After months of negotiations between the Caribana Arts Group (CAG) and the Festival Management Committee (FMC) which has been running the Toronto Caribbean carnival for the last ten years, talks have irretrievably broken down.
And, according to Monica Pollard, CAG chairman, the CAG will not be playing any role in the Toronto Caribbean carnival this summer.
The news comes as a major disappointment to members of the CAG who were hoping that there would have been some level of collaboration between its organization and the FMC in running. this year’s carnival.
They were also hoping that the “Caribana” name would have been restored to the carnival which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Caribana was launched by a group of West Indians in Toronto in 1967 as a salute to Canada’s centennial. The event was reported to have been such a success that it became an annual celebration.
Mas’ aficionados say that over the last few years the Toronto Caribbean carnival has “lost its spirit ”
Pollard told the Caribbean Camera in an interview on the weekend that the CAG has been negotiating with the FMC since last June.
” We wanted this year’s festival to be called ‘Caribana 50th anniversary celebration ‘ but, of course, we were unsuccessful,” she said.
“We were at odd with the FMC over the question of ownership of the festival.,” she explained
” We take the position that the Caribana festival is the intellectual and the artistic property of the CAG which is a community organization,” she noted.
Pollard said she met several times with Toronto Mayor John Tory to try and settle the differences between the CAG and the FMC but the mayor took the position that ” we should try to work out the problems and that he did not want to intervene.”
However, many carnival aficionados are unhappy with the mayor’s position.
They say that while the CAG is community-based, the FMC is a ” creature of City Hall.”
“It is the City which appointed the FMC to play the role which it is playing today,” one irate mas’ man remarked.
“So I am sure we have not heard the last of the CAG,” he added.