The low spectator turnout to see J'Ouvert celebrations in Port-of-Spain was seemingly mirrored by a similar decline in the number of competitors in this year’s Old Mas Competition.
It took three calls by officials of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation before the first participant came forward to kick things off at 4.25 am.
By 4.40 am, only four people had competed and by 4.54 am, the competition was initially closed.
However, as several other competitors began queuing up later on, officials urged them to continue quickly. 13 people competed overall. Among them was Minister of Tourism Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell’s mom, Valerie Mitchell, who shared the stage with Lystra Kangalee, as the duo portrayed “Farley and Duke Square Off”.
Following the brief competition, Everton Cardinal was declared the King of J’Ouvert 2023, with his presentation “D Best Way To Stop the Spread of the Virus”. During his presentation he was locked inside a cardboard box which resembled a jail cell with a small window and a sign that read “Keep Your A#%e Home”.
Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez crowns Everton Cardinal J’Ouvert King 2023 for his presentation of "D Best Way To Stop the Spread of the Virus”.
Celebrating his win, Cardinal said that although he had competed before, this was the first time he had won the competition.
Margaret Montano was later crowned Queen of J’Ouvert 2023 with her presentation of “Erla Takes Charge”.
Montano’s attire mimicked the Police Commissioner’s khaki uniform, complete with soft-soled shoes and a hat and mask.
Her last accessory was a string of lights wrapped around her upper body which she switched on at intervals to indicate she was being shocked.
The brief act managed to draw a smattering of applause from onlookers.
Montano said she had decided on her portrayal after the country’s first female Police Commissioner was elected as it was representative of her “taking charge.”
Montano had won the competition several times before, but this win, she claimed, held special significance for her as it was the first since being back out from the pandemic.
Joseph Coombs' presentation of "The Scrap Iron Saga".