A highlight of the 2013 Carnival Season was the quick payment of competition prizes, including those involving the national steel-band competitions.
The National Lottery Authority (NLA) created history on June 13 by presenting cheques totalling EC$24,000.00 to eight (8) steel-bands that participated in the SMC/NLA Pan Expressions – formerly known as the “Bomb-Tune Competition.”
Representatives of the 8 steel-bands which took part in the first national steel-band competition for the Carnival season, on May 4 at the Tanteen Hard Court, were awarded their participatory prizes of EC$3,000.00 each.
The bands competing were: Waggy T Pan Ossia, Grand Roy Pan Angels, LIME Commancheros, Coyaba New Dimensions, Rainbow City All-Stars, Digicel Florida All-Stars, Pan Lovers and Republic Bank Angel Harps.
Suzuki Pan Wizards did not compete.
As part of its mandate to support culture within the Tri-Island State, the NLA – through the SMC – continues to contribute to Spice Mas, focusing mainly on the cash prizes for the Junior and Senior Steel-Band Competitions.
This year, the total sponsorship amounts to Three Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$353,000.00).
At the presentations held at the NLA’s Main Office on the Carenage, SMC Director with responsibility for pan, Cecil Noel expressed gratitude to the NLA for the early payment of prizes.
“The NLA has always played their part. We are extremely grateful for their continued support. Paying out the prize-money at this stage will assist the steelbands in preparing for the upcoming competitions. We applaud the NLA for this very significant move”, he said.
General Manager of NLA, Geoffrey Gilbert highlighted the state body’s support and commitment to the artform.He pointed out that the early payment is quite a significant and historic achievement.
“Carnival is about two months away, and already we are paying prizes. This speaks volumes for the organisation and reaffirms the NLA’s commitment to the growth and development of Steel Pan – 2015 will be even better. In return for all of this, we expect the Association to organise year-round activities to promote pan.”, Gilbert said.
President of the National Steel-band Association, Miguel Fortune thanked the NLA on behalf of the representatives.He said, “We’re happy that the NLA is on board with us. We hope that the partnership continues and we would do our part.”