Whereas T&T regularly comes into the glare of the international spotlight for violent crimes, murders, guns and drugs, it has recently made news for a positive “feel good” story of a Trinidadia
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The Midday Robber ma$
And again the spectacle of Carnival wining back on the public purse crosses the stage. Last week, the papers reported $190 million was to be poured into the bottomless Carnival pit. But the real news was that more than half ($115 million) was to settle debts from the previous two years. And none of the journalist-feters asked: What about the $249 million from last year, and the $200 million the year before that? And the hundreds of millions from the decade before that? Where the money gorn?
This is not a fete in here, it’s a heist. Even before this year’s Carnival welfare grant was announced, the promoters of the International Soca Monarch (William Munro et al) were on the CNC3 morning show, saying ISM cost $30 million to stage, and how the government should pick up the tab. Not to be outdone, George Singh, the Chutney Soca promoter, came out swinging: Wha’ppen, all you ent like Indian or wot? The gubbament ent want to give him none of the $15 million his show needed. (Both got millions.)
But why, the fecklessly fiscally fastidious might ask, should they need gubbament money? If these events are so big, why don’t they pay their own way? Answer—wait for it—the government’s investment brings back monstrous financial returns! And also, is de cult-yere, and you cyar put a price on dat!
But in the non-crack-smoking world, questions arise. The first question is: Proof? Audited accounts? A verifiable study showing that all the money pumped into Carnival brings returns?