Where is the carnival heading ?


Where is the carnival heading ?

First we learned that Richard de Lima, the Chief Executive Officer of the Festival Management Corporation (FMC) which runs the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, was on “administrative leave.”

Shortly afterwards. we were told by a highly placed FMC official that “Richard de Lima is no longer with us.”

What happened?

Did he go to heaven?

We think not.

Not yet. anyway.

But was de Lima fired? Dismissed? Sacked?

Well, on the weekend we were able to reach de Lima himself and he  told us that his two-year contract was terminated.

He had been  on  the job just for six months.

What led to this early termination of his contract? Neither de Lima nor the FMC  could enlighten us on this matter.

De Lima said that his mouth is zipped for the time being.

We believe that the FMC which receives government funding, should offer some explanation for the “termination” of its CEO.

The information void with respect to this matter has already led to wild speculation about FMC’s operations and there should be a clearing of the air.

Before  Geraldine Stafford became president  of the  Caribana Arts Group (CAG) earlier this year, we had cause to criticize that organization for conducting its business as a “secret society.”

Little did we think that we would have  to complain about an information void in the FMC.

Of course, there are many in our mas’ playing community who couldn’t care less whether the FMC has a CEO or is operating ‘on automatic.’

But there are many others, including members of the CAG, who are deeply concerned about where the Toronto Caribbean carnival is heading and who is really ” at the controls.”

From our discussions with de Lima who is certainly no stranger to the Carnival arts, we  were led to believe that the Trinidad-born engineer’s heart was in the right place with respect to moving the festival forward.

Recently, he spoke with great enthusiasm about “profound and significant ” changes which were underway and which he believed   would positively impact this year’s Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

He  promised that the 2019 carnival “will feature a new look, a new feel, and entirely new experiences for its line-up of events.”

And we were looking forward to major developments in the carnival under his leadership.

Will his plans ever come to fruition now that he is no longer in charge?

We were told by an FMC official that the position of CEO will be remain vacant until after this year’s carnival and that in the interim, members of the FMC’s governance committee will take over the responsibilities of the CEO.

Not good enough.

At  this time when the FMC  is experiencing money problems with funding cuts and lack of major sponsors,  the stakeholders of the Carnival need to have confidence that the FMC is  heading in the right direction.

It cannot be heading in the right direction when it cannot get its house in order.

Not only should it clear the air about the de Lima matter but it should start working towards its own finncial independence and not have to wait on government funding for its survival.

Whatever happened to its marketing plan?

Is that, like the information  about the de Lima “termination” another big secret.

After more than 50 years on the road, the carnival should know where it is heading.