$12 million has been allotted towards the second staging of the Tobago Carnival this month.
This was announced yesterday in a press release by the Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation. The island’s Carnival season will run from October 27 to 29.
This year’s Carnival will see the participation of 54 bands in the small, medium and large bands categories, it said.
The division said the $12,590,660 budget will cover subventions to interest groups, logistics, infrastructure and other related expenses for this year’s festivities.
However, the figure represents a decrease in the $17 million budget for last year’s inaugural Tobago Carnival.
The division said preparations for Tobago Carnival 2023 are in full swing, as evidenced by the recent promotional activity held in Trinidad.
The event showcased Tobago artistes alongside their Trinidadian counterparts, as well as local mas and J’Ouvert bands.
The upcoming Carnival will also boast a brand-new feature in the form of a Festival Grounds located on the Scarborough Esplanade. This festive village will highlight local calypsonians, vendors and sponsors, and will open on October 23, running throughout the season.
In addition to the Festival Grounds, there will be a Tobago Soca Titans Competition linking the October Carnival to national Carnival celebrations, a Junior Calypso Monarch contest and the TUCO Legends Showcase.
The division is in charge of coordinating Tobago’s Carnival festivities and will be supported by the Tobago Festivals Commission Ltd, Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd, and the Tobago Performing Arts Company.
It said the planning process for this year’s Carnival involved continuous and direct engagement with various stakeholders, such as local promoters, cultural and mas stakeholders, and the police.
Secretary of the Division, Tashia Burris, said she was satisfied with the level of stakeholder engagement and the open, facilitating environment created during planning.
She said she is looking forward to the success of the season and ensuring that all visitors and residents have a safe and enjoyable Carnival.
And although the budget was released later than stakeholders expected, interim president of the Tobago October Carnival Association, Dexter Sandy, said his members remain optimistic that the event will still be a success.
“It gives us hope because it speaks about the subventions to the different interest groups. The estimated spend is just about the actual spend that they did last year. We only hope they spend it in critical areas that will benefit the mas,” Sandy said.