Carnival 2018 will be officially launched in Tobago on Friday with a procession from uptown Scarborough to GNV Place on Wilson Road, the new office for the Festivals Commission.
George Leacock, Chairman of the Commission, which is responsible for Carnival activities on the island, said the procession will begin at midday.
“On Friday, there would be a procession in town along with the opening of our new office. It would start in James Park at 12 noon, and along the route to the office at GNV place, various Carnival characters will join in so that by the time we reach to GNV place we would have full characters of Carnival, including steel pans,” Leacock said.
Asked about the budget for this launch, he said:
“As far as the launch is concerned, it is part of the marketing of the festival and will be funded from the festival’s marketing budget.”
Last Saturday, Tourism and Culture Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips said that Tobago’s 2018 Carnival budget stays at $7.2 million, with the Tobago House of Assembly having considered current economic challenges in deciding on the allocation for celebrations in Tobago.
“The Executive, in considering the overall budget for 2018 Carnival celebrations, decided that due to the current economic realities, we would do a major cut from the 2017 budget of $10.5 million to $7.2 million in 2018. Therefore, even before the Minister (of Finance) announced the position the Government was adopting in Trinidad, the Tobago House of Assembly already did a slash on the entire budget,” Stewart-Phillips told Newsday Tobago.
On December 15, the Executive Council approved the $7.2 million-budget for Tobago Carnival 2018.
Last Thursday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced a cut by one-third in financial donations for all events which receive sponsorship from the ministry and all government agencies, saying “it would be a general policy that would be coming out of the Ministry of Finance that we have to reduce the amount of the contributions across the board to all of these organisations.”
Special interest groups, Pan Trinbago, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) and the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), which receive state sponsorship in addition to state subventions from the National Carnival Commission, will also receive a cut in sponsorship funds at the same rate. The NCC is expected to receive an allocation of $160 million this year.
At the launch of Carnival 2018 last Friday at the VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Colin Lucas, National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman, announced that Kings and Queens will return to the Queen’s Park Savannah for the Dimanche Gras show, which will include elements of calypso and pan.
Lucas said a budget of $1.3- $3 million, excluding prize money, has been allocated for the show.