The promoter of the Chutney Soca Monarch competition is in search of a new venue to host the finals, scheduled for January 27, which has been held at Skinner Park in San Fernando for the past 22 years. George Singh is blaming low funding from the Government and a lack of sponsorship on the predicament now being faced.
“This major Carnival event will no longer be able to accommodate the costs related with hosting the show at Skinner Park in San Fernando,” Singh said yesterday in a statement to the media.
“Over the last three years, the consistent reduction in funding by this present administration has forced the show to see alternatives, even after making significant strides in years gone by.”
He said the competition provides a platform and has become one of the driving forces behind the music of this country’s Carnival celebrations.
“In recent years, it has become one of the most relevant events in Carnival. It has created an industry which, today, affects thousands of people across the globe. We are no longer living in the 1970’s where there was only mas, calypso and steelband music. Today, mas calypso, steelband, soca and chutney soca makes out annual Carnival festival.“
Singh said the continuous reduction in funding and the disregard for the importance of the music can now seriously affect the entire Carnival industry.
With just 15 days to go before the semi final round on January 13, Singh said he had received no word from government about any disbursement of funds.
He said he had a meeting with Minister of Culture and the Arts Nyan Gadsby-Dolly who told him to expect cuts in funding.
But given the expenses that would have to be met, such as rental of the venue, payment for police and fire service, tents, lighting, sound, etc Singh said there is hardly a chance of payment from sponsors footing such a bill.
Saying it is the subvention from government which makes the show a bumper event, Singh recalled that in the past the competition received more than $3million and $4 million from the Government.
Accusing the Government of discriminating against the competition, Singh said the National Carnival Commission gets a budget of more than $100 million for Carnival, of which $36 million goes to PanTrinbago.
In 2011, the competition received $5 million from which $2 million was given as the first prize.
“This year we got $1.1 million which was given as prize money to artistes who made it to the finals. Next year we may end up with a total of $800,000 to do this international Carnival competition.”
He said last year the Ministry of Culture offered $2.3 million and it was slashed in half this year.
The original article can be found here: http://newsday.co.tt/2017/12/27/promoter-dont-count-on-skinner-park/