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If you’d asked me in November what to do on your first day at the National Carnival Commission, I have to confess that I would have told you, “Quit.”
You’re a smart, qualified and committed young woman and while those are qualities that might seem ideal for the job, the task is so relentlessly Sisyphean and the forces arrayed against you so devoted to a stale, hopelessly out-of-date notion of Carnival that it seemed criminal to spend your productive, youthful years in such a bleak salt mine.
That was then, and this is now.
I like that you’ve stepped up and acknowledged the failings of this year’s events. It’s absolutely in character, and you need to hold on to that sense of yourself over the coming year, which I can promise will test you thoroughly.
There’s no question that you were handed a mess of pottage ten weeks ago, that you were unable to turn it into a flavourful soup is hardly surprising.
With a full year ahead and challenges aplenty, here’s what I think you should do.
Exercise your authority.
You are the chairman and by inference, the chief commissioner. It’s a term that has many different connotations, but in the case of the National Carnival Commission, which attempts to make one cohesive Carnival event out of the contributions of three key stakeholders, might usefully be read as the guiding leader of the process.
Over time, and I’ve had at least one cousin and two people I really liked in the role, it seems that the job has come to mean “facilitator in chief,” and that’s simply not good enough anymore.
He who has the gold makes the rules and the river of cash that flows through the NCC to Carnival’s stakeholders should confer some kind of leveraging authority over intent and execution in the festival.
Insist on a five-year plan.
A real one, with clear developmental purpose that will take us from today’s aimless meandering and give the future of Carnival a fighting chance.
Carnival has three stakeholders who aren’t represented in discussions about the future of the festival at all, the audience, the masqueraders and the media, all of whom have an important role to play in its future development.
It’s the absence of these voices from key Carnival decision making processes that leads to stupid decisions like these: http://ow.ly/hHkpy.
Clarify Carnival’s licensing issues.
Everybody talks about how much money there is to be made in Carnival, but nobody has built a mansion or even bought an SUV off of the resale of imagery captured during the event. I defy anyone to prove otherwise.
It’s clear there is less money in Carnival coverage than there is in planting pumpkin and cucumber or even, for that matter, peas in Tobago.
I’m a hair’s breadth from making a serious proposal to the national media that we create a wide space along the Carnival route for coverage, only allow bandleaders to cross if they agree to reasonable licensing terms on a simple form and only cover the bands that agree to pass there.
If you thought the Grandstand was empty this Carnival Tuesday, imagine what would happen if all the cameras were removed from it and placed where the media had control over the design of the space.
The cracks are showing everywhere Carnival, Allison. Somebody has to have the courage to break it and put it all back together in a way that makes sense. I’m hoping you will be that person.
Read an expanded version of this column here (http://ow.ly/adAll).
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