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Ambrose appeals to Government to help clear CDC debt

Ambrose appeals to Government to help clear CDC debt

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An appeal is being sent to the Government to help the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) out of a $250,000 deficit.

At a press conference on Tuesday, chair of the CDC Dennis Ambrose said the CDC is making every effort to deal with the situation, while waiting on word from Government.{{more}}

He told reporters that he is unable to give a definite time when funds will be made available to clear the deficit which accumulated during Vincy Mas 2013.

“…We are making every effort and hopefully before the start of Vincy Mas, we would be able to take care of that…We are still struggling to clear some deficits from 2013. Let us not lose sight of the fact that the general cost of doing business continues to rise worldwide, just as the cost of undertaking any project. It cannot and does not cost the same as it did 10 or even five years ago,” Ambrose said at the press conference.

According to the CDC chair, the situation of the CDC needs to be better appreciated by all parties concerned.

“The world’s billionaires will tell you that it takes money to make money. We can’t expect to get the same quality and quantity in the year 2013 or 2014 as you got back in 1998 or 2008 for the same price,” he added.

Ambrose said with Carnival being highly competitive across the region, countries are using the same type of festival to bring visitors and businesses to their shores.

“We must do the same and do it better. Vincy Mas has set the pace for its neighbours. We are at the forefront and it is our hope that we can continue with our stride to stay ahead of the pack,” he stated.

Ambrose hastened to state that the financial records of the Corporation are up-to-date and fully audited.

“In spite of all that, I am pleased to say that the spirit of the event of the launching was highly preserved and the resolve that was shown by the CDC to continue to embrace and showcase our Vincy Mas products was unrelenting,” Ambrose said.

In an interview on Wednesday, Ambrose told SEARCHLIGHT that while the CDC would like to enhance aspects of the annual event, they operate on a “very tight” budget.

“We can’t afford to do it because of the limited budget we have. The funds that we get for Carnival are government subvention, the National Lotteries contribution and other sponsors, which are very limited,” Ambrose said.

Ambrose said a 10 per cent increase in prizes was introduced during Carnival 2013, but despite this, the subvention from the government was not increased.

“Obviously, if that does not increase and you give a 10 per cent increase, that will more or less impact on the money we had…. Sponsorship wasn’t more than what it was in the previous year. As we know, prices don’t remain the same all the time and operating cost keeps escalating…,” Ambrose stated.

“We have made the appeal to government to help us clear the deficit. This is where we get our subvention from. We are now awaiting the outcome of that,” Ambrose said.

On June 27, 2012, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking on Star Radio said “… I think there can be a reasonable expectation that next year, we are going to see an increase in prize monies.”

Gonsalves made the comment after appealing to soca artistes Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle and Delroy “Fireman” Hooper to take part in the 2012 Soca Monarch show, after it had been reported that the two artistes had decided not to participate in the 2012 event because of a dispute with the CDC over prize money.

In 2012, the excise duties on alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco and motor vehicles were increased. While addressing Parliament, the Prime Minister had said that the revenue derived from the increase in the excise tax on alcoholic beverages would be used to provide support for the annual festival.

Ambrose also noted that the CDC has not been extravagant in their spending, saying that over the past three years, they have not brought in a foreign artiste to perform at any of their shows.

“That is just to try and curb the expenses. We have been using all of our local talent and that has helped curb expenses. I don’t see much more we can do, unless we cut out some of the activities,” Ambrose continued.

Describing Carnival as a package, Ambrose stated that while there are profitable shows, they can’t get rid of the ones that do not make a profit.

“The non-profitable shows are what will be there for Carnival. I can’t cut out the calypso semi-finals because it doesn’t make money. I can’t cut out Dimache Gras because it doesn’t make money. I can’t cut out Mardi Gras because it doesn’t make money. I can’t cut out pan. Pan shows don’t make money. If I eliminate all of those, we don’t have a Carnival,” he stated.

Ambrose disclosed that for Senior Panorama alone, the CDC pays out well over $130,000 in prizes and close to $400,000 for Mas.

“We gave a 10 percent increase to the winners of all the components. The components hadn’t had an increase in prize monies in over eight years. Persons were performing for the same prizes over the years as materials and workmanship escalated. So, obviously, their demand was not excessive,” he added.

“When you look at it, you will see about 14 bands and about 8,000 persons playing Mas, but when you look in the Park at Mardi Gras, most people are on the streets and not at the Park. So the dance can’t really pay for the light here. What should I do? Cut out Mardi Gras?” Ambrose questioned.

He said the shows that make a profit help to subsidise the other shows that don’t make money.

“It also depends on what we make at the gate. CDC is a corporation that runs all year round. We are involved in other aspects of culture… That does not bring in any major earning. The only other earning we have is the rental of our stage outside of Carnival,” Ambrose said.

Vincy Mas 2014 was officially launched on May 3 at the Solidarity Inc Car Park.

The first official show on the calendar of events is the Miss SVG pageant, slated for May 31, at the Victoria Park. (KW)

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