No cash prizes for Sando Carnival

THERE will be no first, second or third place cash prizes for bandleaders in San Fernando, for Carnival 2019.

The cash-strapped San Fernando Carnival Committee (SFCC) has decided to eliminate the traditional prize structure and pay appearance fees instead.

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello confirmed, “we would give an appearance fee to all of the bands. There will also be financial incentives in the various categories.”

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Faced with their current financial situation, Regrello said they have had to change the format somewhat but assured, “There is peace among the fraternity. What is encouraging to me is that they are willing to work with us in spite of all the challenges they have. We are working together, collectively.”

Regrello’s statement followed a meeting he and convenor of the San Fernando Carnival Committee Naigum Joseph had with stakeholders on Tuesday to outline plans for Carnival 2019 and see what activities they could salvage.

This after the committee received $233,000 from the National Carnival Commission (NCC) last Friday to manage Carnival celebrations in the city. NCC Chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters beat a hasty retreat after the disbursement of funds ceremony, as stakeholders were not pleased with the drastic reduction in allocation. On Friday just about $1 million – the first tranche of about $2 to $3 million allocated to regional Carnival -was disbursed to over 50 of those regional bodies.

Regrello said he was hopeful that what they got was not their total subvention, but at least one-third of the allocation.

Weeks before the reign of the merry monarch on March 4 and 5, pre-Carnival activities in San Fernando had to be put on hold because the SFCC could not budget without knowing the full amount of their subvention.

Regrello said the NCC still owed them approximately $1 million for use of Skinner Park and prize money accumulated over several years. The SFCC also has an outstanding debt to pan and mas bands.

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Earlier this year, Gypsy threatened a withholding of subventions if there was no accountability. He identified the SFCC as one of the errant bodies, a claim since denied by Regrello.

“We are waiting on the NCC to come back to us. We have submitted all our bills and hopefully, we would get that sorted out by the end of the year. ”

The mayor said if they got the money NCC owed them, “We could settle our debt and reassess our situation and develop a new approach to where Carnival is and where it is going.”

Source: Newsday https://newsday.co.tt/2019/02/20/no-cash-prizes-for-sando-carnival/

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