
“Over the years, we started the parade at Wiggley Avenue and it had created some chaos there; in that you will have some troupes on Wiggley Avenue, some in Patsy Allers Playfield, some on the perpendicular road to Wiggley Avenue going down by the condominiums and some in other yards.
“And to create a free flow has always been a challenge. It was difficult to get persons to cluster properly for them to be assessed by the judges. It’s difficult to also get the vehicles that relate to the sound systems – the tractors and trailers – to be passing each other.”
Mills also said that the National Carnival Committee had several requests posted on Facebook by a number of revellers, who want “an opportunity to extend the parade somewhat in terms of the length to give them a longer time to be on the street revelling”.
The Chairman stated that during discussions with other parties, they indicated that the traditional route coming down Greenlands offers a nostalgic view, where spectators would bring their chairs and children to line the Greenlands pasture to view the parade directly in front of them.
“Further, that route will offer shelter from the buildings. So you will find spectators going under the buildings’ line and being sheltered. So, our model that we created now offers the greatest good for the greatest number of people, in that we shifted the starting point to the Airport By-Pass Road. And, in fact, the western end by the Buckley’s Round-about,” he added.
In his detailed explanation of the route that would be taken for the Grand National Parade, Mills said: “The last troupe/band will be lined up right next to Buckley’s Round-about on the Airport By-pass Road and all troupes will be facing east. So the parade will start in that direction.
“They would then take the right going down into Fry’s Village and, of course, Fry’s Village would then lead adjacent to the school-field cemetery, putting them right back on Cayon Road. In that way people will see the parade as it goes down.”
He however pointed out that there would be no change of route in downtown Basseterre, because that is where the vendors who register and pay to operate their business normally congregate.
The Chairman also pointed out that there would be a change in some of the judging areas.
“We also shifted around some of the judging points to facilitate the starting point, where a formal judging point will be up there on the Airport By-pass Road. And then, of course, we have eliminated one downtown. Normally, you would have one at Greenlands, one at Subway, one at National Bank and one at the Treasury.
“Because of the close proximity of the judging points - Subway and National Bank - we decided as a team, we presented it to the police, we presented it to the Ministries, we presented it to the troupe managers and owners, jointly as stakeholders we decided to eliminated the National Bank judging point.”
He noted that another advantage of having the new starting point for the Grand National Parade is to get aerial shots of the event as well as to facilitate more mobile units.
“We will have drones operating to show the world the true expanse and the extent of what our Grand National Parade for Carnival is. The change in point also facilitates the addition of mobile units, because each troupe has been authorised to have eight mobile units, which include two sound systems, two drink trucks and water sprinklers.”
Mills declared that the Parade would start promptly at 12 noon and judging of the troupes would end between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m.
“Should there be no violence, crime or acts of destruction, the police will allow it to go down to about 7:00 p.m.,” he added.