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Sep 9, 1998

More bands prepare for carnival

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On last night’s newscast I did a tour of the northside mass camps as they prepared for Friday’s carnival. Tonight we’ll take a look at two junior bands from the southside and one senior band that’s getting ready to rock.

There are twelve carnival bands taking part in the 1998 road march. This year’s carnival, which naturally promises to be bigger and better than 1997, will also be highly competitive. As we toured the mass camps on the southside of Belize City Tuesday night we found most of the band leaders and their groups busy putting on the final touches to their dance routine and costumes.

Marina Welcome, Band Leader, Jump Street Posse

“I think this year that the public is out for a really fantastic year for carnival, I think especially the junior bands. I think they will be really surprise with some of the costumes from the junior bands. I think myself, Black Pearl, we can’t take our eyes off La Democracia. I think we kind of went little extravagant with carnival this year. Myself and my costumes as you can see, can really settle for the senior bands.”

Marina Welcome, of Jump Street Posse, is one of the most experienced junior band leaders, having been with the carnival for thirteen years.

Q: “There are eighty-two members in your group, just how difficult it is working with such a huge number?”

Marina Welcome

“Well, thank God, I have some kids who are not really too bad, they have their days when they give a little bit of problem but they know when it’s time for business. They do their job.”

Q: “Why do you believe that your group will win on Friday?”

Shadene Ottley, 11 Years Old

“Cause they come and they face it up; they face it serious and I really think they are going to win.”

Q: “Don’t think that you are going to get tired?”

Shadene Ottley

“No, mam.”

There are twice as many junior carnival bands than senior bands in the ’98 road march. But as the younger bands become more popular, they are still struggling for sponsorship.

Marina Welcome

“I think what people are realizing is that carnival is fun and carnival is for the kids and I think that it would be so nice if the business place would sponsor the junior bands more, you know. Really what they do is looking at the senior bands and it is the juniors that need help. What they have to remember is that the kids are for tomorrow and if they can put in more, with juniors than the seniors, then carnival would be more exciting.”

While it will be Jump Street Posse’s thirteenth participation, several blocks away, the Raccoon Street Junior Carnival Band was preparing for its first appearance.

Geogette Staine, Band Leader, Raccoon St. Jr. Carnival Band “I love carnival and when I was younger I went into carnival one year and I had to come out halfway cause I suffer with asthma, so I can’t enter again but the kids around my neighborhood wanted to come in, so I decided to do it.”

Q: “How difficult is it to put together a group for carnival?”

Geogette Staine

“It’s not really difficult, as long as you have the kids that want to do it, but if you don’t have them it is going to be difficult to find kids. But to find a theme that would be difficult, cause every year there is something new then you want to portray something newer so that would be difficult.”

Staine says her group, which is thirty-five member strong, will be depicting the National Symbols of Belize.

Georgette Staine

“I’ve never seen, for a longtime I have never seen that kind of carnival. I’ve basically seen stuff like the ocean and stuff like that, so I wanted to do something different and I wanted to do something about Belize.”

Although it will be the first time that the Raccoon Street children will be in carnival, they have a good idea as to what is expected from them.

Gina Adolphus, 13 Years Old

“Kids jumping up and having fun; people dancing and singing.”

Delia Williams, 15 Years Old

“Carnival is a lot of fun. Every year I watch it and this year I decided to go in it.”

While the juniors were having their fun on the southside, we also found that same carnival spirit with the seniors at GEM Belize camp on the northside. The group, which consists of one hundred and thirty five members, has been competing for the past four years.

Saira Mahabir, Costume Director, GEM Senior Carnival Band

“We are geared up; we are hyped and we know we have something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. We are doing “Re-emancipation: The Road to Freedom” this year. We are doing something for the bicentennial and the Battle of St. George’s Caye. We have three sections in our group: buccaneers, bondage and freedom.”

Saira Mahabir, who is GEM’s costume director also took the time to clear the air about the controversy that took place last Saturday at the King and Queen Competition. According to Mahabir, due to the heavy rain and wind that occurred during the event, most of their costumes got wet and it was decided amongst the senior competitors that they would not compete, but wait for another day. This she says was agreed to by the Belize Carnival Association and it was not until her group had packed up and left, that she heard on the radio that there would be a competition after all.

Saira Mahabir

“I want the public to know that our costumes were not damaged; it was wet, but it was not damaged. Our costumes as you can see can withstand rain, pressure, anything like that. So we have our costumes intact and we were ready to have a re-competition but the two senior groups that had the titles did not want to compete for another retry.”

GEM, nevertheless is prepared for Friday and is optimistic of a big win. Over twelve hundred adults and children will be in carnival ’98 and this number does not include those individuals and groups that will be traveling from the United States to be in the road march.

The fourth senior band is a group of Belize-Americans from New York. Channel Five takes this opportunity to welcome all those visitors from abroad and urges everyone to come out to the concert and fireworks tonight, the ceremonies tomorrow and the carnival on Friday. Remember that if you can’t make it out to the boulevard in person you can catch the road march live right here on Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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