With Spicemas merely two weeks away, the Spicemas Corporation (SMC), which is responsible for organising all national events is reporting that it is EC$500, 000 short of this year’s targeted EC$3 million budget.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at SMC, Kirk Seetahal made the disclosure last week Thursday during a brief handing over ceremony in which the Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (Grenlec) presented the body with EC$25, 000 in sponsorship for the traditional mas – Vieux Croix, Maypole Dancers, Wild Indian, Short Knee, Moko Jumbie and the Jab, Jab.
In accepting the donation from Member of the Senior Management at Grenlec, Cleaver Williams, the SMC CEO said, “it has been a trying experience to get sponsorship for this year’s event, adding that “we have been doing all we can to meet our expenditure and at the same time give the people a good quality product.”
“I am half a million short as we approach Spicemas (which) is just two weeks away. So I am more than delighted to have Grenlec come to us today to give their support for traditional mas”, Seetahal said as he called for more corporate citizens to come onboard to assist the SMC financially.
“I am hopeful that some people would see this(donation from Grenlec) and come into our office with their cheques tomorrow morning. I am optimistic”, Seetahal told reporters.
He said “a lot of things have affected Spicemas” and mentioned the staging of the Pure Grenada Music Festival, which would have taken away some of the sponsorship from SMC.
According to Seetahal, the corporation has been forced to engage in some “cost cutting measures to ensure that we can pay our suppliers, the masqueraders, ensure that our soca, calypso, and groovy artistes are paid their prize monies”.
Seetahal said, while he is not against the holding of the Pure Grenada Music Festival, the event came just before the annual carnival festivities and some of the sponsors who normally made contributions to carnival were forced to redistribute their budgets and this “would have affected us greatly”.
He disclosed that prizes for 2016 Spicemas events amount to EC$961, 000, with traditional mas alone accounting for EC$44, 500.
The SMC Chairman announced a change in the route for Jab Jabs on Jouvert morning in what he said was an effort to enhance and protect the country’s Spicemas product. Traffic Light in Belmont, travel along the Kirani James Boulevard, along Port Highway and then loop into the Tanteen area before they are allowed to go into The Carenage.
Seetahal declared that The Carenage would be a “no jab zone until the Traditional mas, ole mas and the pan would have been able to parade The Carenage.
“So the Jab can make how many circles they want – and as soon as judging of Traditional mas and pan is finished, then the Jab Jabs are welcomed to have a time on The Carenage”, he said.
He also said that efforts will be made to have all traditional mas bands parading the streets of St George’s come out on both Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
“When you think about it we have over 40 traditional bands throughout the island and we have to understand the spectacle that is called Spicemas – could you imagine 10 shortknee bands parading along The Carenage? Could you imagine that sight.?
Seetahal is hopeful that SMC can make this become a reality for the 2016 festival.
“We are really looking to see how we can assist these bands in terms of some sort of subvention to get them down because it is costly”, he said.
In presenting the $25, 000.00 cheque to SMC, Williams noted that Grenlec has for many years lend support to cultural activities in the tri-island state of Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique, including steel pan, Fisherman’s Birthday, St. Mark’s Parish Festival, Maroon Festival and the Carriacou Regatta.