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Soca Awards postponed
The tenth annual International Soca Awards, scheduled for tomorrow in the United States, has been postponed. Organiser of the event, SAO Soca Awards Ltd CEO Colin Jackman confirmed yesterday he had to postpone the awards, which was to be held for the first time in Hollywood, USA, at the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City.
“The T&T government, through its Ministry of Arts & Multiculturalism, refused to support the event financially, or even to support us in the artistes getting US visas to travel to the US,” Jackman said in an interview. Jackman said he received this news on Tuesday from acting permanent secretary in the Multiculturalism Ministry, Desdra Bascombe.
“We were at least 75 per cent in readiness to produce what would have been the most ambitious and spectacular edition of this annual event, perhaps the biggest ever expose of soca music to the world, which was endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R Villraigosa and the LA Chamber of Commerce.”
Accompanying Jackson on his visit to the T&T Guardian office was Dwight “Bodell” Noel, special advisor to the Tenth Annual International Soca Awards. He said: “I think that this is a missed opportunity by the T&T government, especially having being endorsed by the LA Mayor, the city’s Chamber of Commerce and other entertainment organisations.
“I strongly feel that the new minister, Dr Lincoln Douglas, should revisit this situation and try to reinstate it to another date.” Jackson said that aside from the Multiculturalism Ministry, he also sought support and assistance from the Office of the Prime Minister, through permanent secretary Reynold Cooper; the Ministries of Tourism, and Trade and Industry; as well as the Tourism Development Company (TDC) and T&T Entertainment Company.
He added: “The prime minister of T&T said in an address to go out there and sell T&T. And this is what I did...and now this.” In response, acting permanent secretary in the Multiculturalism Ministry Desdra Bascombe said: “We gave this organisation funds for the past two years, and to date we’ve had no accountability of how those subventions were spent.
“Cabinet has now made it mandatory that all organisations which are given grants and subventions are required to submit audited statements to the Ministry. “This year, they asked for US $200,000 ($1.2m). We’ve just launched our Music School in the Panyard project, and we are giving our students instruments to learn music. “Do you know how many pans, dholaks and sitars we can purchase with one million dollars?”
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