by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Concern expressed over X’Nova’s costumes debacle and effect to image of Grenada’s carnival product
- Postmortem to look at Junior Calypso Monarch Semifinals and poor turnout due to clash between events held on same day
Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture and the Arts, Senator Norland Cox has expressed concern over what transpired during the carnival season regarding the failure of X’Nova’s inability to deliver carnival costumes on time.
Those who spent nearly US$600 for fancy mas costume with X’Nova, were sadly disappointed when they did not get their costumes on days scheduled for pick up at the mas camp in the Bruce Street Mall in St George’s.
Masqueraders were also very displeased with the lack of communications and professionalism from various band members over the incident.
The circumstances surrounding what transpired is the subject of an investigation by the Ministry of Culture. Senator Cox, at Wednesday’s post-cabinet briefing, said his ministry is very much concerned about the effect to the image of Grenada’s carnival product. “While one band situation has been worse, I think that there were several bands that had some challenges, and even based on reports, even locals as well had some challenges. What was the reason? We are still trying to ascertain all the information. While those bands are non-competing bands, they are part of the carnival product and of course, that is a concern for us. In terms of having that negative image of Grenada having a carnival and having mas bands not delivering on their product, I think that is something serious and we are going to see how we can address that.”
Senator Cox admitted that this situation has not been looked at before but it will definitely receive attention due to the risk to Grenada’s carnival product. “That will be one of the issues that we will be looking at about the postmortem level. We have not looked at it before, but it is a critical area of risk for our product and we have to do something about it. As to how people are going to retrieve their money, I don’t know.”
Another issue to be discussed at the ministerial level during the carnival postmortem relates to the Junior Calypso Monarch Semifinals 2019 which was staged for the first time reintegrated into the Children’s Carnival Frolic. According to Minister Cox, prior to this year, there were no semifinals for the Junior Calypso Monarch since finalists were chosen based on the quality of their contribution to compete in the finals. There were some issues that arose including publicly expressed concerns by two parents regarding the nonpayment of an appearance fee for the children competing. The parents were televised questioning the decision of Spicemas Corporation CEO Kelvin Jacob informing them after the competition that Spicemas would not be paying an appearance fee.
Other concerns included the lack of preparedness and facilities at the venue to host the show. In that report, it was stated that Jacob responded that the nonpayment of appearance fees for the semifinals was conveyed to the organisers.
As parents were calling Jacob’s action or, in some cases his inaction, as a blatant disregard for the future calypsonians, Minister Cox defended the Spicemas CEO stating that it was the foresight of the new CEO to have the semifinals round of the competition, a clear indication of his commitment to the development of the junior calypsonians. “It is quite unfortunate that they had this expectation when in truth and in fact that there was no intention for that to happen. We are feeling a bit bad that was communicated and it made it seem that Spicemas is creating some unfair treatment to the juniors and that is not the case. I empathise with the parents… but we haven’t made a decision on that because that is not an item that we would have costed and budgeted for and so it’s a bit unfortunate. If that was an issue raised before, then that was something we could have addressed [it].”
The culture minister reminded parents that a decision was taken in the interest of the juniors to increase the prize monies, especially for the first prize winner, which worked out to be much more than the 10-15% increase for the seniors.
The poor turnout for the semifinals for the Junior Calypso Monarch was another concern that will be looked into during the carnival postmortem.
Minister Cox explained that the low turnout was as a result of a clash between another children’s event held at Morne Rouge on the same day as the semifinals. He said that too must be looked into whether or not the semifinals for the Junior Calypso Monarch can continue or whether it can be staged at a different date.