The St. Lucia Calypso Association (2009) (SLCA) and the Carnival Planning and Management Agency (CPMA) today (June 23) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-produce all major national cultural events.
The signing took place in the boardroom of the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries. The MoU was signed in the presence of Permanent Secretary Donovan Williams, CPMA Chairman Lyndon Arnold and SLCA 2009 Chairman David Jordan, among several ministry officials.
While the ministry was criticised for taking a long time to produce the document, Williams explained that the process has been an ongoing one and required proper discussions. He said the MoU will bring these organisations closer and will assist with better management and preparation of events.
Meanwhile, the CPMA chairman told the media that while the CPMA was not presented with a subvention this year to organise and plan Carnival, a formal correspondence requesting additional funds was submitted to the Ministry of Finance. The CPMA received some $1.1 million to offset its production cost and not the annual subvention.
“We still have to operate in a mode that suggests that we don’t have it, which is why it is even more critical that we join forces and we come together and try to make most of the resources that we do have.”
On the other hand, Jordan said: “We do hope that there will be some spirit of goodwill that will prevail to enable us to move forward. As you may be aware some of our tents have suffered causalities and we have in fact decided that there will be three quarter-finals unlike what we have proposed to have, six.”
In terms of profitability, Jordan said there is a difference in approach in hosting a show between CPMA and SLCA, noting that a show with 800 persons is not profitable, adding that private sector support is critical.
“We do hope that our joint effort would ensure that we operate with a discourse maximum in mind,” he added.
The SLCA chairman stressed that both teams will have to come up with a profitable plan.
Most recently, the Board of Directors of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), acting on a recommendation from the CPMA, at its meeting of May 26 2014, agreed to support the SLCA for the 2014 calypso season.
This support comes in the form of a conditional write-off of $12,525 owed to the CDF by the association and member tents for the 2011 to 2013 calypso seasons. The request was made in consideration of the fiscal challenges facing carnival stakeholders this year, especially in light of the absence of a subvention from government.