WIADCA prez stresses ‘safety, quality’
WIADCA Board of Directors. Photo by Nelson A. King
Caribbean Life, Aug. 30, 2019 3
By Tangerine Clarke
A rigorous screening process will
allow the New York Police Department,
(NYPD) along with special security,
to conduct safety checks at ten entry
points along the J’Ouvert route for an
incident free mas in the wee hours of
Labor Day Monday in Brooklyn.
This is according to Yvette Rennie,
president of J’Ouvert City International,
a non-profit, that will celebrate its 27th
year of traditional J’Ouvert — a jollification
that depicts the ending of slavery
in Trinidad & Tobago.
Rennie told Caribbean Life on Aug.
23, that J’Ouvert will kick-off from
Grand Army Plaza. Bands will then mas
along Eastern Parkway, make a right on
to Nostrand Avenue, and a right on to
Maple Avenue, where J’Ouvert will end.
She said the organization was preparing
for an exciting presentation that will
include 13 steel pan orchestras, seven
rhythm sections, and 16 flag-wavers
and individual masqueraders band.
She noted, however, that no amplified
or DeeJay music will be allowed
along the parade route. Only bands
that are registered and insured, will
participate in the traditional format of
The competition of bands will be
judged in three categories. Steelband,
masquerade, and calypso, said Rennie
noting, that JCI holds regular meetings
with all the participating steelbands,
mas bands and rhythm organizations
and each organization must follow the
rules and regulations, stated by both JCI
and the 67th South Precinct in order to
partake in the J’Ouvert.
The first performance/judging point
is Rogers Avenue, (Steelband Calpyso),
second performance point is Bedford
Avenue, (Masband Individuals Costume
& Flagwaver), and the third performance
point is Nostrand Avenue & Lefferts
Ave. (Bomb Steelband & Rhythm).
It is estimated over a million people
partake in the carnival, either as masqueraders,
steelband or rhythm players
Thirty-five steelbands (some bands
come from Boston, Philadelphia, Washington,
Miami, Toronto, Montreal,
Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia and St.
Vincent) each have more than 100 players,
rhythm bands and mas bands have
thousands of mas players. Our competitions
are Steelband Bomb, Steelband
Calypso, Rhythm, and Masquerade.
Brooklyn comes to life with our
J’Ouvert, is not just about jumping
in the streets crazily, and going to a bar
and coming out and doing whatever you
want to do, there is a structure to the
jubilation, she explained.
“J’Ouvert in Trinidad comes from
when slavery ended. We are showing the
evil of slavery, but we are painting ourselves,
and mocking the slave masters.”
“The Jab-Jab, depicts the devil during
slavery, the slave masters,” added Rinnie,
who describes the mas as a spectacular
“That theatre on the streets of Brooklyn
comes to life, oh its beautiful,” she
exclaimed, in a Facebook Live interview.
“Our culture belongs to the people,
and we want everyone to enjoy it,” said
Rinnie, whose organizatio, was created
32 years ago to maintain and preserve
Caribbean art, culture, and heritage.
Programs are designed to educate
and teach all people about the origin
and history of the culture, while merging
cultures from diverse backgrounds.
According to the organization, many
have interpreted J’Ouvert, as an opportunity
to indulge in powder, mud and
water fete’s but they miss out on the
beauty that is the presentations of the
bands prior to their display on Eastern
Parkway, said the J’Ouvert City International
This program is designed for steelpan
players (panists) to have an opportunity
to display the art of playing the
steelpan instrument and masqueraders
displaying their awesome costumes to
more than one million spectators. The
carnival was highly praised by Chief
Powers, the commanding officer of the
67th South Precinct and several elected
officials. JCI also launched its Grand
Marshall segment of the celebration.
By Nelson A. King
The Dominican-born, newly-elected
president of the Brooklyn-based West
Indian American Day Carnival Association
(WIADCA), organizers of what
is largely considered to be the largest
Carnival Parade in North American,
has stressed “safety and quality” as hallmarks
of her tenure.
“Our focus this year is on safety
and quality,” said Dr. Jean G. Joseph, a
certified public accountant (CPA), who
replaced Jamaican Dr. Ionie Pierce in
April, after serving for just one year,
during WIADCA’s general elections, in
announcing plans for the staging of the
52nd Carnival spectacle.
The annual Caribbean Carnival in
New York culminates with a massive
parade on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2,
on Brooklyn’s sprawling Eastern Parkway.
Historically, Trinidadians have dominated
and led WIADCA’s Board of Directors.
Joseph and Pierce are the first non-
Trinidadians to head the organization.
“We have been meeting with the
relevant authorities in devising strategies
to keep the parade on its sustained
track record of safety,” Joseph said. “To
help accomplish this, we have implemented
a public awareness campaign
reminding both masqueraders and
masses that preservation of our culture
and our parade is the key.
“We continue to promote the idea
that this is our culture, and the parade
is our stage,” she added. “Therefore, it
is imperative that they be preserved for
Along with a new board, WIADCA
said its new president “has been infusing
the organization with ‘new blood’,
particularly incorporating the ideas of
“We are in the process of establishing
a youth arm of the organization to help
move this agenda forward,” said Joseph,
WIADCA’s 7th president.
WIADCA’s first president was the
late Trinidadian Carlos Lezama, who
brought West Indian carnival to Brooklyn,
from Harlem, in 1967, serving as its
president until his retirement in 2001
due to ill health.
“Joseph brings her business acumen
and years of experience in corporate
America to the organization in particular
in the areas of internal control and
marketing,” WIADCA said.
During Thursday’s launching of the
2019 West Indian American Day Carnival,
at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum,
Joseph said: “As we celebrate 52 years of
community service, Caribbean cultural
stewardship and youth development,
we are reminded that shaping our communities
to reflect all of us is very
“We are a year-round, non-profit
organization, made up of 90 percent
volunteers, who work very hard with
our community and our partners to
keep culture alive through pop-up programs,
mas, wire bending and pan
workshops, immigration forums, etc.
– all of which have been supported by
many of our city agencies and government
entities, and we thank you for
that,” she said. “We strive to be a beacon
of change, where we embrace, promote
and celebrate all aspects of Caribbean
heritage, and expect all to do the same.
“We take pride in demonstrating our
commitment by creating opportunities,
business and entrepreneurism for
many in New York City, New York State
and this great Borough of Brooklyn,”
she added. “This is our legacy for the
generations to come. I look forward to
another 52 years with this great Caribbean
institution, with your help.”
Tight security for J’Ouvert in Brooklyn