Minister Montano: Machel’s “Ministry of Road” Campaign

Words by Tishanna Williams—

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Throughout the month of February, LargeUp will be reporting on all things related to Trinidad Carnival ahead of the big event March 3 and 4. First up is Tishanna Williams’ breakdown of Machel Montano’s plans to establish a “Ministry of Road” for Carnival 2014.

It’s Carnival season in Trinidad again!

The season officially runs for approximately two months but preparation and anticipation for Carnival is a year-round affair, with bands throwing huge parties to launch their costume designs as early as June of the previous year. Everywhere you go in Trinidad & Tobago, soca music is pumping, mas bands are working around the clock to provide costumes for the hundreds of thousands of locals and foreigners that will be parading in the streets, the ladies are hitting the gyms to make sure their their bodies are in perfect shape, and there are more parties per night than even the most die-hard partier can get to.

On the soca front, international soca star Machel Montano is at it again with the release of his hit single “Ministry of Road,” or “MOR,” which boasts a high-energy, pulsating rhythm and wicked lyrics. Already this song may be a road march contender but, even further, it has become the theme song for the launch of a campaign for an actual Ministry of Road or M.O.R to be implemented during the Carnival season.

The movement, headed by Montano and Precision Productions in association with P.A.G.E and 1ndividual Aesthetic, is more than a publicity gimmick for the team.

“We are trying to use the song to produce a mass social media drive for the maintenance and upgrading of the Carnival route so that masqueraders can have an even better Carnival experience,” says Jelani “Pops” Shaw, one of the writers of the song and part of Montano’s HD camp. “The song is an anthem for every masquerader and Carnival enthusiast. We are pushing their cause with one slogan – We want M.O.R.”

The campaign comes complete with a three-point manifesto:

MOR SPACE – Expanding  the parade route and allotted time for masqueraders to overtake the streets for Carnival.

MOR ROAD – Altering the parade routes to eradicate masquerader traffic, especially in areas such as the Queen’s Park Savannah (where masqueraders cross the main judging point – this is a big highlight of the parade experience) and alongside the Port of Spain General Hospital.

MOR STAGE TIME – To increase the time masqueraders are permitted to occupy the grand stage.

According to Shaw, this drive is gaining serious momentum. Already people are posting pics of areas along the route that they think need attention and road works companies are lending their assistance to the cause. The campaign will continue throughout the season and culminate in true political style with a grand nationwide rally on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

So what position do you think the soca king is primed to take up in this illustrious ministry once formed? Why, Minister of Road of course! And why not? He has been an integral force in the evolution of Carnival and soca for decades. Plus, Minister Montano does have a nice ring to it.