All Tuco Tobago Calypso Competitions have been postponed until further notice.
Tuco Tobago president Ainsley King, speaking at a news conference yesterday morning, said they received information from former CEO of the Tobago Festivals Commission board, Dr Suzanne Burke, that they would be allocated $1.3 million for 2020, but after her resignation, the figure was reduced to $800,000.
“The $800,000 is not sufficient, because our prize structure is like five hundred and something thousand dollars leaving us with like $200,000. We have the Tobago Monarch to deal with, we have the Windward Monarch to deal with and we also have the Junior Monarch,” he said.
“The acting chair or the assistant chair of the Festivals Commission, a week or so ago, declared that the $800,000 is for 30 calypsonians. This is not so and hence the reason we were forced yesterday to call an emergency executive meeting and coming out of that meeting we decided that we will not be able to stage the competition.”
King said the Tobago Festivals Commission and its director George Leacock have failed Carnival in Tobago. He said Tuco plans to engage in negotiations and are hoping the calypso competitions can be held later this year
“So what we did, we postponed for a later date. We are looking at around Easter and we postponed it pending negotiations. We are looking to get into negotiations with the new regime of the PNM, hopefully, good sense and reasoning will prevail and we will come up with some solutions,” he said.
The Tuco Tobago president said they are also examining their legal options.
In 2019, Tuco Tobago took the Tobago House of Assembly and the Tobago Festivals Commission to court over financing issues.
They were eventually granted $800,000 to conduct their activities, but King said that amount is insufficient as they owe individuals and suppliers for services in 2019.
King said the calypsonians were not in agreement for a scaled-down event to be held since there is a set prize structure in place.