The truth always comes out!

Dear Editor,

Bravo to Minister Anna Richardson for revealing the truth about the granting of permits to promoters who wish to conduct their shows outside of the Jocelyn Arndell Festival Village this year! When promoters feel undervalued, their logical recourse is to seek alternative resolutions.

When I first heard about promoters leaving the Jocelyn Arndell Festival Village to conduct their shows in other locations, I said to myself that these promoters are meeting the same fate as others in the past – those who just couldn’t continue, because of their discontent with the SCDF.

Prior to the radio interview, I’ve expressed these same views in private, and was tempted to write an article on the current situation. I’m happy that I did not, because the impression would have been that the minister was just repeating my thoughts. So, when I heard the minister speak of the situation in detail, I knew that she was telling the truth.

Now that the population has further insight into the conflict, the people should demand that the SCDF board steps down shortly after this year’s carnival, so that government can install a new board – one that does not involve anyone who has organized carnival in the past. The SCDF needs a breath of fresh air, where integrity and transparency are not questionable.

And, in order not to repeat the years of controversy between the SCDF and stakeholders who are the soul of carnival, government should appoint the director of culture on the board, to oversee a smooth collaboration among all parties involved.

This supervision should include the monitoring of all donations, to avoid the misconceptions that dishonest business owners portray, whenever contestants approach their establishments for donations. Businesses that contribute to this cause should be rewarded with a special incentive towards the reduction of their profit tax.

As I write, I can still hear the pain and frustration in Mr. Cool’s voice, as he pleaded with the SCDF (not this group) to be treated fairly because of the expenses that he incurred for bringing the various artists. Seeing that this unfair treatment still exists, it would be prudent to conduct a 2-hour discussion with past and current promoters. The dialogue would also give the public a chance to evaluate the situation and draw their conclusion.

Meanwhile, the village was constructed to conduct carnival events. Why does government allow the SCDF to hold certain shows outside of the village, prior to the official opening of carnival? Why not bring all of the events back into the village to increase a greater participation? This selective approach brings to question: Why would the SCDF refuse government’s contribution of over 400,000 guiders to cover expenses?

Interestingly, SCDF suggested that government keep the funds and use it to promote the calypso shows and queen pageants. Why would they make such a statement if they are charged with the task to organise carnival in its totality? So, is it really a fact that the SCDF is in the “red” but still rejects money from government? Right here the blind could see that SCDF has very limited interest in organising local events.

If SCDF is refusing government’s money, then who is funding them? Is it the established companies that rent booths at the “last minute” or the ghost donors who are pulling the strings? Refusing government’s money and still claiming to be in the “red” does not make sense. But the people have to blame government for this merry-go-round every year, just like how they have failed to hold government-owned companies responsible.

From the moment that the SCDF suggested that government should keep their funds and they would handle carnival, government had to get rid of them immediately. This is why from 2016, I never went back into the village. As long as this group is there, I would never support carnival.

If organising carnival is voluntary work, why does the SCDF board act as if the organisation belongs to them? When an establishment is plagued with complaints, people with integrity usually step down and allow others to take over. But when there is mendacity, there is no empathy for the cries of society.

Joslyn Morton

The Daily Herald

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