It’s going to be bigger, better, louder and more colourful.
That’s what veteran Mas Band leader Louis Saldenah had to say about his group’s performance this year at the Caribana parade.
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“We’re so proud to have brought our culture from Trinidad to Toronto,” said Saldenah, who’s entering the Mas Bands competition for the 26th straight year. “Now, we bring in $300 million to the economy. All Caribbean people should be proud of that.”
Certainly, Joe Halstead, the city’s appointed chairman of the festival, seems to have forgotten his problems. When the festival’s long history of financial mismanagement prompted the city to take over the managing role, many within the Caribbean community took to the streets to protest, worried Caribana wouldn’t be the same. For a while, it seemed like its very future was in jeopardy.
“It’s our own fault,” Halstead said in an interview. “People in the community were divided. We had different ways to go with it. The event wasn’t managed right, and that in itself doesn’t encourage people to be supportive.”
Halstead said he’s pleased with the support for this year’s event so far. As usual, he’s predicting a lot of interest from the Americans and Ontarians outside the GTA, not to mention the celebrity crowd.
NBA players, especially, always talk about Caribana when they come here,” he said.