Resetting the vision
In an interview on Sunday, Joe Halstead, chairman of the Festival Management Committee (FMC), organizers of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, told this newspaper of the problems plaguing his organization, including its financial woes.
These, of course, are not new problems .
But according to Halstead, one of FMC’s successes was that it never had ” a bad audit.”
” We have had years where we have lost money but we have always been able to account for the money,” Halstead noted.
Surely, the same cannot be said for at least one other cultural organization in Toronto.
In fact it is largely because of that organization’s accounting problems that it is no longer in charge of the very festival which the FMC is now running.
We are referring, of course, to the organization now known as the Caribana Arts Groups (CAG)
What has become of the CAG?
Some say it is around somewhere holding meetings late at night and still talking about taking over the festival one day.
What day will that be?
Don’t hold your breath: it’s not likely to happen.
But let’s look at the FMC and its restructuring plans which Halstead discussed in his interview with this newspaper.
He said that after an assessment of this year’s festival, the FMC decided ” to reset the organization to ensure that it (the festival) remains the premier Caribbean cultural event in the city.”
A commendable idea.
Only last July, after the launch of this year’s Caribbean carnival, we discussed in this space our concerns about the future of the festival.
We noted then -and it bears repeating -that after 50 years, the festival should have been able to generate sufficient funds on its own to make it financially viable and that the organizers should not have to wait on government handouts.
We suggested that the FMC should have availed itself of the marketing skills to generate the money it would need to make a success of what could be the jewel in the crown of the Toronto Caribbean cultural scene.
Somebody apparently is paying attention.
In his interview with this newspaper, Halstead said that the FMC is looking for” a new leader to reset the vision and repair the organization.”
And clearly, after all these years ” on the road’ it is badly in need of repair.
The FMC Chairman told us that in its major restructuring move the organization ” has strengthened “its board of directors which now has eight members and that it is looking for a general manager.
The FMC is certainly fortunate to have on its board of directors some people whose talents and wide experience are a great asset to the organization.
Among those who deserve special mention are Michael Lashley, vice chairman, Angela Pierre, secretary, Anessa Oumaraly and Earlene Huntley.
We have no doubt that others on the board were chosen for their special skills.
We are pleased to learn that the FMC is prepared to look for new skills and talents from outside the organization.
Halstead noted that where there is no one within the organization to fill a particular position,” we’ll go outside and recruit.”
Within our own Caribbean community in Canada, there are many highly skilled persons in areas such as marketing and culture who can make a tremendous contribution to the development of the FMC and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival and may be willing to serve.
And in the search for the right people, we hope that the FMC will not bypass the Caribana Arts Group. Within that organization there are people with the experience and skills that the FMC would need in its major restructuring.
After half a century ” on the road,” it is high time that the Toronto Caribbean carnival gets it house in order.