St. John’s Antigua- The Carnival Development Committee (CDC) has buckled to the demands of the Working Committee of Carnival Artistes Association, who were threatening to boycott registration for the events of the 2012 festival pending an agreement on a payment plan on when and how monies would be paid after the summer festival.
The CDC yesterday announced the institution of a three-month payment plan just days after Minister of Carnival, Eleston Adams said it was not in a position to do so.
The body has also announced new cost cutting measures methods.
This was among issues outlined by CDC Chairman Kyode O’Marde at a media briefing on Friday.
O’Marde said the body has met with all stakeholders and the Minister of Finance who has assured that the stakeholders will be paid three months after the staging of the 2012 festival.
“I did meet with the finance minister and he as indicated to us that he is willing to work towards ensuring that all the stakeholders are paid no later than 90 days after carnival is finished. We are now working on the payment plan,” O’Marde said.
O’Marde said he is confident that the relationship between the parties has been repaired through the discussions held.
He further stated that like the payment plan other changes will be made to ensure that no further burdens are placed on the Ministry of Finance.
During the meeting it was agreed that significant cuts would be made in a number of areas.
These cuts include costs for stage construction, security, marketing and a number of shows in the Carnival line-up.
Security will be handled by the Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force in conjunction with the Royal Police Force, while the Public Works Department will be asked to assist with cleaning services.
“There was a lot of spending which took place that was unnecessary that we are going to ensure that does not happen again,” O’Marde said.
He added, “Already we have made some significant cuts from the cost that had been incurred over the last few years. Off the top of my head I think we have already cut over $1 million that had been spent over the last two years, which probably could have ensured that all persons were paid at the end of Carnival.”
The chairman has also indicated that the pending changes will not affect the lineup for 2012. The only show which will be amended is the LIAT Caribbean Melting Pot.
That show will pay tribute to Sir McLean “Short Shirt” Emanuel who his celebrating 50th anniversary.
Meanwhile, despite the new developments, the General Secretary of the Working Committee of Carnival Artiste Association Anderson “King Bandit” O’Marde said the Mas associations are yet to hear from the body mandated to plan the annual summer festival.
“They should have notified us,” O’Marde said.
According to the Calypsonian the CDC sat down with the Minister of Finance to devise the payment plan but failed to meet with the individual associations.
O’Marde called this CDC’s action “disrespectful.” He said they will refuse to accept what has been laid down until they are duly informed.