Minister: Carnival prizes in two weeks

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Culture Minister Eleston Adams has given the clearest indication yet of when victorious Carnival contenders will get their prize monies, promising the payout in a matter of weeks.

The ministries of culture and finance and the Carnival Development Committee (CDC) have worried for months about where to get in excess of EC $300,000 for 2011 Carnival winners.

Adams told OBSERVER Media, “I don’t want to make a final determination but I believe that within the next week or two, we will clear the prize monies.”

The minister said the payments to be made in the next few weeks will be in excess of EC $90,000 to mas’ makers only. Payments to other service providers, he said, would be available after prize payments are issued.

Adams said he had confidence in the new chairman of the CDC, who has set out to ensure “that they pay everybody for this Carnival.

“That is a commendable aspiration and I want that to happen too,” he added.

In April, the CDC announced a three-month payment plan after its debtors made vocal their concerns.

The Carnival body also announced cost-cutting measures to include reduced costs for stage construction, security and marketing.

According to Minister Adams, the financial woes facing the country are not expected to take away from the beauty of the summer festival.

He said patrons are prepared to make the event one of the best ever.

“People are ready to go. There are so many people even if they are not paid they are excited and they will do nothing to jeopardize our Carnival,” Adams added.

Despite payment issues, organisers have moved ahead with a media launch for Carnival and several costumes bands have already launched their 2012 Carnival presentations.