FROM the draft estimates of budget 2020, the Culture Ministry will get $391,266.249, a net increase of $110,070.349 from the revised 2019 estimates, but a $57,066,249 increase from the original figure.
Also, as an incentive to corporate TT, finance minister Colm Imbert has proposed to increase the tax allowance from $3 million to $6 million for companies that sponsor audiovisual and video productions, the local fashion industry, art and culture. This measure will take effect from January 1.
In an immediate reaction, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, the National Carnival Commission chairman said he didn’t hear all of the budget details but from the little he heard, he felt the increase in the tax incentive is interesting.
However, he remained skeptical as to whether companies with take up the offer because he said they complain of not having funds for sponsorship in the first place.
Beverly Ramsey-Moore, president of Pan Trinbago has opted to wait until she sees the budget allocation to the NCC, and in particular Pan Trinbago before she can comment. But Lutalo “Bro Resistance” Masimba, president, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) is not happy.
Masimba said: “We at TUCO are extremely disappointed because we submitted a ten-point proposal for the creative industries under the TTCSI (Trinidad and Tobago Creative Service Industries), of which we are a member, and not one of those points was addressed.”
He added: “We continue the cry for more performance spaces in TT and in particular, in Port of Spain, while we continue to lobby for 50 per cent local musical content on both radio and television.”
As for the the LMD (Live Music District), Masimba said: “I didn’t see anything to talk about, I’m not sure if it is going to be expanded across TT, and this is what disturbs us a lot.”
“So even with yuh free LED bulb yuh still cyar see dat de budget bypass de creative industries (sic). So all artistes and entertainers should benefit from de increase in minimum wage,” Masimba said.
The LMD programme was launched in March 2018 to provide local registered artists with the opportunities to showcase their talent at various events and locations throughout selected participating venues, since there has been a challenge for local music performers outside of the indigenous carnival-oriented genres to book performances year-round.
However, for Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, she is quite pleased at the measures taken, especially those aimed at systematic improvement in the quality of life for citizens like the daily paid pensioners, government pensioners, women with young children.