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Thursday 21 March 2019
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Gypsy: North Park no free for all

NCC chairman Winton
NCC chairman Winton "Gypsy" Peters

UPDATE:

National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters has declared the North Park, which is to replace the North Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS), Port of Spain, would not be a “free for all.”

Peters also was adamant that the organisation, under his watch, would be weaned away from its dependence on government subventions and put on a path of self-sufficiency.

“It is the focus instituted by my stewardship and that is the model we are using,” he said on Friday.

“I hope that long after I am gone that it is going to be used because it is one that is beneficial to the people of TT. At the end of the day, it is the people of TT’s money and it has to be spent prudently.”

Peters, who became NCC chairman in April, condemned what he called the “culture of freeness” in TT, saying that under his stewardship, it would no longer be business as usual as the organisation prepares for a long and potentially hectic 2019 Carnival season which climaxes on March 4 and 5.

He reiterated the North Park, once instituted, would be a revenue-generating venue and a hub for Carnival activities.

“Anything that we are having will have a charge attached to it. You can’t have everything for free all the time,” Peters said of the North Park.

“It may even be cheaper than the other venues. But the fact remains, yes, there will be a charge.”
The NCC chairman added: “It (North Park) cannot be free. Trinidad has too much freeness. I hate when you have something and at the end of it, the tagline is free. Everyone wants everything to be free. We live in a gimme free country. And I can’t stand that.”

Although several details of the North Park are still being worked out, Peters said the facility would fall within the framework of a reconfigured QPS. The entire area will be referred to as Carnival City.

Peters said the North Park will feature a picnic area and seating accomodation for patrons.
He told Sunday Newsday: “It is a multi-purpose designed place to seat between 25,000 to 38,000 people. It is a large space, over 240,000 sq ft. It is larger than any other space that we have for partying in this country. But we will first give it an ambience that is very accommodating.”

Peters said Carnival City must be the place to fete.

“When people say they going and fete, it shouldn’t be down in the Oval or Jean Pierre Complex. That is for cricket and other sports. Leave the feting thing for up in the Savannah.”

The abolishing of the North Stand would see the Dimanche Gras revert to a show without the Calypso Monarch or Queen and King of Carnival competitions.

And while he is aware there has been some backlash to the decision to do away with the North Stand among some stakeholders, Peters said it had to be done.

“It had become an albatross in the scheme of things. It was just put up for the historical value and not for any monetary gain and we cannot allow that in this economically strained time, to have that kind of edifice just being up and down without bringing in the revenue that we so badly need.”

He added: “So, we made the decision to scrap it, which is exactly what we did. We could no longer afford that money to put it up and take it down.”

Peters claimed the North Stand usually took about $4 million to construct and dismantle each year.

Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore said last week she was upset about the move but hoped the proposed North Park would ensure the organisation does not lose any revenue.
Peters said change was often hard to accept.

“Any change that has come about in anything, most of the time there is a lot of scepticism because people are always afraid of the unknown.

“Sometimes, even the ones who plan it are scared. But, in this case, we decided that this is what we are going to do.”

Peters again claimed several party promoters have already expressed an interest in the area–a development he said augurs well for the future of the NCC.

He said: “We are not getting the kind of subvention from the government. They cannot afford. So, we are left to make our own money, to generate funds for ourselves.”

This year, the NCC received an estimated $90.4 million for Carnival. And in a breakdown of draft budget estimates for 2019, it is projected to receive $139.8 million.

Peters said while the NCC is yet to receive official word of its subvention, planning was well underway.

“All of these planning that we are doing is predicated on us still waiting for our subvention. We have figures but we don’t want to divulge any figures at this point.”

He added: “What I do know is that we will have to spend less and try to make more by coming up with innovative things that would attract and bring people to the venue. It is a balancing act. But we are working on it and the optimism is there from all of the persons that are involved in it.”

For instance, Peters said the Savannah would host events such as Brassorama on Carnival Monday night. “That night has become kind of bland because we have not been having real ole mas on Carnival Monday night. This will be among some new innovations to try and generate income for the Carnival.”

Peters said the intention was to change the NCC from a “subventive” organisation, relying on subventions, to an “investive” one, seeking opportunities to earn revenue. “We were a subventive organisation before where we just gave people things and not get back anything. But the economic reality will not allow us to continue doing that. We are broadening the scope of the NCC.”

He said while the organisation has traditionally been involved in Carnival, “when we gave things, we weren’t getting back any.

“Now, we are managing it in a way that when we give anything, it is an investment.” Peters also said the Grand Stand would not be neglected. “We are working on it and we will be working on it even more in another week or so.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters has declared the North Park, which is to replace the North Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS), Port of Spain, would not be a “free for all.”

Peters also was adamant that the organisation, under his watch, would be weaned away from its dependence on government subventions and put on a path of self-sufficiency.

“It is the focus instituted by my stewardship and that is the model we are using,” he said on Friday.

“I hope that long after I am gone that it is going to be used because it is one that is beneficial to the people of TT. At the end of the day, it is the people of TT’s money and it has to be spent prudently.”

Peters, who became NCC chairman in April, condemned what he called the “culture of freeness” in TT, saying that under his stewardship, it would no longer be business as usual as the organisation prepares for a long and potentially hectic 2019 Carnival season.

He reiterated the North Park, once instituted, would be a revenue-generating venue and a hub for Carnival activities.

“Anything that we are having will have a charge attached to it. You can’t have everything for free all the time,” Peters said of the North Park.

“It may even be cheaper than the other venues. But the fact remains, yes, there will be a charge.”

The NCC chairman added: “It (North Park) cannot be free. Trinidad has too much freeness. I hate when you have something and at the end of it, the tagline is free. Everyone wants everything to be free. We live in a gimme free country. And I can’t stand that.”

Although several details of the North Park are still being worked out, Peters said the facility would fall within the framework of a reconfigured QPS. The entire area will be referred to as Carnival City.

Peters said the North Park will feature a picnic area and seating accomodation for patrons.

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