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Sando Carnival has only $650,000
With Carnival just a week away, money worries continue to plague the San Fernando Carnival Committee. San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein said he has written more than 100 letters to potential sponsors appealing to them to help rescue the mas in the southern city but the response is very slow. “Carnival is just a few days away. We would like to see the growth of Carnival. We want to woo masqueraders who are going to Port-of-Spain to play mas. We want them to come back, but we have money problems,” he said
Speaking during a visit to panyards and mas camps over the weekend, Hosein said when he came into office last November he heard several complaints from people in the mas fraternity who were owed prize money for 2013. Half of the government subvention received was used to clear off the debt, leaving the committee with just $650,000 to stage Carnival, Hosein said.
“Government has cut our subvention in half. All we have is $650,000 for Carnival which is next to nothing. Bandleaders are complaining, we need more corporate sponsors to get involved, not just in Carnival, but in sports and culture on the whole.” Hosein assured, however, that culture is alive in San Fernando.
“The bandleaders are eagerly finishing off their costumes. Most of the bands have sold out, and those who do not have a costume, we encourage you to come and participate, because Carnival 2014 is going to be a bumper one in San Fernando,” he said At the Kalicharan mas camp, Wendy Kalicharan said she has been lucky to have companies like bmobile, Lenny Sumadh, Oilfield and Marines, Checks Motor Supplies and BP Maharaj on board as sponsors.
“We have been fortunate and we are grateful, but Carnival in San Fernando needs more sponsorship. It is one of the reasons why Carnival in San Fernando is not growing.” She called on the Government to subsidise the mas. Kalicharan, whose mas presentation for Carnival 2014 is Beats, said the San Fernando Carnival committee should not be so cash-strapped.
“If you have a competition and the money is due, you owe bandleaders and government allocate the funds, the funds should be channeled into the arts and competitions,” she said.