The National Ramleela Council is seeking $3 million to run this year’s celebration.
This was announced by Kamalwattie Ramsubeik, the head of the National Ramleela Council of T&T (NRCTT) at the launch of Ramleela celebrations on Thursday at Saith Park, Chaguanas.
Ramsubeik suggested that State funds be distributed by the National Ramleela Council to ensure fair and equitable distribution. She said last year some groups got as little as $3,000 while production costs for the 10-day event can exceed $400,000.
She said last year the Ministry of Culture distributed $200,000 in cheques. Ramsubeik said the NRCTT is seeking an urgent meeting with the Ministry of Culture to discuss the issue of the distribution of funds.
Ramleela celebrations are set to begin in October and the NRCTT represents around 35 Ramleela groups in T&T.
Ramsubeik said groups now have to pay for additional security to prevent vehicular thefts and break-ins. She said vandalism is another problem since some people destroyed props at outdoor savannah venues.
She said despite high criminal activity Ramleela attracts thousands of people.
“Some groups have an audience of 10-15 thousand people. We will total like over 300,000, 400,000 in total for all the groups in the council.”
Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan, who spoke at the launch, said Ramleela can do well to inculcate positive social values into youths and the wider community once the message is spread.
Boodhan also warned citizens to guard against the “Rawans or demons” that plagued T&T. He said, “The Rawans continue to inflict and pains and suffering on the people. We must rid society of all the evils and Rawans that continue to plague us.”