By Gerald V. Paul
After a meeting at Metro Hall on Saturday which lasted more than four hours, the Caribana Arts Group (CAG) has not yet reached a decision about what role it will play – if any – in the staging of the 2017 Caribbean carnival next summer.
Monica Pollard, chairman of the CAG, in a brief encounter with this reporter at the end of the meeting, said the CAG is still negotiating with the Festival Management Committee (FMC) about the running of next year’s carnival.
Pollard said the CAG had met with both the FMC and Toronto Mas’ Bands Association (TMBA) and the CAG meeting on Saturday was updated about the discussions but she gave no details.
“Those details are not to be published. There is no final conclusion,” she added.
One of the proposals put forward by the FMC which has been running the Caribbean carnival for the last ten years, was that it would be the only entity that would seek funding and apply for grants on behalf of the festival.
But this proposal has angered many in the CAG who believe that its organization should also be the recipient of funding and grants.
However, longtime Caribana member Winston LaRose told the Caribbean Camera that ” the CAG is moving forward with negotiations with the FMC and we will do this from a position of strength and hope for a positive outcome.”
He made this statement before it was reported that a resolution was passed at Saturday’s CAG meeting that it members are not to speak to the press.
Asked about this in a brief exchange on Tuesday with Anthony Joseph, publisher of the Caribbean Camera, the CAG chairman did not deny that such a resolution was passed.
But she said she preferred ” not to talk about that right now.”
However, , several CAG members have spoken to the Caribbean Camera about last Saturday’s meeting.
Educator Althea Parsons said: ” We agreed to disagree. We discussed matters as a group and shared ideas as we tried to move the organization forward.”
An irate Ben Singh said he had sent a two-page alternative proposal to the Board and ” I have not heard anything from them. It was a guaranteed business plan with an excellent contact.
” What are they waiting for? Are they relying on the FMC? “Who is going to control the name Caribana? So the FMC would like to have the name for 5 years, I don’t think that’s possible.”
” And who is going to control the parade for next year? The more important question to be answered is whether the CAG in a position to get back the parade?
“ Where will the money come from? ”
” Yes, it’s true the CAG is unable to move full speed ahead. They are not going anywhere, “ Singh added.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a highly placed source in the FMC told the Caribbean Camera that ” we cannot wait forever (on the CAG).By the end of the year we have to make a decision one way or the other.”