St. John’s Antigua- The Carnival Development Committee (CDC) is not in a position to agree to any payment plan for artistes participating in this year’s Carnival festivities as demanded by the group called the Working Committee of Carnival Artistes Association.
Minister responsible for Carnival Eleston Adams told OBSERVER Media said while CDC and the group can continue to meet and have discussions, it would make no difference because only government can determine whether such a demand can and would be met.
The group was formed in recent weeks and it has been urging members to boycott registration for the events of the 2012 festivity, pending an agreement on a payment plan on when and how monies would be paid after the summer festival.
“Monies are not in place as readily as they would like. I have no issue with the artistes wanting their money but if they say it is a partnership between the CDC and government and themselves, I think they need to act in that manner. The CDC cannot pay unless it gets the money from the consolidated funds. If the government is not able to pay in a timely manner, CDC cannot pay and of course the minister cannot be involved in paying any money either,” Minister Adams said.
He said he has no problem with the artistes forming a committee but asked that they show “understanding” of the fact government has financial troubles and there is no certainty of what the economy would be like after Carnival.
Many of the artistes who participated in Carnival 2011 were only paid a few weeks ago and according to Minister Adams, about $300,000 is still outstanding to Mas makers.
“We regret they have not been paid their money in a timely manner. We would like a situation where as soon as the competition is over they are paid. I am not saying they should not agitate for their payments but they should try and understand,” Adams said.
For the past three years, artistes have had the same experience with delayed payments for their work and prize monies.