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St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Less than a month before the launch of Sugar Mas 46, the carnival budget has been slashed by over 60%.
WINN FM understands that in prior years the government allotted EC $3 million to the Carnival Committee to put on the national carnival. This year, the Committee will have to work with just $1 million, a 66% hair cut.
The budget cut was confirmed by Carnival committee Chairman Noah Mills in an interview with WINN FM.
“Well allow me to open by stating that the present government/administration they have been rather accommodating from the start. We have been told that we were the first to submit a budget we have done so for each of the three carnivals, we’ve also presented our expense report so we believe in transparency, we believe in accounting. However, like many other countries in all parts of the world persons have to be exceptionally fiscally prudent and faced with constraints we were told that we need to revisit the budget and we need to make sure that the specific activities that we have are cost effective and that is what we’ve done. So there have been some reallocation, and we’ve had to respond to that, for example, we use to have two Bar Crawls in St Kitts, we are now merging the one that used to be around Basseterre, Frigate Bay and St Peters so that will be merged with the around St Kitts Bar Crawl.
"The Nevis Bar Crawl will remain because National Carnival includes both islands, additionally, we’ve now moved our Mas Camp where we were renting a space and because we invested in the containers last year for bars in The Circus they are now going to be used as our Mas Camp, saving some money there. We’ve also done other things that will assist with cost saving for example the reallocation of monies for the Soca competition where we’ve merged and its now one segment, we’ve also introduced an All Star Band.”
The Chairman said he does not expect the budget cut to affect the overall Carnival product.
“These are some of the strategies that we’ve had to develop and roll out to ensure that without jeopardizing the overall quality of the carnival product we were able to operate within the fiscal parameters by the government.”
With increased registration for the major shows, parade and j’ouvert troupes this year, Mills is optimistic that carnival patrons will enjoy themselves for Sugar Mas 46, set to launch on November 17.
“To be honest, everything has increased and again it tells us that this management team seems to be doing something right. I met yesterday and the day before with the new Chairperson, Ms Vanessa Richards-Phipps and she has informed me that the numbers have almost doubled, we have 10-12. Now some of them we are sorting to make sure which one is Jouvert and which one is Grand Parade but both of them are showing increased registration numbers. Calypso has shown an increase, Soca has shown an increase, so it seems as if once persons have opened up their eyes to the improvement in the process, the transparency, the equity, and the goal that we have to make sure that our carnival is the number product in the years to come they are now seeing that amidst all of the talk and all of the commentary, it appears as if there is more and more coming on board.”