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Senator Arley Gill, the Minister of State with responsibility for Culture, has said that carnival organisers will be seeking additional private sector support to ensure Spicemas 2010 is “very successful.’’
The Minister, who recently announced in the Senate government’s plan for providing a grant of about $484,000 to help pay off carnival debts accumulated over the 2008-2009 period, said the festival needs “capital injection’’ from both the private and public sectors.
“Central government allocations to carnival basically have not moved in the last 10 to 15 years,’’ said Sen. Gill, “and the cost of production of carnival has increased in terms of sound system and in terms of prize monies. Just as how the cost of living goes up, just so the cost of producing carnival goes up. That’s one of the major challenges.’’
The Senator, who also has responsibility for Information and Information Technology, praised the 22-month-old National Democratic Congress government, which has made an overall budgetary allocation of $827,000 to the Grenada Carnival Committee (GCC) to cover current and outstanding expenses.
“Let it be said that our government sees carnival as an investment,’’ Sen. Gill said. “It’s not just putting on a cultural event; it’s an investment really. It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions for a country like Grenada. We know that it impacts the economy positively and as such we need to make that investment.’’
Sen. Gill said the first payment instalment of $484,000 should be received by the GCC within a couple of weeks.
“We are waiting now on the Ministry of Finance to make those payments, but that will rely on how the cash flow goes,’’ he explained. “You have to appreciate that the government has a whole lot of obligations and carnival is just one of them. But we expect that over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be able to make those commitments so that we’ll be able to move fully ahead with regards to carnival.’’
Telecommunications’ provider, LIME, is a “major sponsor’’ of Spicemas and discussions are being held with the Grenada Breweries in the search for “bigger private sector involvement’’ in carnival, Sen. Gill revealed.
He said: “More resources need to be put into carnival. We’re looking at new partnerships with the private sector. We believe that if the private sector can come onboard for 2010 carnival, we’re going to make a significant dent on any cost overruns this year, and one can expect a very successful carnival. We are looking at one or two innovations because we believe that carnival is something that should evolve over time.’’
The 2010 Grenada carnival celebrations culminate on Tuesday, August 10, with the customary Parade of the Bands from Lagoon Road to the Carenage.