As part of its mandate to support sports, culture and nation building, the state-controlled Grenada National Lotteries Authority (GNLA) has presented a cheque for $340,000.00 to ensure complete payment for all steelband participants throughout the Carnival season.
The NLA’s contribution to Carnival 2013 focused mostly on the Panorama and Steel Band Competitions and Carnival ticketing.
The presentation took place during a press conference held at the Carenage Sporting Complex last week Wednesday in the presence of top officials from Government, Spice Mas Corporation and NLA itself.
The EC$340,000.00 given to SMC is one of the biggest by any entity operating on the island.
According to Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Senator Brenda Hood, “it (the money from lotto) is second to the contributions made by the Government of Grenada, who provides the largest contribution by way of subventions…”.
She added, “One of the major highlights of this year’s Carnival is the fact that after every major show, all the prizes, including appearance fees will be paid on the same night, and that is being taken care of by the NLA for the Bomb Tune, Junior Panorama and National Panorama Competitions”.
Chairman of the SMC, Arthur Hosten expressed his heartfelt sentiments towards the contribution by the NLA adding that he was surprised with the quantum provided by the authority.
“Finding the money for steel band has been the biggest headache for every Chairman. This year, I thought it would be the same but the NLA, like in 2007, has taken care of that, and in full”, he told the press.
“In addition to all that they’re doing, they have also extended an overdraft facility that is helping us cushion that $800,000.00 debt that we met at the SMC. So, it has been a fruitful relationship with the NLA. They have been very proactive, which shows the NLA’s total commitment to Carnival and Steel Band,” he said.
General Manager of NLA, Geoffrey Gilbert stated that the authority is extremely proud to give support to the Spice Mas body.
“$340,000.00 sounds like a lot but we are actually giving much more by way of logistical and technical support. Already, our two outlets are involved in the ticket sales. We are very serious about the overall management of Spice Mas and have already drafted a proposal for presentation to SMC after Carnival, regarding the 2014 Spice Mas,” he said.
NLA’s Chairman, Hayden Redhead, pledged the Authority’s increased support towards SMC for the coming years with the hope that the management of the Spice Mas Corporation will be handled properly to allow for minimum cash injection by the NLA.
He said that the NLA is interested in assisting with the whole management of Carnival in terms of the finances.
Representing the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sports, the body under which the NLA falls, is Permanent Secretary, Veda Bruno-Victor,
“We are happy to be a part of this year’s activities and to make Carnival what it should be because it is the money of the people of Grenada that is being used. NLA has been supporting Carnival for a very long time; and support of pan is very important as a lot of young people play pan”, she told reporters.
Outgoing President of the Grenada Steel Band Association, David “Peck” Edwards who witnessed the sponsorship hand over towards pan told the gathering, “I am extremely happy … knowing full well that our interests are considered by an institution such as the National Lotteries Authority is very much appreciated, especially as so many young people are involved in the artform.”
“The NLA has been there for us in the past. As recent as last year, the organisation funded the judges’ workshop, which speaks well for the development of the talent. We pledge to provide a good showing at Panorama but for us to go even further; we need the entire country’s support of pan, Edwards added.
Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Alexandra Otway-Noel congratulated the NLA for the assistance given since it will benefit young people.
“The youth need support, and Carnival needs more support. Entities like yours must continue making such contributions because Carnival is important and resources are limited,” the female government minister said.
The National Lottery Authority recently launched its fourth edition of the Access Granted promotion.
A total of 204 Spice Mas tickets for major Carnival shows can be won by players who spend $6.00 or more in Lotto and Daily Pick 3 from July 22 through to August 10. More than 36 people have already won.
Finance Manager of NLA, Richard De Allie who performed the role of Master of Ceremony at the press conference informed the gathering that the NLA marked the 20th Anniversary of selling lottery games via terminals and Lotto on July 17.
“Lotto was the first game introduced with the terminals back in 1993,” De Allie said.
A number of activities have been planned for the rest of the year to commemorate the NLA milestone.
Already a breakfast was held for employees and sensitisation on the milestone has been ongoing through the local media.