Artful appointment

Keiba Jacob Mottley. - File photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Keiba Jacob Mottley. - File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE SELECTION of Keiba Jacob Mottley as the new CEO of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) is a hopeful development, promising, as it does, the injection of fresh blood into a statutory organisation that is often perceived as out of touch and moribund. It is an excellent selection, and we congratulate Ms Mottley on taking up the mantle.

Previously, Nigel Williams acted in the post and, before him, Colin Lucas held the substantive role, which was briefly fused, formally, with the role of chairman when Mr Lucas was executive chair. All of that was years ago. The filling of the vacancy allows the NCC to move forward without needing to focus on this lingering matter.

And move forward it must.

Ms Mottley brings a range of expertise that will be essential if the NCC is to remain relevant.

Her vast experience suggests the perfect fusion of skills for a body corporate tasked with the serious enterprise of making Carnival “a viable national, cultural and commercial enterprise.”

The new CEO’s flair for administration and procedure is hinted at by the fact that she acted or deputised in the roles of Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the House of Representatives during a parliamentary career spanning more than a decade.

In addition to being a procedural clerk, she was the head of the Financial Scrutiny Unit of Parliament, among other things.

The curator of the Rotunda Gallery at the Red House, an initiative Ms Mottley was the brainchild of, she is also the current president of the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago, the historic and long-standing organisation headquartered in Federation Park, Port of Spain.

Carnival is no longer the exclusive domain of this country. The NCC’s mandate, which also involves the efficient and effective presentation and marketing of the cultural products of what we once called the Greatest Show on Earth, is one that must now be exercised amid much competition.

The list of regional carnivals that are drawing throngs grows by the day, such as upcoming festivals in Grand Cayman, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia.

Too many questions, meanwhile, have been raised here over the years about the NCC’s expenditure and the issue of value for money.

In November, chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters told a parliament committee the annual festival costs $150 million, but Mr Williams, then the acting CEO, told the same committee the figure was $186 million.

Estimates of revenue, meanwhile, similarly jumped around at the same hearing, from $25 million to $400 million to $1 billion.

Going forward, Ms Mottley must be given the authority and co-operation necessary to perform her duties effectively within the NCC, not the least from its top officials.


"Artful appointment"

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