We view with disappointment and dismay recent statements by the new Minister of The Arts and Multiculturalism, The Honourable Dr. Lincoln Douglas, about (1) Carnival and (2) meetings and proposals from us. Whilst we seek no war of words or anything else, it forces us to make this response.
In the first instance, we reserve comment on the “privatization of Carnival” and stand ready to discuss it as soon as he explains what he means. We do not accept that the statement was made to initiate discouse and we do not expect such an educated person, new to the job, before familiarizing himself with the intricacies of his portfolio, would choose this option to begin discussion on a matter so sensitive.
Secondly, on a morning television interview, the goodly Minister alluded to meeting with a wide range of groups, including us, only two of which (named) brought any proposals.
Regrettably, he has misrepresented the tenor if the meetings, at least those called with us (Pan Trinbago, TUCO, NCBA) and we wish to state categorically that we were called at short notice for a meeting of introduction to the new Minister.
The Presidents only were invited but we attended with other members of our respective executives, and indicated the need for a longer meeting to make our respective presentations. It is passing strange that the Minister should speak of bringing the elements of Carnival together when he does not take the time or opportunity to hold a meeting with representatives of these elements as a group. Dr. Douglas has started his term of office making the same error as his predecessor,that is, making uninformed statements and attacking the cultural bodies. Ministers come and Ministers go, but cultures of the people go on. Pan, calypso and Mas, we have seen many. Our interest is, and continues to be the survival, continuation and propagation of our culture in an ever changing internal and external environment. To this end, we are prepared to hold talks, enter into meaningful dialogue, and execute plans, programmes and events, with any entity of like mind and purpose.
As an elected representative of the people of Lopinot/Bon Air West, Dr. Douglas requires a certain respect, as the elected representatives of the three main branches of Carnival, we expect nothing less.
Pan Trinbago, Trinbago Unified Calysponians Organization (TUCO) and National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA)