The National Carnival Commission (NCC) has pumped a staggering $100 million into C2K11. NCC chairman Kenny de Silva said the money injected is expected to generate in excess of $1 billion in business for T&T, as our country moves to make Carnival a profitable and viable business. De Silva said hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, airlines and other businesses would benefit from the staging of the two-day festival. "Carnival generates $1 billion according to a study undertaken a few years ago. It is quite possible we could exceed this figure this year. There are different spin offs from Carnival." De Silva said Carnival was one of the biggest tourism products T&T was showcasing, with thousands of visitors coming to our shores who will be carrying back the message of what we offer. Of the $100 million spent, de Silva said $45 million will be distributed in prizes, $52 million went towards the building of two stands at the Queen's Park Savannah, while the remaining $3 million will be expended on security services, meals, refreshments and stipend for judges, construction of the vendors' booths, setting up of a Carnival village and preparation for all NCC's venues. De Silva said the NCC has ensured that taxpayers get their monies' worth. Government allocated $130 million to NCC for 2011.
$2 million more for Grand Stand
De Silva admitted there was cost overrun of $2 million with the construction of the Grand Stand.
"I don't see any overruns outside of the defined budgets." De Silva explained that the stands in the Savannah were supposed to cost $42 million plus VAT. "There may be a small overrun in the Grand Stand....maybe a five per cent, which is tolerable. We are looking at $2 million. That is my estimate. We are yet to receive the final figure." Speaking at his NCC office last Thursday, de Silva said NCC had already retained the services of five security firms to ensure law and order.
Higher security presence for 2011
Hundreds of armed and unarmed security guards, including K9 officers, de Silva said, will be out in full force at all NCC's venues downtown and in San Fernando. The security officers, de Silva said, will be working closely with the protective services, mainly at Adam Smith and Victoria Squares, the Savannah, Down Town, Piccadilly Greens and Skinner's Park. Though the security officers will be paid hourly rates ranging from $20 to $45, de Silva could not say how much this would cost taxpayers, since this still had to be worked out by the security firms and submitted to his office. "This year you will be seeing a higher presence of security officers when compared to previous years because we expect this Carnival to be the biggest." Hundreds of Cepep workers will also be out on the streets from Friday to clean and clear discarded costumes and litter in a timely fashion.
Dimanche Gras expected to be sold out
De Silva said that by today 15,000 tickets priced between $80 to $350 are expected to be sold out.
The Grand Stand can accommodate 7,500 patrons, while North Stand can seat 8,000. "This Carnival, people have shown a level of enthusiasm in purchasing tickets and enquiring information about NCC's shows." De Silva said that for the 30 years he has been involved in Carnival, this year people have been more zealous and excited to be part of the action, especially since mas' has returned to the Savannah. De Silva assured that patrons will leave with a lasting impression when the Calypso Monarch winner walks away with his $2 million first prize.