Resetting the vision


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.