The Spicemas Corporation (SMC) has made an early appeal to Corporate Grenada for financial assistance for the 2017 Carnival Season which is scheduled to be launched in April.
SMC under the stewardship of Kirk Seetahal held a “Sponsorship Breakfast” for leading members of the private sector at Radisson Beach Resort, Grand Anse, St. George’s last week Wednesday.
High on the agenda was a presentation from the corporation in which it outlined the need for the financial backing of the business community for the country’s premier cultural activity.
Seetahal who is SMC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) told the business leaders that there are many benefits in being part of Spicemas and encouraged Corporate Grenada to see their sponsorship as a viable means, not only in terms of giving dollars but to consider an activation plan.
He observed that every year the same sponsors come on board for the annual carnival activities and appealed for others to give their support.
He also urged the business community to develop ways in which their sponsorship can be rewarding to them.
“There are many corporate entities that have adopted some steelband or performance groups as their brand beneficiaries. However, unless there is an established corporate communication strategy in place to justify the spend, many others are clueless as to how spending their corporate dollars can be beneficial for just a few weeks of exposure,” he said.
Culture Minister Brenda Hood called on Corporate Grenada to “dig deeper into their pocket” in sponsoring Spicemas.
The senior Government Minister felt that the “Sponsorship Breakfast” which has been taking place over the past three years is very important for the development of Spicemas.
Minister Hood said the reason why she believes it is important to have the breakfast meeting is to share with the sponsors what has happened over the last Spicemas Celebration, and to give them an idea of the way forward, and to hear from them.
“If we do not do this on a regular basis it means that our Spicemas will not be at the level we’ll like it to be,” she added.
The female minister recognised that if government contributes what is required of it, the activity will also grow and the funds will hopefully come on stream.
Minister Hood disclosed that Spicemas will be looking at ways to enhance and work with its partners and stakeholders in the coming carnival season to make sure that the product is the best it can be.
SMC Chairman, Jocelyn Sylvester-Gairy who has been in chair for the past three years spoke of the 2016 Grenada Carnival as being one of the strongest she has ever experienced.
Sylvester-Gairy called on Corporate Grenada to continue letting SMC know how they can be part of the process in moving Carnival forward, stating that SMC is aware of the flaws they encountered during the 2016 Carnival celebration.
“It’s not just about putting money into Carnival to make it happen, it’s about getting your ideas,” she said.
“We are depending on you, not just for your sponsorship in terms of monetary contributions, but ideas,” she added.
Seetahal told the stakeholders that SMC recorded a shortfall of $513,000 in sponsorship in 2016 although there was an increase of 14% in subvention from government.
He attributed the downfall to many factors including some sponsors who pulled out on the grounds that they were not well treated by the carnival body.
However, he believes the greatest impact came from the Pure Grenada Music Festival which he accused of taking away a lot of sponsors from Carnival.
He alluded to the fact that the newly launched Pure Grenada Music Festival would have affected financial intakes from the private sector.
“When we looked at the sponsorship in the beginning of Carnival and we realised that we were going to be about half a million dollars short, we knew we had to find effective ways of trying to buffer the effects of that shortage in sponsorship,” he said.
Seetahal announced that gate receipts from the carnival shows increased by nineteen percent, and there was a 209 percent increase in bar income.
He said SMC was successful in curbing the distribution of the large number of free tickets, and, for the first time the corporation was able to operate its own bar for Carnival.
He also reported a 139 percent increase in the income figures this year as compared to 2015, while there was a 110 percent increase in revenue in the pay-per-view by the public for the major carnival shows, magazine sales, and T-Shirt sales.
In the area of advertising and promotion, SMC registered an increase of 46 percent.
There were mixed financial returns from the various Carnival Shows – a 15 percent attendance increase in the soca and groovy monarch final, although there was a nine-percent reduction at the semi-final stage of the soca monarch.
The Children’s Carnival Frolic (CCF) brought in a 61 percent increase in revenue, a four percent increase in the calypso semi-final and a 16 percent increase in the final, as well as a 3 percent increase in the panorama show.
There was a 31 percent decrease in revenue from the groovy semi-final, and a five percent decrease in the Queen Show.
Seetahal was grateful to promoter Ian “Judah” St. Bernard who contributed to the sound, stage and light to SMC for the carnival season which resulted in an 18-percent reduction in its costing.
The corporation also increased its pay-out in prize money by seven percent.
Seetahal said the books are still not in order as SMC still has a huge outstanding sum of money it has to pay amounting to $700,000 as far back as 2013.
“We are delighted to say that we know that Carnival is viable and we are going to work extra hard to make sure that 2017 is as viable as possible,” he said.
The budget for 2017 is put at$2.7M.