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Where is the Spirit of Carnival?

One of the entities feeling the squeeze has been the National Carnival Committee.

Speaking recently in an exclusive interview with, the new Carnival Committee Acting Chairman, Mr. Sylvester Anthony, indicated that planning for carnival is a pretty tough job and that the first few months of preparations have been challenging. He said however that despite these difficult periods, he has no regrets for accepting the position.

“There is quite a lot to do”, he remarked, “given the history of relationships in the past and having to resolve other outstanding matters, and at the same time, trying to put together the planning and the implementation of this year’s carnival.”

It is no secret that the past two years have been filled with controversy, mostly surrounding the failure of the Committee to meet its financial commitments with the various artistes and bands that were declared winners of the numerous contests held for the annual celebrations. Some of the partners and entertainers that the Committee has to work with again this year include some of those who were unhappy last year and in 2010; and it is important to resolve old issues to move forward.

Part of the problem said Anthony is that there are serious concerns, to whether or not history would repeat itself this year. One of the biggest challenges for the committee, he reported, is sponsorship. The Chairman said they have tried to broaden their sponsorship and funding base to resolve the sponsorship challenges that presented themselves.

The sponsors are currently “cash strapped”, and in this regard they have been forced to make in-kind sponsorship. This, Anthony said, creates a problem. The Chairman said most of the sponsors who are willing and quite anxious to involve themselves with carnival have complained that they are having liquidity problems and so cash is not something that they have, thus they prefer to offer in-kind services. In some cases this type of assistance can be quite useful, but in others, it may not always be the most ideal facilitation, because a lot of what carnival does is cash-related, to provide prizes.

But Anthony is happy with the level of in-kind assistance that has been offered. He said in this regard they are getting tremendous support; the sponsors are now on stream as the committee seeks to broaden its sponsorship-base and things are moving forward. He is confident that the main concerns about sponsorship have now been addressed, so now the big task is ensuring that the troupes, bands and other participants are themselves getting ready for the major events; and his Committee stands ready to assist them wherever necessary.

Mr. Anthony also explained however, that the spirit of carnival is also linked with the level of preparations and readiness of the participants and they have also tried to assist the carnival stakeholders by helping to identify sources of sponsorship for their activities.

It is always said that the calypsonians and the soca bands are crucial when it comes to building momentum and excitement about the festival.

“The committee is continuously working hard to put on an excellent and exciting carnival for the year,” added Anthony.

Anthony however was not prepared to make any commitments regarding the issue of cash prizes for winners, such as the queen and calypso monarch, saying instead, the Prize-money for each winner will be announced at a more appropriate time because they are still finalizing them. They want to make sure that they can afford the package that is offered to the participants, and that they can be paid promptly. Thus the prizes for all the events will be announced in very short order said Anthony.

All sectors have in fact been impacted with traditional sponsors reducing their usual financial support for troupes, bands, calypsonians, tents and the various shows.

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