There is continuous talk about what has happened to Caribana. Why have the Caribbean people sold out their jewel for naught? How could they develop a creature of delight in Toronto and let it be controlled by people who don’t understand the intricate undertaking that was the foundation?
We now have in our midst a major bank fronting a festival that denies Caribbean people substance.
When one reads of the bank’s profit for their third quarter ($2.05 billion), you would want to believe that in stepping forward to engage themselves in a cultural program they would complement and deliver more to the culture, not less. When the board members of the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC) struggled over the years with the gigantic festival, there was continuous talk of disrespect and a loss of credibility every year. There seemingly was never enough money to go around after such a grand celebration.
As a result of the stakeholders’ (the bandleaders) unhappiness with the CCC administrators, the stage was set for the City of Toronto to take control of the festival. Then came the bank. If the city and the bank are the sole administrators of the festival, then compensation must be paid to the founders of Caribana.
The founding organization, and the fiduciary body, the bandleaders, should be compensated. In addition, my beautiful sisters and daughters who are parading themselves on the streets, paying top dollars for costumes, should also be compensated.
The city, major corporations, you name them, from the telephone companies, ice maker, food suppliers, clothing industry, hotels, parking, transportation, television; the media, the renting of musical equipment…over $450 million is spent in the city during the festival.
My question: what is the Black community getting from their jewel? Why do the costume paraders have to pay for their outfits, then go and burn in the sun for naught? Drastic changes have to be made before the next festival.
All the stakeholders need to sit in an atmosphere of respect and understanding. They need to realize that the “quiet” African-Canadians are not silent because they are afraid. They are quiet because they believe in respect and democracy. They believe in honesty in their approach to business decisions.
They know that the festival, call it whatever name you want, is of the Caribbean, as a fundamental giving to Canada, and as such, it must remain in the hands of Caribbean people. Many Caribbean giants sacrificed their time and money to create this festival and it must be respected.
Partner with others? Yes, but it must be run as a membership organization with the understanding that the creators of this jewel, if it is taken over by any other organizations, should be financially compensated for its contribution to the city. The paraders should be paid.
After the parade, where is the profit going? Who is really benefiting from the parade within the African-Canadian community? Much more should be given back. Clearly, something is missing. All stakeholders should work together for the building and celebrating of the jewel that is “Caribana”.
For the powers that be that think the quiet African-Canadians are not watching, be it known now, we are. The gifts which derive from justice are greater than those that spring from charity.