Senator Randall Mitchell Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts

The first tranche of 348 cheques for the Cultural Relief Grant has been made ready for artistes and creatives.

Newly-appointed Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell presented one of the first cheques of $5000 to calypsonian Singing Sonia (Sonia Francis) at the Lord Kitchener Auditorium of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on Tuesday.

In presenting the cheque, Mitchell emphasised the renewed focus by the government on the sector through the new Ministry.

“COVID-19 has severely hit our tourism and cultural industries both locally and internationally. Several carnivals, sporting activities and traditional tourist attractions have had to temporarily halt operations. This calls for a complete re-think and re-engineering of how we do business and deliver in both closely aligned sectors as we adapt to this new normal. Trinidad and Tobago is a country whose festivals and arts, uniquely defines this cultural melting pot and as such our artistes and creatives must be supported as part of the architecture of brand T&T,” he said.

Launched on July 10, 2020, the Cultural Relief Grant is a one-off compassionate Emergency Relief Grant to artistes and creatives, who lost income due to cancelled exhibitions, classes, conferences, workshops and other cultural related events, as a result of the measures undertaken by the Government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As of August 21, some 897 applications were received by the Ministry.

The grant is one of three initiatives approved by Cabinet to support the cultural sector. The second is a 50 per cent reduction in rental cost of all state-owned performing spaces until December 31, and thirdly artistes and creatives can also access the government-sponsored SME Stimulus Loan Facility.