It cost taxpayers almost $90 million to stage this year’s Carnival according to Culture Minister Marlene Mc Donald.
In a written response distributed during Friday’s sitting of Parliament, Mc Donald revealed figures associated with the staging of the national festival.
She was responding to a question posed by Opposition Member of Parliament for Mayaro Winston “Gypsy” Peters about the total allocation for Carnival 2008.
Mc Donald said, “The total allocation made by Parliament for fiscal year 2007/2008 to the National Carnival Commission (NCC) is $87,297,466.”
Peters also wanted to know how much money was allocated to cultural and social organisations, especially calypso tents for Carnival-related activities.
“The total disbursement of grants to all cultural and social organisations for 2008 Carnival-related activities was $9,611,581. Of this sum, a total of $1,643,300 was disbursed to calypso tents including the chutney and vintage calypso tents,” said Mc Donald.
According to Mc Donald, the NCC achieved varying levels of success, accomplishing several of its goals for the 2008 Carnival, including:
* Refurbishment of some 140 vendors’ booths and the design of food courts to better facilitate patronage and provide for live entertainment/activity during the day.
* Provision of accommodation for paid patrons/foreign visitors during the day.
* Strengthening of the security services for events.
* Improvement of the facilities at Skinner’s Park for the Panorama finals and future cultural productions.
* Improvement of the physical space provided for patrons “on the Greens.”
* Improvement of facilities provided at venues downtown and at Victoria and Adam Smith squares.
She said visitor arrivals for Carnival and Carnival-related activities in 2008 reached 39,115 with 59 per cent of the visitors coming from North America and 19 per cent from the Caribbean.
The minister lauded the fact that T&T’s Carnival has spread throughout the world.
“The spontaneity, creativity and excitement of the street parade and some off-shoot events have been introduced to the rest of the world.
“In particular, T&T can boast that our national festival has spawned 80 masquerades within the Caribbean and the wider diaspora.”Organisers of Carnival events within the region continually seek the advice and expertise of the National Carnival Commission in the management of their own festivals, she said, adding that this country continued to provide services and training to judges and the mas fraternity in the region.