Despite budget cuts…good start to Tobago Carnival

“More bang for less buck.”

That’s what Secretary of the Division of Community Development and Culture Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus is seeking to achieve for Tobago’s Carnival in 2016.

“We have been dealing with the budget cuts. We’re looking at a cost of about $10.5 (million),” the Secretary said during Wednesday’s (January 20) media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.

Dr. Tsoiafatt-Angus said the Carnival Committee has assured her that “at least $1 million further will be taken off in the areas hospitality, infrastructure, and also (by) having improved procurement strategies.”

In December, the Secretary revealed $11.5 million had been approved for Carnival 2016, $500,000 less than the previous year. The budget was further reduced after Prime Minister mandated Government ministries and the THA to cut their expenditure by seven percent.

This year’s Carnival, themed “Celebrate in Paradise,” is a period for people to fully express and enjoy themselves.

Dr. Tosiafatt-Angus said so far, the 2016 Carnival season has seen improvement from last year. Four Tobago soca acts made it to the semifinals of the International Soca Monarch competition for the first time: I and Goofy, Gerard Balfour, Adana, and Caston Cupid. Last year Shurwayne Winchester and Fyah Empress were the only two qualifying from Tobago.

The Secretary said she was informed by president of Pan Trinbago’s Tobago Chapter Marie Toby that 14 bands have qualified to compete in the various national Panorama semi-finals, up from 11 last year. She said although additional resources will have to be provided for the extra three bands, Toby has “agreed to look for areas of savings” to ensure adequate support for the bands.

The Division is also seeking to add “excitement and enjoyment of Carnival in the air through various communities,” and has included its Carnival Jamboree in this year’s Carnival schedule. Jamboree events have already been hosted at Hope, Plymouth, and Moriah. The final Jamboree event is set for Saturday (January 23) in Roxborough.

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