National Carnival Commission chairman Winston "Gypsy" Peters said a suggestion he made while he served as culture minister the People's Partnership government to recruit Trini-born US rapper Nicki Minaj to sell T&T's Carnival was shut down because she curses too much.
Peters made the admission before the Public Accounts Committee which examined the National Carnival Commission (NCC) expenditure and internal controls for the periods 2010 to 2018 on Wednesday.
Peters said T&T should have utilised the services of Minaj to promote our Carnival internationally- the same way Barbados had capitalised on its singing sensation Rihanna.
"When I was a minister of government and Nicki Minaj was in the height of her career and publicity, I told them to let us use Nicki Minaj as an ambassador to T&T's culture...that we could talk about alliances. And you know what was the answer ...Nicki Minaj does cuss too much. That is what they tell me. I don't think anybody could cuss more than Rihanna," Peters said.
He said people still have the wrong mindset about Carnival, stating "If I had my way in the land of Carnival, in the home of Carnival, we should spend more money to have better-looking things," Peters said.
"Neither a wise man or a fool could work without his tools. And the tools to achieve all the things is something called money."
In response to a committee member Randall Mitchell about plans for tourists and visitors to experience Carnival throughout the year, Peters said, "T&T is lacking a permanent Carnival village....a city, one where people can come year round when the Ministry of Tourism would encourage people to come to this country."
Peters said our country has been wasting millions of dollars annually by discarding costumes that could be rented to tourists which is done in some foreign countries.
"We don't have the finances to do that kind of infrastructure. We need that. Trinidad is the home of Carnival and there is nothing about Carnival that you can see in T&T except to come here for Carnival days. That shouldn't be. We have more things about Carnival in the Smithsonian Institute than we have in T&T."
He said Canada, New Orleans, New York, Miami and countries in the Caribbean have benefitted financially with its Carnival events, while T&T continues to boast that we have the best Carnival in the world "but it does absolutely nothing for us."
Peters said several proposals were forwarded to Governments showing how much money Carnival can generate, but no one has taken them seriously.
He said research has shown that Carnival can rake in between TT$600 million to $1 billion annually.
The NCC chairman said to advertise T&T's Greatest Show on Earth in Times Square, New York, for one month, comes with a price tag of US$50,000, which we needed to do.
"The money that we (NCC) getting cannot afford to pay for it. Maybe we don't pay enough emphasis on Carnival bringing a certain kind of return to us."
He said T&T could have the best product in the world and if nobody knows about it "your product is not going to sell."
This Carnival, Peters said the NCC invested $6 million in the Soca Monarch and $4 million in the Chutney Soca Monarch shows, which have the potential to generate revenue but was allowed to flounder due to lack of sponsorship.
These shows, Peters said created icons like Machel Montano, Ravi B and Kees.
"We are trying to make investments in these products. We see the potential to have a financial return. We are now calculating the returns from both events. Any business you invest in you do not expect to get an immediate return."
In going forward, Peters said NCC also has been braining storming to promote the Point Fortin Borough Day, stating that there are tangible and intangible benefits to be gained.
Another area NCC has been focusing on, NCC's CEO Colin Lucas said was T&T's traditional mas, stating that people are all too familiar with the bikini and beads concept world over.
"No other Carnival, I dare say, can put on a display of traditional mas, like we can."
"If we can attract one per cent of the world interested in such mas," Lucas said, we would have the edge.
Lucas said the NCC was fighting a battle with the beads and bikini that they could not win.