The Caribana stamp competition

front page pic 2

We are extremely surprised at the responses which are receiving to our announcement last week of the competition for the design of a postage stamp to commemorate  the  50th anniversary of Caribana, the Trinidad-style carnival in Toronto.

Never did we imagine that this  competition would excite such great interest from so many people outside the Greater Toronto Area who read The Caribbean Camera online.

In fact we have to admit that the enthusiastic response to the competition is causing us some embarrassment.

For  it further  heightens our concern about this cultural extravaganza. It is now less than a year before the carnival is due to hit the streets and there is an eerie silence about what we can expect  for its  golden anniversary.

So far, no great plans have been unveiled. Nothing to write home about – except of course, plans  for the design of the postage stamp. Ironically, one carnival bandleader who is widely known for his major mas’ presentations, has  expressed an interest in entering the Caribana stamp design competition.

Is it possible that there could be a  stamp to commemorate an event which does  not take place? We certainly hope that this will not happen.

But mas’ aficionados are getting  impatient as they await word about Caribana 2017.

We  understand that things are happening  ” behind the scenes” to make the event possible. Our usually reliable sources tell us that there are many things to sorted out before the way is clear for Caribana 2017. But will they be sorted out in time?

Many mas’ aficionados tell us that they still do not  know who will run the festival   in 2017.

Will it be the Festival Management Committee which has been running what  has come to be known as the Toronto Carnival for the last ten years? Or will it be the Caribana Arts Group (CAG) which claims to own the “Caribana” name and has the unenviable task of getting things sorted out?

We know that there is a membership meeting of the CAG planned for Saturday and we look forward to some positive news about Caribana 2017 soon after the meeting.

Of course, we do not expect to receive an official press release from the CAG after the meeting. The CAG is not in the habit of issuing press releases and we have not been able to get an interview with the chairman or any other executive official. We may have to depend once more on our usually reliable sources to find out what  happened at the meeting.

We also note with concern that not all the reactions from the announcement of our  stamp design competition has been positive.

Some naysayers would have us believe that no one but the CAG should have organized the stamp competition. We beg to differ. We do not believe that the CAG has the monopoly on creative ideas though we gladly would have discussed the  stamp competition with someone from its executive. However. we have not been able to communicate with the chairman or vice chairman  in the normal course of our day-to-day business.

Of course, if the CAG is willing to put up the one thousand dollar prize money and run the competition, it is free to do so.

We would also like the naysayers to know that if Canada Post agrees to issue a commemorate stamp based on the design from the winner of the competition, Canada Post – not the Caribbean Camera – will be selling the stamps.

When we came up with the idea for the competition, we did not see it as a money making idea for the paper. We saw it as a way of promoting an important part of our cultural heritage.

We are happy to note that many of our readers agree.