Transparency Needed In Gov’t Funding

Transparency Needed In Gov’t Funding

The 103FM Editorial 04 01 18

Lets say at the outset that we strongly support the Chutney Soca Monarch competition and its producers, George Singh and SouthEx Promotions.

In our capacity as “Official Station” we have supported their many efforts at promoting the art form, which is undoubtedly the main local component of Indian music in Trinidad and Tobago. And of course, 103FM as the number one Indian formatted music radio station in this country will continue its support.

Last Sunday, in response to government’s further reduction of its contribution to Carnival Show promoters Mr. Singh struck out, cried foul, and discrimination , claiming that his Chutney Soca Competition will get this year LESS than a million dollars, while last year the Calypso/Soca Monarch show received some 66% more of government funding. Singh asked “why is there no equality in this country where every creed and race is supposed to have an equal place”.

Singh is an intelligent man, and a gentle one at that. So we’re surprised that he has reacted with talk of race and discrimination, rather than call for an explanation and clarification of the rationale for cash disbursements to the various promoters and organisations, whether it be for Carnival, Divali, Emancipation, Indian Arrival or any of the many other celebrations and observances, prolific in our multi-cultural landscape.

The SouthEX promoter notes that the biggest beneficiaries are as usual, the Steelbands, Calypsonians and Carnival Bands associations. In the traditional context of Carnival being a national festival, there should be no disputing that those associations are inherently about Carnival, and warrant bigger consideration.

But next, lets put on the carnival screen, Chutney and Soca and invite SouthEx and anyone one else, to sincerely and seriously claim that Chutney is on an equally relevant and naturally traditional footing as Soca is to Carnival, the national festival.

For sure, Chutney has become a popular part of the carnival scene, but no way has it yet become an equal to any of the other forms of Carnival music described. We don’t know for sure, but we do feel that this may be one of the guiding principles used by governments in determining the size of contributions given. Thats why we suggest that all promoters ask for clarification. We here at 103 support this approach. Because for example, the unfortunate cry of discrimination is far too often applied to all our various manifestations of grace and favour depending on which government, PNM or UNC holds the purse strings. Its long past time for us as worthy nationals to look beyond race on each and every occasion, and instead, look at reality.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, and we’ve said this in previous editorials, we do not support government grants to private promoters for private shows. But if we’re going to stay with this unnecessary use of public or taxpayers money, then lets get it right and transparent, so that all reasonable people will at least understand if not agree.

Web Master

January 4th, 2018

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