Parang body wants a home, needs $1.5m for 2023 season

Alicia Jagessar, President National Parang Association of TT, at the National Parang Association's 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony on April 30 - JORDON BRIGGS
Alicia Jagessar, President National Parang Association of TT, at the National Parang Association's 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony on April 30 - JORDON BRIGGS

The National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) is appealing to TT’s corporate bodies to help them raise $1.5 million for the continuation of the 2023 parang season.

The association also wants to build a Home for Parang where it could host lectures, have a four-level car park etc. A request for state land has been made to the Government and the association was waiting on a reply, its president Alicia Jaggasar said on Thursday at a press conference.

The association wants this to be separate from its administrative space at 22 Hollis Avenue, Arima.

NPATT also showed its donation cards which would allow people or bodies to give a monetary contribution to the organisation which would help with its costs for running the festival.

At the press conference at Mille Fleurs, Maraval Road, Jaggasar said NPATT estimated a cost of $1.5 million for this year’s festival. Its PRO Joanne Briggs, vice president Henrietta Carter and youth officer Joseph Bertrand chaired the conference alongside Jaggasar.

She said, “In looking forward we are currently reaching out to corporate TT. We launched the parang festival but we have all these wonderful ideas and this wonderful presentation for the season but we do not have the financial support to continue the festival we have planned.

“So presently we are reaching out to corporate TT to help to take the parang to the communities around TT. We were able to facilitate the first festival but, at present, we are now waiting from a response from our proposal.”

She also asked for an increase in support from sponsors, the Government; a deeper respect for the artform and paranderos and to get a home for parang.

“In other words, we are looking for a little piece of state land where we could build our home. We have big dreams and big hopes.

“This home is to facilitate a performing arts hall, museum, administrative offices, seminars and training rooms, conference rooms, bar and court area, a cinema for locally produced films and documentaries on parang, outdoor performing arts space and a four-level car park,” she said.

While the association has its headquarters at 22 Hollis Avenue, Arima and she said a lot of work was needed on that building and would cost the organisation approximately $2.5 million to do so.

“Even though the headquarters is there we are unable to have events. We are unable to occupy the headquarters as the entire building needs rewiring and that kind of thing. There are a lot of problems with the infrastructure….”

Jaggasar said in 2018, the executive met a headquarters with infrastructural issues and financial needs.

The association was in the process of rebuilding and growing the when the covid19 pandemic hit in 2020.

“While we were eager to attract more sponsors and patrons, we had to go into survival mode…The creative industry went down and with the removal of our subvention and limited access to funds we decided to create some online events.”

Some sponsors supported some of the association’s online events, she said.

In 2022, determined to take parang to the communities, the association formed partnerships with parishes and organisations.

Some of those were Sacred Heart RC, Buenos Aires; St Anthony’s RC, Point Fortin; Lopinot’s Café Mariposa Gardens; First People’s Community and the protective services.

It hopes to continue these community events this year as well as launch its first-ever parang tent.

Its 2023 festival, titled the Reason for Parang, was launched on October 14 at the Toco/Matelot parish and was done in partnership with that parish led by Fr Raymond Francis.

While it has attracted some sponsors and interest from corporate bodies like National Flour Mills (NFM), Epic Fete Promotions and EPL Properties Ltd (a subsidiary of Eastern Credit Union), Carib, i95.5 FM, the Ministry of Education and Simon’s Musical Supplies, more is needed.

“We are currently awaiting responses from other entities where we have applied,” she said.

The organisation has plans to make the parang tent part of its sustainability plan.

It hopes to create an entity that would run from January to December and that would also attract people and sponsors.

“Sometimes you have researchers coming to TT asking about different things about parang. They want to know where to go; where to find this or that and we think we should have that space for them to come to…”

The festival is also known for its Junior Parang which is scheduled to be held on November 18 and 19 this year.


"Parang body wants a home, needs $1.5m for 2023 season"

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