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Winners 2019: Nishard Mayrhoo and Neval Chatelal during their winning performance titled "Fyah"at the Chutney Monarch Finals at Skinner Park, San Fernando.

Over $10M in Cultural Relief Grants were distributed to local artistes and creatives just in time for Christmas.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, $5000 one time payments were given to those who lost income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of these artistes included Chutney singer, Nishard Mayrhoo otherwise known as Nishard M, Soca artiste Kimba Sorzano and musician Vaughnette Bigford.

According to Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Randall Mitchell: “The Government through the Cabinet took a decision to extend a helping hand to this sector. We understood the impact of the pandemic on those individuals involved in culture and the arts, and we felt it was important to be compassionate during this difficult period.”

Mayrhoo said: “This year has been especially difficult for persons in the creative industry as revenue streams have almost dried up.” The Grant, he said, helped artistes like himself.

He described the application process as surprisingly easy and straightforward and encouraged others who qualify for the grant to apply and access it.

Comedian and entertainer, Kess Ramsey also received a grant and urged others in his industry to ‘capitalize on this opportunity’.

Sorzano said: “I will urge every artiste to reach out and utilise this opportunity, even if it is to pivot.”

He added that though it was a small sum, he was grateful for the assistance.

Bigford also said it has been a difficult time for creatives but was also grateful to the Government for the assistance. According to the release, “To date 2,152 persons received the Cultural Relief Grant, while an additional 520 persons have been approved and are awaiting their grant cheques. This will increase the total disbursement to date to over $13M. Applications have been received from an additional 550 artistes and creatives and are currently being processed. GoRTT approved and allocated a maximum of $25M for disbursement under this relief measure.”

Deadline for recipient to collect their grants have been extended to December 31.

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