Anti-Black racism affecting Caribana funding

Dear Editor:

The news of the $12 million grant that was given by the Government of Ontario to the organizers of Bollywood’s International Indian Film Academy clearly demonstrates that Caribana doesn’t only suffers from cultural racism when its comes to funding from the different levels of government and the private sector. It is actually anti-Black racism, which determines the funding predicament of the Caribbean festival.

How is it possible for the government of Ontario to only give Caribana an annual sum of $400,000, while this festival generates over $400 million of economic activity in Canada?

The Bollywood festival will inject an estimated $26-$30 million into the local economy.

According to an Ipsos Reid study of Caribana’s contribution, the Government of Ontario took in an estimated $85.9 million in taxes and about 5,600 jobs were generated in Toronto from the 2009 festival.

In April 2008, the Government of Ontario gave $15 million to the White-controlled and directed Luminato festival “to promote future growth”. The provincial government made the claim in a press release that Luminato provides $78 million in economic impact in Ontario and attracts over one million visitors. In 2009, Caribana pumped $396 million into the provincial economy and its 284,608 overseas visitors had a per capita spending of $901.87.

How does one explain away the meagre funding to the biggest and most lucrative festival in Canada?

My fellow citizens, after a deep and balanced consideration of the facts, I am compelled to declare that anti-Black racism is the source of the seemingly inexplicable and discriminatory manner in which the annual Caribbean festival is funded by the Government of Ontario.


Ajamu Nangwaya

Toronto, Ontario

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