The budget for the Tobago October carnival 2023 scheduled for the weekend of October 27-29 has been estimated at $12,590,660.
The THA Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation revealed this in a press release on Thursday.
It said this cost will cover subventions to interest groups, logistics, infrastructure and other related expenses for this year’s festivities.
This figure, it said, represents a decrease in the actual spend for last year’s investment in the inaugural Tobago October carnival, but “the Division remains committed to ensuring the sustainability of this new product.”
On Wednesday, Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke described as “worrying” the fact that the budget for the second October carnival was as yet unknown.
This followed last Thursday’s THA plenary sitting in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough, where minority councillor Petal Daniel-Benoit asked Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris to reveal the budget for carnival. She also wanted to know what measures were in place to ensure stakeholders benefited from the event.
Burris was unable to respond and asked for a deferral.
stakeholders benefit from the event. Burris was unable to respond and asked for a deferral.
In Thursday’s press release, the division welcomed the support of major sponsors Republic Bank Ltd, Bmobile and Carib Brewery. It advised that the division is co-ordinating carnival festivities through three of its special-purpose companies: Tobago Festivals Commission Ltd, Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd and the Tobago Performing Arts Company.
It said throughout the planning process for this year’s carnival there has been continuous and direct engagement with stakeholders, including local promoters, mas and cultural stakeholders, industry service providers, the National Carnival Commission (NCC), Pan Trinbago, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), Tobago October Carnival Association (TOCA) and national security apparatus.
It said the secretary of the division is especially pleased with the level of stakeholder engagement and open-door facilitatory environment that had been created. She looked forward to the progression of the plans and a successful, enjoyable and safe season which culminates in the island’s capital.
A promotional "activation" took place in Trinidad last weekend, it said, featuring Tobago artistes including Shurwayne Winchester, Adana and Tam Tam, alongside acts from Trinidad and mas and J'Ouvert bands there to promote their costumes and presentations.
It said this year’s carnival will see 54 bands in the small, medium and large band categories parading through the streets of Scarborough for J’Ouvert, night mas and the Parade of the Bands.
It said a new and exciting feature this year is the Festival Grounds on the Scarborough Esplanade.
“This space will serve as a carnival village, which will showcase our local calypsonians and vendors as well as sponsors." The Festival Grounds will be launched on October 23 and will continue to the end of the season.
In addition, there will be the Tobago Soca Titans Competition which will link October carnival to national Carnival celebrations; the Junior Calypso Monarch; Pan Trinbago’s Rhythm, Steel and Powder; and the TUCO Legends Showcase.