By Lincoln DePradine
When, as expected, Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival returns to the streets of the city next, the festival will be under the leadership of new top-level management.
Eddison Doyle, Chris Alexander and Joe Halstead, who all have been with the carnival organizing committee – the Festival Management Corporation (FMC) – since its inception in 2006, announced Tuesday that they will be leaving their positions shortly.
Halstead, FMC’s chairman, told The Caribbean Camera it’s not a coordinated mass resignation, but one made separately by each individual.
Since March, he said, he had indicated that he planned on leaving the FMC.
“It was my personal decision,’’ Halstead said. “It has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else or anything else. I have given all I can. It’s time for me to go.’’
The resignation notices of Halstead, Doyle and Alexander were made public at a meeting of leaders of masquerade bands.
“There was a bands’ meeting and the information was provided to them,’’ Doyle confirmed.
Mas’ band leaders and other carnival stakeholders, in cooperation with the FMC, are planning to organize virtual events this year. The Coronavirus pandemic, both in 2020 and 2021, forced the cancellation of live in-person events, including the popular carnival street parade on Lakeshore Boulevard.
The FMC was established after the City of Toronto – citing management and financial concerns – withdrew funding for the Caribbean Cultural Committee, which has been organizing the carnival since 1967 under the trademarked name “Caribana’’.
Doyle, longtime CFO of the FMC, and chief operations officer Alexander, said they were quitting FMC to devote more time to other business ventures.
“I’m the CEO of a hospital in Trinidad and that has taken off in a phenomenal way,’’ said Doyle, who is stepping down from the FMC at the end of September.
“So, my focus is more in Trinidad, where I have been for the last three to five years. I just can’t manage more than that.’’
Alexander’s resignation takes effect from year-end, giving him more time to expand his private business in Canada and also to markets overseas.
“It’s my decision. My personal business is taking off and I want to spend some decent time doing that and to put more energy into it,’’ Alexander said in an interview.