Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jet sets and old mas

Column this week

Carnival Registration and a US$50 million jet – what, if anything, do these two things have in common? Well, you might be tempted to make the joke that at the rate things are going, you might end up having the pay roughly the same amount for both. But in the way of jokes that’s not very funny, especially for die hard Carnival junkies like myself who might giggle at this, but secretly cross ourselves, our fingers and knock on wood to ward off this terrible evil.

What these two things have in common is the fact that they both demonstrate the poor state of affairs that is consumer appreciation in this country. Whether you are a masquerader or a taxpayer your money means boo if these two situations that occurred last week – and are still occurring – are anything to go by.

Now, to be fair, the appalling disregard for masqueraders’ money that I am referring to applies really to one band. Some bands have been marvelous at keeping their masqueraders abreast of what’s expected to happen, when it’s expected to happen, and at what cost. Pulse 8 and Tribe are two that come to mind and I am sure there are others. But it is another band that I am concerned with, a band that has marketed itself as “The” band, much the same way as its parties are marketed as “The” events to be seen in.

After the many hiccups encountered in its freshman year this year, many thought that the band would make extra efforts to not only ensure that those errors weren’t repeated, but also to do what was necessary to instill confidence in those who were considering playing with them next year. The launch was a success, despite the fact that it started later than had been advertised. The costumes were gorgeous and everybody waited excitedly for the website to be up so they could see the costumes properly and the cost. And we waited. And we waited. Meanwhile, calls to the mas camp went unanswered, until the voicemail inbox was full. Emails were unreturned. All the while rumours that registration had already begun for “important” masqueraders floated about, causing consternation and offense among potential players. Then came the surprise announcement on Friday – again through unofficial channels – that previous masqueraders would be allowed to register before the general public – on that same day!

So, to recap the situation that potential masqueraders were faced with yesterday – the website isn’t up, the prices haven’t been announced, there is no online registration yet overseas masqueraders have to pay the full price of their costume! This has left many masqueraders not only very confused but angry as well.

Now, on to the jet plane. Our beloved Prime Minister took a US$50m jet for a little test spin up the Caribbean lat week. Rumours and half truths have abounded since then. One theory is that the Mannings are planning on buying the jet to avoid the hassles they encounter when flying. What hassles a prime minister who is flying first class without having to do so much as carry his own Johnny Walker purchased in duty free would ever encounter I do not know. But apparently they are so horrendous, he needs to spend the food import bill of a small island to overcome it, despite the fact that officially 21% - yes, 21% - of the population lives below the poverty line. But I guess this is exactly why he would feel the need to purchase a jet plane; he wouldn’t be able to see anything from such heights, especially not children going to bed hungry and man scaling fence to steal zaboca to sell.

The other rumour is that Prime Minister Manning had been approached by Caricom to purchase a jet plane on their behalf. This is a bit confusing – do they mean for Manning to use our money to buy a plane for Caricom to use, or does it mean that Caricom funds will be used, they just want Manning to apply his jet plane buying expertise? When approached about this, the only thing the PM has been willing to give is annoying hand signals and what he imagines to be an enigmatic smile that really just makes him look annoying insipid and clueless.

Now my point is this. If I am paying taxes I think I have a right to know how that money will be spent and to voice my disapproval at its wastage. Likewise, if I am going to be spending over TT$3,000 for a costume then I think I should be able to see the costume before I buy it, know exactly what the cost is and be able to know exactly when I will be able to register, especially if I reside overseas.

But unfortunately these two situations reflect that communication in this country is still regarded mostly as a luxury and that the people who are there to serve us, still act like they’re doing us a favour.


fiestyspirit said...

Any news on oversees registration for IP. Thanks

Prettidolli said...

Hottie, I saw this on another site in reference to IP mas:

He said they have a long line (expected) want you to get measured for the section you want and then after you measured they are telling you if the section is open.

IS THIS SH*T TRUE? Does anyone else out there know about something like this? After all the commess last year with other bands (who btw had working websites with posted prices)and size restrictions? I really don't understand what is or is not going on here....No website but yet such boldfacedness? Too too many rumors......Please somebody out there tell me the Devil is a liar!

Hottie Hottie said...

Fiesty spirit, no online registration this year. You will have to get someone home to do it for you. However, if you're playing in Nubian, Mirage or The corbeau mas - the black one nah, I have an email from Krystal who's bringing out the section. It's posted below but I'll include it below for you.

Now don't all scream at me at once.....it's not my doing, but there will not be online registration againthis year.....I won't go into all the details as to why, but as my person friends I'm affording u the opportunity to sign up through me.
I just know how it is for u guys living in foreign and would like to help out the situation.(GOD HELP ME!)
Ok, so my section this year is NUBIANS ....Yes, yes....the trini section (red, white & black). But I also designed SAHARA JUMBEE & MIRAGE.
So anybody wanting to register ( regardless of the section)....this is the information that i need from each person, so i can completely & correctly fill out u'r registration cards:-
Phone # ( work, home, cell)
Email address

Chest/T-shirt size (e.g. SM/MED/LG/XL)
Belt size (in inches e.g. 34")
Pants size (e.g. SM/MED/LG/XL)

Bra size (e.g. 34B, 36C)
Belt Size ( in inches e.g. 34" - this is the measurement where u would like to wear u'r costume belt. NOT U'R WAIST MEASUREMENT)
Panty size ( e.g. SM/MED/LG/XL)
Regarding payment......the deposit this year is $1,000 TTD. The fastest way to have monies sent is western union. This can also be done online. Also , u can call me to see if i'll be in u'r neck of the woods, cause i may be able to collect the $$ directly form u....
Registration should be starting next Monday, which is the 18th ( my wedding anniversary :0)) so I suggest that $$ and information be sent me by this weekend.
anymore details.....call me......take care guys and contact me soon

Hottie Hottie said...

Prettidolli girl,I don't know. A couple of people emailed me to tell me how rude staff was beting to them. A friend told me a coworker was registering and when the staff found se was asking too many questions i.e. PRICE she was told she didn't have to play with them. Not only do I not like the fact that all these rumours surround the service, but I'm disturbed by the fact that IP doesn't seem to give a left testicle about it. Girl, at least you eh playing with them. What section in Harts you playing in?

Hottie Hottie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fiestyspirit said...

Thanks Hottie my first pick is Raiders then Sahara but not too sure cause i cant see the name under the pic. What happend IP took their pics off their website i have no idea what happening. IF krystal is the contact can you give her my email address fiestyspirit5@aol.com. I have 4 people to register. Thanks for all your help, still going to see if i can get in with Tribe come Sat but i aint holding my breath.

Hottie Hottie said...

Fiesty you can go ahead and call and/or email. She cool - even if you not playing in her section she will be able to advise you. What section you want to get in in Tribe?

fiesty said...

i wanted Jamette (there is 4 of us) but thats all sold out next was fireman. I see Krystal cell but not an email address thanks

Island Spice said...

Nice one Hottie. I come from a much much poorer Caricom state where our PM wouldn't even think it! Oil money or no. And you right about the Carnival costumes too .. apart from the HORRID customer service from that particular band I must also say that it is important for people to SPEAK UP and not just complain .. but also boycott the bu!!$hit nah. Even after the bad service I see the band is half sold out .. what does that say?? So many people don't mind and will still pay $500 US to be disrespected.
Someone *wink wink* should forward this piece to the Guardian... if u get a pulitzer I want a hail up!! :)
and have some pity on Manning girl .. he can't carry his JWBlacks or his lipgloss on board anymore!!

Hottie Hottie said...

Fiesty, there is still space - as of last night - in Jamette (bra option). Krystal's email address (sorry I didn't give it) is


She checks this all the time - it's her business address. P.S. Raiders hasn't sold out as yet! Try to get someone back home to register you and your posse.

Hottie Hottie said...

Island Spice, girl, we still have this colonial mentality in Trinidad that makes us willing to put up with all kinda shit. I notice that they selling out fast - and I know people who went to register and STILL didn't find out what the price was! Madness. So who you playing with and what section?

fiesty said...

thanks Hottie for the info.

Mani said...

Gyul, you said it very well. It seems that the modus operandi is that when they (the mas band or the government) has your money, they could care less about you.

Very colonial, and very sad.

Hottie Hottie said...

Fiesty, you're welcome. Let me know how it goes, ok.

Mani, boy, it disturbs me how addicted to "front" Trinis have become. Pride, honesty, nothing else matters all long as people perceive you as being "in". And the majority of them doh be in shit. I PERSONALLY know.

Island Spice said...

Hottie .. I will be right beside you on the road in Dragon come February 19th and 20th. Bottom in the Road!! Dead or Alive, IP or Tribe, Still weh coming!!

Hottie Hottie said...

You in Dragon!!!!!? Well awrite! We will link up man! We coming...