Caribana Arts Group in ’emergency mode’

Chris Alexander FMC, Monica Pollard  CAG  and   Jamaal Magloire TMBA
Chris Alexander FMC, Monica Pollard CAG and Jamaal Magloire TMBA

The Caribana Arts Group (CAG) which is drafting plans to play the leading role the 50th anniversary of the Toronto Caribbean carnival next  summer, is reported to be ” in emergency mode” as it gets ready for a membership meeting on Saturday.

Up to press time last night, members of the CAG Board were in an ” emergency meeting” at Metro Hall in Toronto to finalize its proposal which it will present to the membership meeting.

The major points of discussion will be the role which the CAG will play in the 50th  anniversary of the festival and  the legal issues  relating  to the rental of the “Caribana” name to a local organization.

Several months ago, the Festival Management Committee (FMC)  which has been running the Toronto Carnival for the last 10 years, had made a proposal to the CAG for both organizations to get together  to run the festival.

But according to one CAG official, the major ” bone of contention ” is ” which of the two organizations  will play the leading role.”

The FMC had proposed that it would be the only entity that would seek funding and apply for grants on behalf  of the festival.

” This is clearly unacceptable to the CAG,” said the official.

The eleven members of the CAG Board were summoned to the “emergency meeting” but up to press time it could not be ascertained how many members showed up. for the meeting.

The CAG has not issued any news release about the ” emergency meeting”  but The Caribbean Camera learned that prior to last night’s meeting,  members of the executive had been in touch  with  city officials and others ” to try and move the process along.”

” We have only a few months left to plan to festival and we are nowhere close to an agreement with the FMC,” the CAG official  noted.

The Caribbean Camera has also learned that the CAG has  had discussions with the Toronto Mas’ Bands Association(TMBA)  but there was no indication that the TMBA  is willing to work with  the CAG ” to resolve the impasse between the CAG and the GMC.”

As one CAG official explained, ” the problem is money .Neither the CAG or  the FMC is talking dollars. So who wants to listen?”

At this stage, several private sector organization have indicated their willingness to provide funding ” to put Caribana back on the road next year.”

But the CAG is reported to be wary of such proposals.

” These private sector fellows, like some bandleaders, see Caribana as a business opportunity – a chance to make some big bucks. But Caribana is a non-profit community organization. At least, that is how it was conceived and there is still the hope that funding will be provided to keep it going as a community organization which answers to  its members.” one CAG official remarked.

He  said he hopes that before the end of the year, the City of Toronto and other funders will realize that the CAG is a community organization and not a ” privately run entity.”