Over $10 million in Cultural Relief Grants has been given to 2,152 artistes and creatives following the slowdown of the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is according to a media release from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts.
It says there are an additional 520 approved applications to be paid and 550 more still being processed.
Cabinet had approved the grant as a one-off payment of $5,000 aimed at providing financial assistance to members of the cultural and arts sector who lost income because of the health and safety measures introduced by the Government to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said, “The Government through the Cabinet took a decision to extend a helping hand to this sector. We understood the impact of the pandemic on those individuals involved in culture and the arts, and we felt it was important to be compassionate during this difficult period.”
The ministry stated that an additional 550 applications were received and were currently being processed.
The Government had approved and allocated a maximum of $25 million for the relief.
Chutney artiste Nishard Mayrhoo who received the grant said, “This year has been especially difficult for persons in the creative industry as revenue streams have almost dried up.”
He described the application process as surprisingly easy and straightforward and encouraged others who qualify for the grant to apply and access it.
Comedian, entertainer and events host, Kess Ramsey also said, “It isn’t that difficult to apply for, you get the form online, you fill out all the information and if you’re missing something, they call you and remind you to get it.”
Soca artiste Kimba Sorzano said even though it was a small sum, he was grateful because it helped him. Musician Vaughnette Bigford also urged artistes to apply.
The Ministry reminds that the deadline for grant applications has been extended to Thursday 31st December 2020.
Collection points and drop-off boxes are located at:
• Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Head Office, Level 8, Tower C, Waterfront Complex, 1A Wrightson Road, Port of Spain
• JOBCO Building, 51-55 Frederick Street, Port of Spain
• Naparima Bowl, 19-21 Paradise Pasture, San Fernando
• National Academy for the Performing Arts – NAPA – Frederick Street, Port of Spain