ALL calypso events in Tobago have been postponed until further notice.
This is due to a lack of funding from the Tobago Festivals Commission, according to president of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tobago) Ainsley King.
King was speaking yesterday during a press conference at his office in Scarborough to announce his dissatisfaction with the Commission.
King said TUCO Tobago had no choice but to postpone calypso events as it claimed that the previously agreed to $1.3 million by the Festivals Commission was reduced to $800,000 which was insufficient for the staging of this year’s festival.
He said he was looking at having events during Easter once the issue is resolved.
King called for an investigation to be launched into the Tobago Festivals Commission.
He said TUCO Tobago was still owing for events from 2019, and $800,000 will not be enough to hold calypso events in 2020.
King said he will wait for recently-elected PNM Tobago Council political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine to have discussions with her as an option.
He alleged that the Festivals Commission has been doing business without any kind of documentation for six years.
Support for TUCO
Contacted for comment on the matter yesterday, THA Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips said funding of $800,000 was available for TUCO to manage its calypso events, consistent with what it received last year.
“Furthermore the division has also funded five community calypso tents not affiliated with TUCO, as is customary every year, to assist in their events as well. Additionally the division provided support to the junior calypso finalists who journeyed to Trinidad last week to compete as they reached out directly to the division citing that TUCO indicated to them they have no money. “Calypsonians from Tobago who competed in last Saturday’s Calypso Fiesta in Trinidad were also given assistance from the division once they wrote requesting such. So the decision to cancel their events rests solely with TUCO,” Stewart-Phillips said.
In a statement, the Tobago Festivals Commission reiterated that the only funds made available to it for calypso by way of Executive Council Note and Minute was the sum of $800,000.