Minister of Culture Eleston “Namba” Adams said he is standing firm on a new $50 registration fee for the Calypso and Party Monarch competitions.
“The Carnival Development Committee is not going to back away from this, and I want to say that to the artistes in the country because there is nothing wrong, and people should take pride in paying a registration fee,” Adams said yesterday.
The minister responsible for Carnival also said artistes have no right to protest the charge or to make demands in return because they are already given substantial support from the government.
Several artistes have objected to the new fee and demanded guarantees of timely reward payments in return.
But Adams said the new registration fee is no guarantee that prize monies will be paid in a particular time frame.
“I do not see why we should be tying the registration fee to the prize money. We must also bear in mind that the Carnival Development Committee has been, over the past few years, giving subsidies. The CDC could easily say today or tomorrow, ‘let us stop the subsidies,’” Adams said.
“With the challenges we are facing, we are still endeavouring to give these subsidies to the artistes and participants, but we could easily say let’s take back the subsidies,” the minister said.
Adams hinted that if calypsonians, who have expressed opposition to the fee, continue to pressure the CDC, they may end up with less than they started with.
“It’s a partnership we want to continue to develop. We don’t have to be antagonistic about this registration, but if the calypsonians want to continue along those lines we might just reduce the subsidies,” Adams warned.
In a previous interview, President of the Calypsonians Association Adelza Sheridan said her group was against the fee because it was introduced late and because they think $50 is too high.
Meanwhile, Adams said while assurances can not be given on timely payment for this year’s contenders, he says in the end, everyone will be paid.
The government has had more difficulties than usual paying Carnival participants over the past two years, with many artistes still owed for their contribution to the 2010 festival.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)