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Mayor: No $$ for Arima mas
Carnival celebrations in Arima are in jeopardy as a result of inadequate funding from the National Carnival Commission (NCC).
In light of its slashed budget, Arima mayor Lisa Morris-Julian yesterday admitted that several competitions for Carnival, organised by the Arima Carnival Committee (ACC), had to be cancelled.
Last year, the corporation received $220,000 but spent $500,000 for Carnival events.
This year, the corporation collected $100,000 with pledges from a few businesses to the tune of $50,000 to offset costs.
“I am just depending on the kindness of strangers to keep it afloat. The thing is, people would come out and support Carnival. Right now I am getting a lot of licks as if I am responsible for the lack of funding. I am getting criticised for all the competitions that were cancelled.”
Morris-Julian said things are difficult for the country “but the fact remains there is nothing we can do with that money. The reality is $100,000 is not enough. We are not able to do anything,” Morris-Julian complained.
Every year, the ACC hosts a calypso monarch, junior calypso monarch, Panorama, Kings and Queens, kiddies Carnival, dirty mas, J’Ouvert and Parade of the Bands in the categories large and small.
Asked if their Carnival could face jeopardy due to lack of funding, Morris-Julian said she knows the country was in a financial bind and hoped spectators would come out and have a good time.
Last night, the committee held a meeting with several participants to lay the cards on the table.
“Hopefully the the participants would be a little more understanding than the people who are involved in watching from afar because they seem to think that we can wave a magic wand and fix it.”
Chairman of the ACC Michael Simpson said the prize money will have to be significantly slashed.
Asked if the cut in funding can throw the Arima Carnival into a tailspin, Simpson said, “I see fewer bands coming out.”
Simpson said 60 per cent of the money given by NCC must go towards prizes. While the Band of the Year champ received $15,000 last year, Simpson said he expected the figure to be less than $10,000 this year. “All the prizes will have to be adjusted appropriately.”
Simpson said they have approached NCC for an increase in its allocations but was awaiting feedback.
Several calls to NCC chairman Colin Lucas’ cellphone went unanswered yesterday.
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