Pan Trinbago gets just $4m for Carnival but shows will go on

Desperadoes during its winning performance of Nailah Blackman's More Sokah at the National Panorama Finals, Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, in February 2020. - Vidya Thurab
Desperadoes during its winning performance of Nailah Blackman's More Sokah at the National Panorama Finals, Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, in February 2020. - Vidya Thurab

Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore said despite an allocation of $4 million, the organisation was going full steam ahead with its shows for A Taste of Carnival.

She said Pan Trinbago was hoping it would have received about $8 million. However, after it was announced that funding for a Taste of Carnival would only be $15 million, the National Carnival Commission was now offering $4 million.

Ramsey-Moore said on Thursday the organisation has to raise an additional $2 million to satisfy the bands that will take part in the shows at the Queen’s Park Savannah, and give a grant to those bands that cannot.

“It is very expensive, especially after two years to mobilise a band to go on stage to give an excellent taste. Even if you are giving a taste, the taste have to be a real sweet taste, not so?

“Right now, we have been looking and sending requests to corporate bodies to come in give support.”

Beverly Ramsey-Moore

She said so far, the organisation has been getting some responses and was still looking forward to some more.

She said the organisation’s first budget had $300,000 in appearance fees for large bands but because cuts had to be made it can go no less than $250,000.

In the NCC schedule sent out on Thursday, a national pan event for single and small pan bands takes place on February 19, and the show for medium and large bands will be held on n February 26.

“When you talk pan, you talk community soul and a number of people will benefit. Not only the players but the tuners, the arrangers, the security officers who will be looking over your bands, the cooks…

“It is a lot of money. When we talk about champion bands on stage, in all the categories, we have to ensure we give a product that is palatable to the entire world.

“Pan Trinbago will not get involved in any wishy-washy business. It is either you come full circle or no circle at all,” she said.

Asked about the views expressed about a Taste of Carnival, Ramsey-Moore said she was disappointed about how people came down on the amount of money that NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters had to work with.

She said he might not have expressed the way the total would have benefitted the ordinary man.

“People probably thought the money is for the pods and infrastructure. But, no, you just think about it. The thousands of pannists that will be getting money. Not just the pannists but a number of ordinary TT folks who have not worked for the past two years.

“When you think about that money, $15 million just will not cut it. When we have so many steelbands and so on, it just will not cut it.

“But at the end of the day, we love our culture and we will do our best to present to the world the best of TT. And to give them the sweetest pan in the world,” she said.

She said 83 bands across different categories have registered to be a part of the events.

On Saturday, the organisation goes to the eastern region for auditions and then on Sunday to the northern region where it will select the best bands for the first show on February 19.

Also, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation wants $1 million more to help offset staging competitions for its events in the Taste of Carnival.

TUCO acting president Ainsley King in an i95.5 fm interview Thursday said what was offered by the NCC only covered the expenses to operate calypso tents. He did not say how much TUCO was offered but said there was a shortfall of an estimated $900,000 which would have made it impossible to hold competitions; yet he remained optimistic of a favourable outcome in further talks with the NCC.

Seven tents are staging two shows each at the Queen's Hall, Port of Spain and Naparima Bowl, San Fernando venues up to February 24. Its competitions include Kaisorama (extempo, rapso, intellectual chutney) on February 23 and the Calypso Monarch at Dimanche Gras On February 27. The Calypso Monarch semifinal – Calypso Fiesta – takes place at Naparima Bowl on February 20.

On the issue of vaccinations, Ramsey-Moore said the organisation had a challenge with vaccine hesitancy but a number of its members have since taken the Johnson and Johnson one-shot covid19 vaccine which gives them enough time to be fully vaccinated for the shows.

“At present, staff is going through vaccination cards to ensure that they are correct. Because one thing that will happen is that NCC will have the Ministry of Health check to ensure we have no fake cards.

“So that will be checked and we have already warned players not to present because the police will definitely get involved if there is any fraud with respect to vaccination cards.”


"Pan Trinbago gets just $4m for Carnival but shows will go on"

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