Black Immigrant Daily News
In this January 2020 file photo, veteran masman Lionel Jagessar Snr irons a piece to apply to a costume at the mas camp in San Fernando.
FOR the first time in 50 years, the Lionel Jagessar mas camp from San Fernando will not be competing among the Kings and Queens of Carnival.
The preliminary round of the competition takes place on February 9 at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Lionel Jagessar Jr, who has succeeded his late father, Lionel Jagessar, in continuing the legacy, blamed space constraints for this decision.
He admitted the decision was one that brought tears to his eyes, as it’s the first year he has had to do this without his father, and coming two years after the pandemic suspended Carnival celebrations.
Jagessar told the Newsday the band lost the space it used to occupy, as the owner wanted his property for alternative use.
With nowhere else convenient or affordable in San Fernando, Jagessar said he built his own space in Williamsville. That, however, proved too costly and not logistically feasible, as most of the people who worked on the king and queen costumes lived in and around San Fernando.
“The people who worked on the costumes have regular day jobs. Getting home around 4.30, having to fix up their homes and then come to the mas camp at Williamsville to work every night was really hard. The roads are bad, and the transportation cost was not economical, so I had to make a decision not to do it.”
He said the costumes, which he designed and worked on with his late father, will be kept a secret as he has every intention of producing them next year.
He said people would be surprised when they see it, as it does not incorporate the regular feather and Indian-style concept the band became associated with over the years.
“The idea is to keep spectators and competitors on their toes, anticipating what I will be bringing.”
While space has denied the opportunity to produce a king and queen, Jagessar said the band is going full steam ahead with the 2023 presentation of Unforgettable.
Unforgettable, he said, is the last band his father was working on before he died.
“My dad was unforgettable, and the 2023 presentation is in his honour.”
The band, which since 2015 was rebranded Jagessar Costumes Ltd, will field bands in both Port of Spain and San Fernando.
While Jagessar Costumes will not be represented on the big stage on Thursday night, he hopes his team will be in the audience.
“I am trying to get the entire team to go to the Savannah and look at the competition so we can have a different perspective. We are accustomed being backstage and rushing about, not getting to see other people’s costumes or performance, apart from the person right before you.
“Going to the show would be an educational and edifying experience. So I am trying to be part of the process, to experience it from the other side.”