60th Anniversary Carnival Budget gets Cabinet’s nod

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The minister of culture’s justification for a larger budget for the 60th Anniversary of Carnival this year has seemingly persuaded the government to approve the increase.
Last week, the Festival’s Commission asked for an additional $1.2 million to bridge the shortfall of its $7.2 million budget but the Cabinet said the request was not justified.
Culture Minister EP Chet Greene was reportedly not happy with last week’s decision by the Cabinet not to accept the budget, but he was not present when the application was put forward. However, during Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, Greene managed to convince his colleagues to grant a little more than half of the $1.2 million requested by the Festivals Commission.
Information Minister Melford Nicholas told a Cabinet press briefing yesterday that following the discussion in Cabinet, Greene’s department will get $700,000 for some of the initiatives the Commission wants to undertake.
It was further agreed that the Festivals Commission would not need the additional $500,000.
“I believe in the detailed presentation that the minister made yesterday based on a number of initiatives they wanted to undertake. There was acceptance of some of the additional programmes and some rejection in a number of other instances,” Minister Nicholas said.
Some of the additional programmes included the return of Jam Pond with a newly constructed stage, the publication of a commemorative magazine and an increased build-up to the festival around St John’s beginning from July 1.
The preparations also included improved lighting of St John’s, increased participation of children in all areas of Children’s Carnival and a Jubilee Banquet to honour the forerunners of Carnival.
The creation of an Emancipation (cultural) Village, and the erection of a Carnival Wall of Fame were among other activities for the expanded calendar for the celebration of the nation’s 60th Anniversary of Carnival.
However, Nicholas said while the expectation was to do all those programmes, “based on what the Cabinet thought was affordable and necessary, there was some shrinking of the budget”.
The minister did not indicate which programmes were cut from the list. He, however, added that patrons can expect heightened security this carnival. According to him, general security to include enhanced lighting in St Johns and police presence on the carnival routes are already in place.
“The whole idea of ensuring the emergency services will be alerted is already in place and moreover the sanitary amenities associated with carnival are being addressed.
He said a meeting was also held with APUA to ensure that “at all times there is adequate supply of water to ensure there are no unsanitary issues”.
Minister Nicholas said all must be done to ensure that the challenge of people “falling between the wheels of trollies and getting crushed or severely impaired” is addressed.
Last year’s carnival celebrations came to a tragic and sudden end on August 2 when a truck ran over Nikki Phillip, 25, a resident of New York, USA. She died on the spot.

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