TRINBAGO Unified Calypsonians Organisation president Lutalo Masimba (Bro Resistance) said there are people who would destroy Carnival given the chance.
He was speaking on Monday to reporters at the Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah during the preliminary round of the National Calypso Monarch competition.
Masimba said, as a nation we need to understand the economic importance of the festival and begin to address it in that context "and not in the context of 'well, we give them a subvention and what they do with it?'
"We have gone way past that a very long time now."
He also said, people do not question when a subvention is given to the Port of Port of Spain, Caribbean Airlines or other companies.
"But once it comes to the cultural experience that is Carnival, which has the potential to bring in so much revenue into this country, some people – because they don't like the concept of Carnival or they don't relate to the festival, they find so many different ways to distress it and, if you give them a chance, even destroy."
Masimba, however, did not go into any details on who these people were.
On marketing Carnival and calypso, he said a lot of work has to been done at home and there was an ongoing struggle to have 50 per cent local content. He stressed this was a critical struggle, not only for artists, but for the nation as a whole.
"We talking about our music, we talking about our film and our fashion. And it's difficult to understand, or to come to terms with, that after 50-something years of Independence that you still have to be fighting for (50 per cent local content). Fifty per cent is simply an equal space in the market place. And how could that be so difficult within our experience?
"And this is a music that has lifted the profile of our country, has made our statement in the world and gone before us as a nation and announced ourself to the world and bring citizens from all over planet Earth."
He said throwing a lot of money behind the music, without the 50 per cent local content, was just "skimming the surface.".
On stakeholders working together, he said a lot more needs to be done.
"We find that somehow there is a misstep where the so-called special interest groups are concerned. We know that as soon as Carnival is finished we have to do an assessment...and we get right to the planning and the programming for the next Carnival. We know when the next Carnival is. But that is not always in sync with the government of the day, whoever they may be, and the way the state resources are being allocated in terms of time and time frames. I think we need to fix that."
He said when many people think of Carnival they think of mas events with pretty costumes, less clothing and parties.
"And nothing is wrong with that. But we cannot forget, or we cannot move away from, the foundation where the (calypso) tents are concerned, the music of the calypso as well as the steelband. It's what makes the TT Carnival distinctive from the rest of carnivals in the word."