TOBAGO West MP and acting Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Shamfa Cudjoe has congratulated Tobago-based Uptown Fascinators for winning the National Panorama Small Conventional Bands 2023 competition.
She also congratulated Pan Trinbago and its chairman, Beverley Ramsey-Moore, for executing the competition in grand style from preliminaries to the finals.
She said this effort inspires excitement for the medium- and large-band competitions.
In a statement, Cudjoe, who is also the Sports Minister, said it was a big display of excellence by small conventional bands.
This win for Uptown Fascinators, who also copped the title in 2020, “indicates the band’s resilience throughout the hiatus caused by the covid19 pandemic,” she said.
“The skills, harmony and strategy deployed by Uptown Fascinators in showcasing the national instrument undoubtedly inspires immense cultural pride among nationals at home and abroad.”
She said the excellence displayed at last Friday’s finals held at the Grand Stand of the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, is an inspiring start to the competitive aspect of TT’s carnival.
“The return of Carnival emphasises the resilience of the festival, which resonates with the history surrounding carnival culture and the steelband.”
She said the commitment to group competitions indicates the collective determination to achieve excellence in TT.
She said the State remains a fervent supporter of the steelband movement because of its role in stimulating cultural life and the cultural industries in TT.
“The Government continues to invest in the innovation, creativity and determination of the people of TT at all levels and scales."
With the creative capacity of TT being a most valued resource in the continued efforts to stimulate recovery and progress, she said the Tourism Ministry in alignment with its mandate to professionalise the arts sector, continues to support carnival stakeholders in the production and development of the various festival elements towards the benefit and prosperity of the national community.
“The smoothness and technical proficiency of the production are on par with its festival contemporaries in the international market.”
She observed the integration of digital tools ensured the promotion of "A Taste of Carnival" in 2022 to the international market and this year, there is improved quality and distribution of TT’s carnival product to virtual audiences.
“There are increased opportunities for videographers, sound engineers, social media influencers, vendors, event co-ordinators, and pannists to earn revenue from live and virtual consumers.
“The restart of Carnival 2023 is off to an epic start. The festival activities are emerging full-fledged from the disruptions caused by the covid19 pandemic.”
For 2023, Cabinet has agreed to pay $5 million in grants to unsponsored bands and remittances to each steel pan player.
Carnival 2023 has been dubbed the Mother of all Carnivals and Cudjoe said the ministry will continue to support stakeholders to ensure maximum benefits to all the people of TT.