By LENNOX FARRELL
During Caribana, Toronto’s Finest – on, and off-duty – plus the privately paid Security, garbage clean-up etcetera, etcetera, are annually and collectively guaranteed payments at least one to two hundred per cent more than the dole shelled out to the ‘stakeholders’.
Why? Among other things is their ability to tag-team the festival to their benefit. For example, the City will not issue the festival proclamation if there is no certificate ensuring public safety. The police provide this certificate. However, the police will not provide this if, in their estimation, there isn’t also adequate paid security and by firms of which they approve. And probably also license.
In short, no privately paid security, no police certificate. No police certificate, no Caribana. It is a seamless relationship between these players. Also, regarding the cleanup, the greater the number of people who attend the festival, bringing more money to Toronto, the higher is Caribana’s cleanup bill.
Even the police horses share in this bounty. Not only with the ‘dasheen’ oats and ‘saltfish’ hay they nyam down, but also for what they deposit behind them, adding to Caribana’s cleanup costs. During Caribana are there more horses’ as*es around than horses? Yuh tink it easy?
Everybody able to, makes a hustle on Caribana’s back, this Black ‘strumpet’ of a festival, meanwhile cussin’ her vile every which way. Except, now bleached more blond than nappy, she is multicultural. Until some police disturbance and everybody on talk radio knows Caribana’s Black as five-past midnight.
Except one councillor who said, ‘Caribana is not Black.’ Except, too, those in power who extol the virtues of multiculturalism but do not practise it. Check the monochromatic majority of elected councillors. And their hired political staff. I have nothing against multiculturalism except when used as a hypocritical doctrine preached by the powerful to the vulnerable; a sop to the Cerberus of toxic anti-Black racism.
It is important, too, to underline the related points, following:
One is that the more our community knows of the internal realities faced in running this billion-dollar corporation by volunteers taking vacation time not to take vacation but to take on Caribana’s heavy burdens, the more supportive they will be of our efforts.
By comparison, consider how absurd it would be, while using volunteers, borrowed equipment in squalid, rented quarters and part-time staff to successfully run a corporation the size of Purolator whose annual international earnings equal what Caribana brings Toronto within a two-week span. In other words, what is absurd for others is considered acceptable for us.
“Oh, Caribana must be weaned off the City and public funding!”
“Excuse me? Whose billion dollar tits have been pumped for four decades? Gnawing on scraps?”
Another point to consider is the impact ‘stakeholders’, particularly the mas’ bandleaders, have had on Caribana. Today, they’re quiet as church mice; not the roaring lions they used to be against Caribana. Power has leverage; vulnerability has blame. And how many of them publicly acknowledge the African origins of carnival? One without which they’d not have the prestige they now profit by. Even police chiefs have publicly acknowledged the benefits that Black people bring to Toronto. Maybe that’s why they’re paid more for Caribana.
Has the City, unlike the Black community volunteers, been able to demand from the ‘stakeholders’ loyalty by contract? They will argue that they are now being paid on time. And why not? The City is not under the financial and infrastructural constraints, using volunteers the way Caribana had to.
The City now also boasts annual audits. Luminato could make the same claim. Had Caribana likewise had the means, they could also have hired a reputable accounting firm to manage their books. In addition, isn’t the FMC staff not secure with better salaries, deservedly so? Ensconced in better digs and with up to date equipment? Has the City now seen the light on the efficacy of paid staff versus volunteerism?
The final point is that while City reps and some ‘stakeholders’ consider Caribana to be anything but Black, they nonetheless know this fight will be won, only if they succeed in controlling the hearts and minds, not of communities which are Chinese, or Indians, or Portuguese, or Syrians, but Black.
They might think they know us. And that inevitability and history are on their side. But we, as a people, are seismic. We have changed history. We have made the inevitable the unattainable. We can do so again. We must contact ASAP, Mayor Ford, Premier McGuinty, the President of Scotiabank and, as well, our elected public officials, plus the media, print and electronic, in and out our community demanding the return of the historic Caribana name to our 44-year-old carnival on the Emancipation Simcoe Day weekend in August.
And attending in democratic numbers at City Hall on July 12 for Councillor Joe Mihevc’s launch of Caribana’s carnival, without Caribana!