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Battle of the bottle for Miami Carnival

By Terry Joseph
October 08, 2002

After securing exclusive sponsorship from Guyana's El Dorado Rum, Miami Carnival officials have taken a firm stand against encroachment by TT's Angostura brands and Carib Beer, after virtual newcomer Samba got the nod from festival directors.

A third Trini product, BWIA, is also out of the loop this year, having again lost to American Airlines the chance of being declared Miami Carnival's official carrier.

Carnival officials put their foot down last week, declaring that no mas band seeking to participate in Sunday's adult parade will be allowed entry to the route or competition grounds at Opa-locka if their banners carry logos of brands that have not been selected as sponsors.

"Out of a sense of patriotism and history, Angostura, Carib and BWIA were each given first opportunity to sponsor our activities but their offers were laughable in comparison to El Dorado Rum, Samba Beer and American Airlines," Miami Carnival joint chairman, Francis Ragoo, told the Express.

Ragoo declined to say how much the El Dorado deal was worth.

After El Dorado was selected as the official rum, Angostura representatives began distributing T-shirts and banners to mas bands, a ploy which angered Miami Carnival officials to the point of making a new rule.

"It became necessary to remind the bandleaders that we are holding the police and county permits for the street parade and competition facilities and like the management of any other type of entertainment event, we reserve the right to refuse admission," Ragoo said.

He added that "emotion doesn't help our finances and we don't want to end up like other carnivals, unable to pay our bills".

Miami Carnival kicked into high gear on Sunday with the children's parade in Fort Lauderdale.

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