Augustine: Budget for Tobago Carnival being fine-tuned

A moko jumbie towers over patrons during the Plymouth, Tobago J'Ouvert celebrations on Saturday. Photo by David Reid
A moko jumbie towers over patrons during the Plymouth, Tobago J'Ouvert celebrations on Saturday. Photo by David Reid

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has admitted to a delay in disclosing the budget for the Tobago Carnival, scheduled for October 28-30.

On July 16, Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris, at the weekly post-Executive Council news conference, said the budget would be revealed by Monday. Since then, there has been no word from her and attempts to contact her have been unsuccessful, with calls and messages remaining unanswered.

Augustine said the figures are being fine-tuned.

“I am not at liberty to give you the figure immediately, but I can tell you that it has engaged the attention of the executive council over a week ago. They brought an initial budget which members of the council felt was insufficient for the needs, the demands of this carnival, and members of the executive did raise some issues with the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary. So they’re just doing that fine-tuning.”

He said the figure would be revealed this week.

“I could guarantee you though that during this week, we could get the cost of the carnival, which would be manageable, which would not be exorbitant by any stretch of the imagination.”

He said most of the activities, from what he has seen thus far, will be put on by private promoters and individuals.

“We are not doing a model where the State tries to pay for every single event that happens across the month of October, leading into the weekend.”

He said the Carnival is more than just the weekend.

“There would be several events and activities happening throughout the month. You’ve seen the mas bands all launching their costumes.

"The team met with the promoters, met with the mas-band creators, met with the calypsonians, met with the steelpan fraternity, and have been working out all of what you’re seeing now – in terms of their launches, in terms of when they would throw their parties – so they’re not all crawling over each other, because we have all appreciate that Tobago has an economy of scale issue, where we cannot afford three or four parties on the same night at the same time – three of them might buss.”

He said the committee is being very careful in scheduling events to ensure all the promoters in the space will benefit.

“The pan fraternity is happy, the calypso fraternity is happy and the mas band people are happy.”

He added: “I could tell you that one of the things that came up – the steelpan fraternity, when we saw what the committee wanted to do for the steelpan fraternity and the calypsonians, the executive said that is insufficient, we cannot accept that. The steelpan fraternity and the calypso fraternity must be treated better. And that is one of the reasons that has delayed an announcement of the cost.”


"Augustine: Budget for Tobago Carnival being fine-tuned"

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