PORT OF SPAIN – A 37-year-old-year-old grandmother was reportedly warned by police officers against jumping up in a band with
her five-month-old grandson on Carnival Monday.
The woman, dressed in full costume, was seen chipping behind a music truck on the streets of San Fernando with the child in a sling. As she approached the judging point at Harris Promenade, she was approached by a policewoman.
Francesca Cabrera, of San Fernando, was a masquerader in the band Lionel Jagessar and Associates.
The child’s mother, Bianca Cabrera, was also playing mas in the band.
Photographs and footage of the grandmother dancing behind a music truck with the babe in arms outraged many on social media.
But Bianca Cabrera was not too concerned. She contacted the Express yesterday to respond to her critics.
Cabrera, 23, said she had been playing mas with her mother since childhood and wanted her children to be a part of the festivities. Her three-year-old daughter was also playing mas in the band.
Cabrera said her baby boy even played kiddies Carnival on the streets of San Fernando on Sunday.
“When he played on Sunday, everyone was saying how cute he looked and wanted pictures with him. Now, they want to criticize me? My daughter was there, too. My younger brother and sister were there, too. My mother was there.
“I want people to stop minding my business. I know where my children are. They’re not hungry. Tell them to go and take care of their families,” she said.
Cabrera denied her mother was scolded by police officers. She said her mother was simply having a conversation with the officer.
Cabrera said she was carrying the baby during the parade, but handed him over to the grandmother on reaching the judging point.
“I was an individual in the band and I had to do my portrayal before the judges. So when we reached the judging point, I gave him to my mother to hold. I don’t see anything wrong with having my child with me,” she said.
Cabrera said she would not be deterred as she was a good mother.
And she promised to return with her two children in Carnival 2019.
San Fernando masman Lionel Jagessar said he observed the baby in the woman’s arms earlier in the day.
His wife, Rosemarie Jagessar, cautioned the woman and asked that she not carry the baby in her arms during the parade.
He said: “Many people come to us and say they have nowhere to leave their children. We tell them Sunday is for the children. Sometimes, on Carnival Monday, we allow older children to be a part of the band with their parents. But not these little ones. It is dangerous for them. The music is not good for them and then there are diseases floating around.
“I saw the woman with the baby. At first, I did not notice the child in front of her. But when I realized it was a little baby, I told my wife to talk to her and she did.”
Jagessar said he was directing the band members before the judges and was not aware the baby was still in the mother’s arms.