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Carnival groups not yet paid
With just 41 days before Carnival 2018, the three interest groups are warning of major cut backs in their activities this season because they have not yet been given their annual subventions.
There has been a decrease in the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts for the festival, down from $168.5 million last year to $147.35 million—a decrease of $21.15 million.}
The money is to be allocated to the National Carnival Commission (NCC) for distribution to interest groups, Pan Trinbago, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) and the National Carnival Bands Association, as well as smaller regional bodies."
NCC chairman, Colin Lucas said he anticipates a smaller figure for this year and applauds the interest groups for their understanding.
“There are financial issues in the country but we still have to operate within that context.
All special interest groups are understanding of the situation and as a result we might be late in the start but the show will go on,” he told the T&T Guardian.
Lucas, who was recently appointed along with a new NCC board, said there wasn’t enough time to improve in certain areas for the 2018 season but he assured that next year there will be drastic changes.
“We have already identified areas where things can be done differently,” he said.
Tuco president Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance) said the group has not yet been paid its subvention but he expected it will be a small figure.
“We have already made the decision to cut back on some of our competitions such as political and social commentary and humorous,” he said.
“We will have our main focus on just three competitions, which are National Calypso Monarch, National Extempo Championship and National Road March.”
Masimba added, however, that despite the current economic climate, Tuco is “going full steam ahead” into the Carnival season and has put in place interim measures.
The group’s first major Carnival event takes place today at the Grand Stand Courtyard, Queens Park Savannah, Start the Carnival.
“We have already started our Carnival activities since the end of October, beginning of November, with auditions for calypso tents,” he said.
Pan Trinbago president, Keith Diaz said the steelband body has not yet received word on how much will be given to them for the season but said there would be no boycott or cut backs.
“I don’t think NCC has received any funds yet but we remain hopeful as we are not finished with negotiations,” he said.
Diaz said Pan Trinbago has not yet been paid the $3 million collected from the 2017’s pan semis and finals by the NCC and that matter is engaging the attention of their attorneys.
On December 14, Pan Trinbago regained control of the sale of Panorama tickets after Justice Vahiest Kokaram ruled in their favour in a matter it brought against the NCC.