Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 21, 2017(SKNIS)—Chairman of the National Carnival Committee, Noah Mills, has thanked the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for reposing confidence in the committee when it first took charge of carnival in 2015. Mills noted that his committee had to contend with several shortcomings when it assumed the responsibility of organizing the festivities, including the lack of a proper financial structure with no budget and the need to develop infrastructure.
Speaking on the “Working for You” Radio and Television Programme on January 18, Mr. Mills said that when he took up the mantle of Carnival chairman, there was no budget in place and they had to scramble to create one in a short space of time before any planning could be done.
“We struggled at the start, being installed in September, having to contact a number of service suppliers and asking kindly to send in quotes for us to put (together) a budget. Now in October, on the 20th to be precise of 2015, we were able to submit, what we were being told, if not the first, the first in a very, very long time, a budget for Sugar Mas 44 at the time,” Mills said. He profusely thanked the government for trusting the Carnival Committee to organize the event on a limited budget and within a short time period. Additionally, Mr. Mills and his team met several outstanding bills to be paid dating back to nine months prior to their arrival. He said those bills were in excess of $70, 000.
In the end, Mr. Mills noted that the budget to execute their first carnival in 2015 was about $4.5 million, which included developing an infrastructure to host the events, since the Carnival Village needed preparation.
“The first budget that we would have submitted back then in 2015 was about $4.5 million and we were able to deliver carnival for about 90 percent of that,” he said, adding that it included marketing, prize-giving and developing infrastructure to host carnival outside of the Carnival Village.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mills said the guidelines, rules and regulations governing Carnival events had to be revised. Last year, for example, he said the Carnival Committee introduced Article 6 in the rules and regulations governing the calypso and soca competitions, which pertained to protecting intellectual property rights, which was rejected by the calypsonians but accepted by the soca artists.
In relation to judging, Mr. Mills disclosed that electronic scoring was introduced to help speed-up the scoring process in the judging of competitions.
“It has been some time since the models for rules and regulations and policy statements have been revised and we had to delve into that,” he said. “Sugar Mas 45 has gone by and with the insight provided by stakeholders, we again will go back and look at these guidelines.”