Tobago bandleaders want more money; threaten Carnival boycott

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Tobago bandleaders want more money; threaten Carnival boycott

“No money, no mas!”
That was the cry made by a group of Tobago mas bandleaders on Tuesday, in light of the what they deemed a paltry allocation of $1.3 million for Tobago Carnival.

The bandleaders are now calling on the Tobago House of Assembly to increase the sum, or else there will be no carnival on the sister isle.

Jemma Bedlow-Dennis, interim chairman of the Tobago Bandleaders Association, during a media conference yesterday, said the bandleaders feel disrespected by the allocation given to mas, especially after the allocation for the Tobago Carnival in October was $17.5 million.

Bedlow-Dennis said there are currently 32 bandleaders bringing Carnival portrayals for 2023 and for them, she had submitted a budget of $3.5 million.

She explained that in order to participate in those festivities, some bands took loans from various financial institutions and “buss.”

“This year, bands must make back something,” she said.

Bedlow-Dennis said she was hearing “crazy” talk about the fact that there is now mas in Tobago already in October and there are whispers that the focus may only be on that moving forward.

However, she said, “This is the national Carnival and unless it goes back to Parliament for a review, you cannot stop it.”