A total of $23,301,461.09 was disbursed by the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism through 917 grants for the fiscal year 2010/2011 for a wide range of religious, cultural and other activities. The audited statements of grants disbursed were published on May 18 in the T&T Guardian.
The most recent national celebration was Indian Arrival Day, last Wednesday, with activities throughout the country and although the Government has not said how much was given this year, 60 grants totalling $1,013,475 were given last year, with the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha receiving the lion's share of $350,000.
Efforts to contact Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters and other ministry officials for comment on how grants were awarded proved futile. According to the audited statement, the largest allocation was towards general funding with a total of 208 grants totalling $5,865,129.04.
Some of the entities receiving those grants were the National Action Cultural Committee-$1 million paid in two parts towards the Generation Next Festival; the Princes Town Regional Corporation-$100,000 for its Carnival cultural programme; the National Chutney Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago-$100,000 towards the 2010 annual chutney awards; the Scout Association of Trinidad and Tobago-$100,000 for scout members to attend the 2011 Jamboree; the University of Trinidad and Tobago-$140,000 for the production of the magazine Talkaree; the Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation-$100,000 towards an open yard concert; and the Tassa Association of Trinidad and Tobago with two grants totalling $168,000 for the National Tassa competition.
Among the individuals receiving grants under general funding were:
• Elizabeth Gordon-$250,000 towards West Side Story, a theatre production
• Morel Peters-$150,000 towards Traditional Calypso on the Move
• Kurt Allen-$75,600 towards expenses to tour with Alchemystics
• Keith Diaz-$10,318 towards accommodation and airfare to London
• Shaunelle Ramesar-$12,000 towards living accommodation while on scholarship in Europe
• Jill Ann Walters-$12,350 towards a Christmas concert
• Lisa McKenzie-$3,000 to offset medical expenses
• George Kallicharan-$58,000 towards making and tuning pans for the Mayaro/Rio Claro Carnival Committee
Steelband and Carnival grants for 2011 were approximately $6 million with 166 grants disbursed to steelbands-93 receiving $20,000 each and 73 receiving $10,000 each. A total of $ 3,730,975.80 comprised 111 Carnival grants with the largest sum given to the Chutney Soca Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago-$500,000.
"D" Massive Gosein Roving Chutney Calypso Tent received two grants totalling $300,000; Icons Calypso Tent, Kalypso Revue and C A R Entertainment each received $300,000 while Print Media House Ltd and Spektakula Promotions Ltd each received grants of $100,000. A grant of $50,000 was also awarded to Calypso Revue.
In 2011, 44 grants totalling $937,000 were disbursed to organisations such as the National Phagwa Council of Trinidad and Tobago-$150,000; the Maha Sabha-$200,000 and the Kendra Phagwa Festival-$200,000. The Maha Sabha South Regional Council also received $10,000.
For the 2011 Shouter Baptist Liberation Day, the Government distributed 22 grants close $700,000. The largest receiver was the National Congress of Incorporated Baptist Organisation of T&T-$180,000. In 2010, a total of $4.3 million was disbursed through 170 grants for Divali celebrations.
The Maha Sabha received a grant of $1.2 million while several of its branches also received grants. The National Council of Indian Culture received $1 million and Win Radio 101.1 Ltd received a grant of $115,000 for part sponsorship of the Divali Nagar. Several constituency offices received grants of $25,000. However, the Chaguanas East Constituency Office was granted $60,000.
To celebrate Emancipation Day 2011, the government distributed 64 grants totalling $2,002,500. The Emancipation Support Committee got a grant of $1 million and the National Action Cultural Committee received $500,000 while other entities received grants from $5,000 to $20,000.