The current situation with the Caribana debacle is that people involved in all areas of the arts – mas, pan and kaiso – refuse to talk with each other.
The bandleaders treat the Caribana personnel with total disrespect, they behave as though without them it’s all for naught. The calypsonians and pan men/women are of the view that if the bandleaders are not onside with the Caribana then it’s useless for them to be with Caribana.
It is my understanding that the panmen/women expressed willingness to work with Caribana, however, realizing Caribana does have the funding and the city’s refusal to grant a Parade permit, it’s basically no choice.
The impasse began when the bandleaders continuously complained both to city hall and publicly about their treatment by the Caribana personnel. The sad thing is that the city and the FMC have treated them even worse, and NOT A WORD in public.
It is hearsay that this year – 2011 – the situation between the bandleaders was so severe that the point man at city hall had to call in the former CEO/chairperson of FMC to handle the situation, because the bandleaders were ready to walk. Further, it was said that the former CEO/chairman of FMC had to tell the city’s point man to “BUTT” out of the situation or else he – former CEO/chairman – will walk.
NOT A WORD IN THE MEDIA. (If this was Caribana it would have headlined the community papers, and other mainstream papers for weeks.)
There is also hearsay that there are lawsuits filed against TMBA by bandleaders, because ONE person in particular in TMBA “throw” out bandleaders who wanted to bring a certain type of band and was refused.
It is understood the most recent past chair of Caribana held a meeting with a group of 11, seeking to form a new organization and kill Caribana.
These type of behaviours demonstrate the inability for the Caribana community to come together. Why on earth one would want to form a new organization? Caribana was formed by the dedicated men and women who thought they were bringing something of magnificence (from a Third World country) to a first world country with pride and passion. It has been said so many times how much pride is placed in this Festival by people of the Caribbean, but there are those who see this as a money making festival, those who want to show themselves up, and then those who do for the love of culture/arts with great passion.
The FMC is new to Caribana, some of the people there have NEVER been around Caribana since it has been in existence. Not that it is a requirement but they look at it as a job and treat it as such, which is fine, but they lack the sense of community, history, recognition of those who worked in the trenches for years with passion and love for the community. This where the Caribana organization fits in perfectly and should be part of the whole.
One must ask themselves, what has the FMC done differently?
Have they increased the funding? NO!
Have they increased the attendance? NO! (As a matter of fact the attendance has decreased in all events, for example, the King & Queen. This used to be astounding with 5,000 party goers having fun.)
Have they provided enhanced security to the masqueraders on the Parade? NO (As a matter of fact the security has completely diminished.)
Have they increased their revenues? (This is a secret, but we will like to know.)
Have they experienced a deficit? ABSOLUTELY. The first year, 2006, they had a deficit of over $250,000.00, and it continues.
So where is the change? Yep, there is one – PUBLIC RELATIONS. You got to give credit where credit is due; they have overwhelming positive public relations.
Lastly, one of the keys to success in life is to always try and honour your predecessors. People will always differ with each other, but it should not come down to this type of adversarial relationship. There are hundreds of people who actually do not even go to the Parade anymore, they usually have a large event at their residence and invite friends and enjoy themselves.
The downside is this (home parties) will slowly and eventually reduce the numbers on the parade route and consequently the parade will die.
There will be no one else to blame but all involved. I truly hope it will not get to that.
Bandleaders should talk with the Caribana officials. I understood the current chair of Caribana has reached out to TMBA but was scoffed at, and never had the meeting that he was seeking.
Please get together and talk this out.