Pan Trinbago has expressed gratitude for more than $2 million being given to unsponsored bands playing during the 2020 Carnival season. But, they called for more support for the bands as they clamour to find money to transport members and supporters, get uniforms, and for daily operations.
External relations officer Dane Gulston told Newsday on Thursday, unsponsored bands outnumber the sponsored bands, and even in that regard, the bands who were selected for cheques were only a fraction of the bands that actually play during the Carnival season.
“You don’t want to be greedy. Anything given is welcome and we are thankful, but we always still feel, especially when it comes to the unsponsored bands, they give so much but they don’t get enough,” Gulston said.
“They try to do everything they can with the money. They would pay players, deal with the day-to-day runnings of the band, like pay light bills, but they don’t do anything during the year because they simply don’t have. To be honest, we could do more. Especially for them.”
A release sent to the media by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts said it began distribution of cheques to 174 unsponsored bands on Thursday.
It said the total being given ($2,085,000), increased from last year, ($2,010,000) as well as the number of unsponsored bands who were given cheques.
The ministry said the money was given to the bands to assist in preparation for various competitions for the season.
Gulston called on more stakeholders, whether private or public, to invest more in the bands and by extension TT culture.
“When you look, it is youths playing these instruments. They come in day in and day out and sometimes people, whether it is their parents or someone else, would come along and make sandwiches and so on. That is how they go through the season.
“Bands really try, but maybe because of the communities, they are in sometimes they run into hard times. Whatever little it is we are thankful because sometimes you get nothing. And we know how the economy is right now. It is rough. So anything that anyone offers is welcome because we need it.”
The ministry said, more cheques will be handed out on Friday, and next Monday and Tuesday.
Breakdown of sponsorship given
37 conventional $555,000.00
22 single pan $165,000.00
29 conventional $435,000.00
32 single pan $240,000.00
28 conventional $420,000.00
11 single pan $82,500.00
10 conventional $150,000.00
5 single pan $37,500.00
Total 174 $2,085,000.00