‘His termination was a surprise to me’ – CAG Chair

Geraldine Stafford with the Caribana logo

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.

Richard de Lima

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.