Is the Ministry of Culture biased against me?
Photo : Minister of Community Development, Arts and Culture, Dr. Nyan Gabsy Dolly
It is with great interest that I have observed media reports in which the Minister of Culture was on the news yesterday indicating the Rowley Government will help Sugar Aloes and Cro Cro tents close to $1 Million in total funding.
After being initially given small sums both Aloes and Cro Cro, as well as to George Singh they publicly expressed their disappointment with the level of funding. Following this public utterance, the Rowley administration significantly increased the sums allocated to these events. It must be noted that all these events have some connection to the ruling PNM.
I, like many others, welcome this move by the Rowley Government to continue to support the artform despite the economic challenges the nation is currently facing.
I am, however, deeply concerned about the criteria employed by the Ministry of Culture to determine funding for tents as my Roving tent has received negative funding, and I am now concerned if I am being discriminated against only because I have sung against the Rowley administration.
Sugar Aloes’s and Cro Cro’s tents are privately owned and operated fixed to a specific brick and mortar location and charges an admission fee in addition to operating a bar. Has the Government ever asked the George Singh’s Soca Chutney Monarch, Aloes or Cro Cro for financial statements to justify their funding requests?
My tent, however, is ROVING which incurs a huge infrastructure cost, and all of my shows are absolutely free to the public and I have no bar, allowing patrons to bring their coolers. My Roving tent is truly a peoples’ tent that brings the spirit of Carnival to every nook and cranny of the country at no cost to patrons.
I have observed that since the Rowley assumed office, they have been very discriminatory in funding my tent. In 2016, they gave me $100,000, and last year, 2017, they gave me $50,000, while this year, 2018, I received a call last week Tuesday from the Ministry of Culture, advising me that Cabinet had approved the paltry and pitiful sum of $34,000 for my 16th Season of D’Massive Gosein Roving Chutney Calypso Tent.
I am of the inescapable and irrepressible opinion that I am the victim of political discrimination as a result of my song “Rowley Mudda Count”.
I, therefore, call upon the Minister of Culture to explain what criteria were used by the Ministry to provide such an insignificant sum to my Roving tent compared to other events and that the Ministry should revisit the funding allocation to the tent.
Should the Minister fail to respond to my request in three (3) days, I will be lodging a formal complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission for being discriminated against on political grounds.
I shall also be actively and aggressively encouraging others who have been discriminated against to take similar action.
Nermal “Massive” Gosein