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Chair of the Carnival Development Corporation, Ricky Adams in an April 29, 2024 photo.
Chair of the Carnival Development Corporation, Ricky Adams in an April 29, 2024 photo.
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The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) is slated to hold a press conference this morning (Thursday) reportedly after meeting with the government on Wednesday to discuss an increase in prize monies for Vincymas.

The various components of the festival last saw an increase in prize money 12 years ago.

On Tuesday, Ricardo Adams, chairman of the CDC, a statutory corporation, told the media in Kingstown that the CDC has submitted to the government a request for an increase in prize monies. 

“Now, what a lot of people may not be aware of, as it stands, currently, prize monies for Vincymas exceed $600,000. They’re in the region of 660, depending on sometimes how many bands participate, etc., because they would all get appearance fees. So it’s in the region of about $660,000, roughly.”

Adams said the components of the festival have asked for a number of years for the prizes to be increased.

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“… I think the last prize increase was 10 years ago, 12 years ago, or something like that — 2012. So roughly 12 years ago,” he said.  

“Of course, over the last few years, there have been a number of circumstances that have not allowed for prize increases, just because of the economic climate that has existed.”

He said the CDC has gone back to the proposal this year.

“As it stands, I believe that we should be having a discussion with the government sometime within the next week or so, when we will be able to announce what level of prize increase. I know that inherently, the support is there for a prize increase.”

Adams, however, said that any prize increases have to be sustainable. 

“… you don’t do a prize increase for this year, and then roll it back next year. So it has to be in the context of what will be a long-term commitment to prize monies for Vincymas. As I said, hopefully by next week, we should be in a lot better position to say what that is. 

“But we’re in active discussions right now with the government on that matter. I hope that answers your question. I would have loved to have been able to give better news, like maybe the next press briefing, we would be able to,” he said.

Last month, the Calypsonians Association echoed its call for a prize increase, with its spokesperson, Robert “Patches” King saying “things really ain’t right as far as I’m concerned as a calypsonian for many, many years and a musician too. 

“So I hope that the CDC will up its game because this isn’t a joke for people like me,” King said.

He said he understood clearly what was happening in neighbouring countries, adding that in SVG, “prize money and thing has been a vexing issue with us for years”.

King said that his tent, On Tour, had recently discussed on radio the differences in prizes offered by other countries.

He said that in SVG a calypsonian spends more than EC$1,000 to produce a song, including studio time and musical scores.

“And I ain’t sugarcoating nothing. I’m talking here for calypsonians,” King said.

“We know the power that we exert in terms of bringing people to the shores of St. Vincent and the Grenadines during this premiere festival, we call carnival. Thousands of people come here and spend money in all different and diverse ways: transportation, hotel accommodation, airport taxes, food, beverages, etc. We know, many of us know and we believe that it’s long overdue for us to get a raise,” King said.
Speaking at the same press conference, Earl “Cabba” Bennett, president of the Calypsonians Association, said that he had spoken about calypsonians expecting a prize increase and the reasons.

“Those are additional reasons,” he said of King’s comment.  “We’ve said a raise is due, told you all about labour of love. So, hear you heard Patches in a passionate way. So, again, that’s has added to the submission that I’ve made earlier,” Bennett said.