Geraldine Stafford, chairman of the Caribana Arts Group (CAG), says she was surprised to learn of the ” termination” of Richard de Lima as Chief Executive Officer of the Festival Management Corporation (FMC) which has been running the Toronto Caribbean Carnival for more than 10 years.
In an interview earlier this week, Stafford told the Caribbean Camera that she had no indication of “anything untoward” when she met with Joe Halstead, chairman of the FMC, last month.
De Lima was present at that meeting, she said.
“And after the meeting, in a follow-up email to me, he ( de Lima) had expressed his desire to keep in contact and keep the discussion going and said that he was supportive of our mandate,”
“So his termination was a surprise to me.”
Just six months after Richard de Lima was appointed CEO of the FMC, his two-year contract was terminated.
The FMC has given no reason for the termination of his contract.
Shortly after she was elected chairman of the CAG earlier this year, Stafford spoke of the organization’s plans in its bid to reclaim the Toronto Caribbean carnival.
In a telephone interview, she had told the Caribbean Camera that “our foremost mandate is obviously to reclaim ownership of the festival.”
But she noted that there are “a lot of building blocks to be put in place for us to get to where we have to be.”
Stafford cited relationships as ” key to the CAG mandate of a festival united under the Caribana name” and stressed the importance of “accountability and responsibility to both the membership and stakeholders.”
She had been attending carnival band launches and meeting with stakeholders of the festival which is getting ready for the grand parade on August 3.
Referring to the recently reported funding cuts facing the FMC, she remarked that ” they [ the FMC] are having their problems over there.”
“The two groups [ CAG and FMC] should work things out in a united front…We should pool our resources to run one powerhouse organization,” she suggested.
Stafford described her meeting with the FMC as ” positive.”
“There was no animosity I would call it pragmatic, and open, a very candid meeting. ”
“We made some assurances that we will definitely continue the dialogue.”
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CAG to meet on Saturday
The Caribana Arts Group (CAG ) is scheduled to hold a membership meeting at the Fantasia Hotel in Toronto on Saturday.
Members of the Board of Directors are expected to provide information about “recent developments,”
They are also expected to discuss membership recruitment activities.