A half-a-million dollar debt owed to the San Fernando City Corporation by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) has kayoed the hosting of a South King and Queen of Carnival competition. The competition, which was held annually at Skinner Park, San Fernando, has now shifted to Port of Spain instead.
San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, who is also the convenor of the San Fernando Carnival Committee, said the decision was reached on Monday during a meeting with the bandleaders. He said all the bandleaders, with very few exceptions, agreed to have the competition subsumed into the National King and Queen of the Band competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain next month.
“It will be a two-in-one show. The southerner accumulating the highest marks in both the male and female categories, will be crowned South King and Queen of Carnival,” Regrello explained.
Asked what prompted the mega shift, Regrello said, “because we have no resources and I am tired of begging every year. No money was released so we cannot plan a show. And the King and Queen costumes must be judged.”
He said the Pre Dimanche Gras show, which incorporated the crowning of a King and Queen of Carnival, South Calypso Monarch, Extempore Monarch and Soca Monarch, with guest appearances by the Junior Monarch, was scheduled for Wednesday.
“We could not plan a show without resources. To plan a show you must have entertainment, service providers, a stage, good sound system. In the absence of money, we decided to work with what we have,” he said pointing out that it would have cost them over $100,000 to stage the show.
“The money allocated to the city corporation is not for infrastructure or to put on a show. It is prize money. You are given prize money based on your budget and most times we take the prize money to put on a show and it’s not working out. We are hoping that from the savings we are going to create, we would ensure that at the end of the year, at least, people get their prize money.”