FABA Belmonteers does not only want to have fun during the Carnival season with its J'Ouvert presentation Soca Warriors Ah See Yuh, but is determined to keep the rich Carnival tradition alive in Belmont.
The district lies on the eastern side of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain – the heartbeat of Carnival. Many Belmont residents have immersed themselves in Carnival, and the community has produced traditional mas, Carnival bands, designers and steelbands.
Belmonteers' designer Ruthven Barry Walkins has come up with four sections for Soca Warriors Ah See Yuh.
Look ah Warrior Dey will have the names of Trinidad and Tobago's footballers on the costume; and Big and Hot Fans pays homage to the dedicated Soca Warriors fans. Jack-enn-de-bucks will include masqueraders with briefcases and a tie, after colourful former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner. The section, Brent Sancho, is in memory of the moment when footballer Brent Sancho's dreadlocks were pulled by English striker Peter Crouch at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Sancho is originally from Belmont.
Soca Warriors Ah See Yuh is being supported by Soca Warriors owner and creator Selwyn Melville, who first used the nickname, Soca Warriors, to describe the T&T men's senior football team in the late 1990s.
Walkins, speaking about the band's theme, said, "One of the things we are doing is trying to sensitise the public to support these guys, because they are representing us. I find we are not loyal enough to our Soca Warriors, because they brought the country together like nothing else ever did.
"I think it is the right time, especially as the current team is gelling, like (Real) Gill, (Duane) Muckette and (Che) Benny and these guys...let's support these guys. Hence our J'Ouvert presentation is about sensitising the country to supporting these guys."
Soca Warriors played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only time T&T qualified for the tournament.
The band is semi-inclusive and one package includes breakfast, limited drinks and security. There is a special for each person in a group of five or more.
In the build-up to Carnival, the band will have a lime at the mas camp, 1 Suffolk Road, Belmont, every Friday from 8 pm.
"We call it a warm-up lime," assistant designer Francesca Felix said.
Walkins and Felix believe the sections cater for a wide range of people.
"There are some women who like the sexy Big and Hot Fans, if you want to play in that," Felix said.
Walkins thinks the Brent Sancho section will be a hot seller, along with Look Ah Warrior Dey, as that option has all the footballers' names on the T-shirts.
Discussing the history of Belmont's involvement in Carnival, Walkins said, "Part of it is bringing J'Ouvert back in Belmont, because Belmont is a place of everything mas. So we want to bring that enthusiasm back, so what better to do than the Soca Warriors?"
Pan is also prominent in Belmont, as it is the home of Junior Panorama champions St Margaret's Boys' Anglican School, winners of the Primary School category in 2024. Casablanca is one of the pan sides from Belmont, formed way back in the 1940s.
"It is not the same as it used to be, but it (Belmont) still has that history and that respect as a pathway into Carnival, and most people who in Woodbrook and so on, if you check it out, most of them come from Belmont...We must try to keep that tradition and don't let it fade away."
Walkins wants the younger generation to show their interest. "That's why we want the youths to get involved too, not just in J'Ouvert but in creativity, because a community without culture has nothing."
SOURCE: T&T Newsday