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Trini-born bandleader takes top Bajan title

By Terry Joseph
August 06, 2003

Trinidad-born Gwyneth Squires, who one week earlier swept the junior category of Kadooment (parade of masquerade bands), on Monday repeated her triumph in the senior league, coming away with the large band of the year and best band on the road titles for her presentation of Once Upon an Island.

Several visiting Trinis again played with the Squires outfit, including Norvan Fullerton, who led one of the sections onstage, its members in salute to black pride, arms upraised, fists balled in the sign of triumph.

In the sum, Once Upon an Island top-scored in four of the 11 available categories, also copping prizes for best design, male and female individuals and best flag-waver. Close rival Betty West, whose presentation St Lawrence Mas Parade produced this year's Crop Over Queen, topped the historical category but ran second to Squires' mas at every other opportunity.

The largest band, Euphoria, staged by the Power X 4 organisation (fielding 1,250 members), which has close ties with Trinidad's Legends mas organisation, and Animaniaks (1,000) did not enjoy undue advantage.

Animaniaks came in third in the best band of the year contest, while Power X4 won its bandleader Chetwin Stewart the most colourful band trophy and placed his individual entrants second on both counts to Squires.

Once bands left the stadium they wined their way through the capital city of Bridgetown to Spring Garden Highway, taking them through a phalanx of police and soldiers, who came together to ensure a trouble-free carnival day in the wake of a stabbing at Spring Garden on the night previous.

Meanwhile soca singer Li'l Rick scored a double-victory and for the second year running, when the song that won him the Party Monarch title also copped the Tune O de Crop (road march) crown on the road during the parade of masquerade bands.

"Mash Up and Buy Back", another Bajan slang set to song, was far and away the most popular jam on the road. Last year, he twisted another saying to produce "Hypa Dawg", a number that later in the year got him into conflict with Trini soca songstress Denyse Plummer.

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