Five days after the conclusion of Spice Mas 2K13, the state-appointed body known as Spice Mas Corporation (SMC) has paid out in excess of $800,000.00 in prize money to carnival winners and participants.
A ceremony was held at the National Stadium at Queen’s Park last week Saturday in which cheques were handed out to Calypsonians, Groovy Soca and Soca artistes as well as Steel bands and masqueraders.
Artistes such as Calypso Queen, Ketura George, Soca Monarch and Road March King, Jalon Olive “Boyzie”, Band of the Year winner, Andre Garvey & Associates, and Panorama champs Coyaba New Dimensions were on hand to receive their winnings.
Several other artistes such as Groovy Monarch winner Wrenroy Ogiste (Blaka Dan) had already collected their prize monies while others requested collection through fellow artistes.
In addressing the ceremony, Chairman of the Corporation, Arthur Hosten, served notice that Spice Mas 2K14 would not be business as usual.
He informed those in attendance that the SMC would soon be rolling out a schedule of fund-raising activities to be held throughout the next year and urged all mas bands throughout the country to do the same.
SMC Finance Manager, Alister Bain disclosed that although the Corporation was still in the process of preparing its accounts, the body had collected $520,000.00 in ticket sales, as well as $700,000.00 in sponsorship and a Government subvention of $700,000.00.
According to Bain, the carnival body is currently in the process of accessing vending sales, which he said seemed to have been “very well”.
“We have had a bar contract in the region of $30,000.00 plus, we are still balancing the books but I will say that we have met our financial goals this year”, he said.
The financial controller for SMC said that when the New National Party (NNP) administration took office following the February 19 general elections and appointed a new Board of Directors for the corporation in May, the members discovered that they had inherited a debt in the region of $400,000.00.
Bain said the debt has been reduced to $230,000.00 and SMC was confident that it would be wiped out in due course.
“We would not have eliminated all of the debts but we are eroding it gradually and we have made a significant erosion on that debt. For example we had outstanding to Sunshine Promotions, Judas Sound System, we had debts in the region of $270,000.00 outstanding for last year (2012), we have cleaned that debt, we have paid it off. We have already paid 30% somewhere in the region of over $65,000.00 to Judah Sound System owned by Ian “Judah” St Bernard for 2013”.
Bain was asked to clear up reports circulating that Judas Sound System held to ransom one of the main shows at the National Stadium due to outstanding monies owed to him.
“I would not say we were held at ransom. He made a deal with the Corporation that he had to have the outstanding settled and we have to take into consideration that we are dealing here with a small local businessman and I think it is only fair that we pay off what was outstanding to him before commencing ….because by the time he had asked for that amount to be paid it was going forward towards the finals because he would have already had all the assets in place in terms of stage, light and sound system…”, he said.
“…In fact, we would have already used it (the sound system) for some of our major shows, so he requested that before going into the finals he would have wanted the outstanding bills to be settled. Right now he is owed 70% of the amount due to him for 2013 so that would be around $140,000.00 (or) there about”, he added.
According to Bain, the SMC can report that all carnival shows were a tremendous success with the exception of Panorama.
“All shows we saw increase in revenues and all shows with the exception of Panorama. In fact Soca Monarch would have raised almost $100,000.00 more than last year, and it’s significant to add that this year we did not have a Queen show, so although we made just about $20,000.00 more than last year, it is with one show less, that’s the Queen show, and we had a regular Panorama, whereas last year’s Panorama was a collaboration with a soca show.
“This year it was just Panorama, so last year’s panorama would have taken in about $65,000.00. This year we made a mere $15,000.00, but in order to raise that $65, 000.00 last year, the SMC would have spent in excess of $200,000.00, that’s for the soca show. The expenses for the soca show would have been in the region of $200,000.00, so although we did not do it this year, what we would have done in terms of the net receipts we would have done better this year with a mere $15,000.00.”
Bain pointed out that the introduction of the e-ticketing system by SMC for the first time this year was successful and proved that this is the way to go in the years ahead.
The system, he said not only got rid of the logistics problem encountered over the past years and provide convenience to patrons wishing to purchase tickets to attend official shows.
In addition, it allowed the corporation to monitor the sale of tickets with each purchase made and to evaluate revenue and expenditure immediately.
Bain stressed that while he was not in a position as yet to determine the total ticket sales this year as compared to previous years, preliminary report indicate that this year’s sales had surpassed that of 2012.