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TUCO president not happy

JOAN RAMPERSAD Friday, February 17 2017

BEFORE THE draw for singing positions was held at the UTT section of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) yesterday, president of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO), Lutalo Masimba, said his organisation was not happy with the fact that the National Carnival Commission (NCC) has taken over all revenue from their major Carnival shows for 2017.

He told members present, “For your information and clarity, I understand the delivery of the calypso product in this Carnival in 2017 is one of a difference. It is one of uncertainty but, we are trying our utmost to iron out a lot of the things in the situation.

The sale of tickets is done by the NCC. The printing of those tickets that they are selling outside of the relationship with NLCB is done by the NCC.

“TUCO went to form a relationship with NLCB for the sale of tickets in our effort to promote a more transparent situation in the sale of tickets for Skinner Park and our major events. The NCC has taken over that situation so they are also responsible for the sale of tickets through the NLCB.” He added, “The question of complimentaries and passes and all those things, the organisation will go to the NCC to sort out the numbers for things like that. It is indeed not a very nice moment but I’m telling you, the most important thing is for our contestants to be comfortable.

And when you come to Skinner Park, and you come to beat people and share your music with the world, you feel good about yourself.” Masimba then vowed, “Like all other things the organisation (TUCO) will have to take care of those things, and make sure we have a smooth and easy path forward. May God bless you and stand firm for our culture.

We salute and celebrate each and every one of you because in this competition it is the most prestigious title in the Carnival celebration of T&T.”

He then expressed his wish that all competitors will be in the best of their voices and possess that strength and vibration to give their best performances.But said, “It is a shame that we have to take competition as a framework to assess the power of our music and the power of our artistes and our performances, but we know this is how it is at this point in time in this blessed Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Masimba had told Newsday earlier, “It is a fact that the NCC has taken all ticket sales and gate receipts for Calypso Fiesta 2017. We understand that it is also through a directive from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Minister of Culture.”

He claimed, “There was no consultation between the NCC and TUCO before this decision was taken. We were informed by the NCC of the new arrangement and this was confirmed by the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts as the model for carnival 2017.”

He said, “TUCO expressed its dissatisfaction as there was no forum for discussion as the reps of the special interest groups were not yet appointed to the board of the NCC.”

On the way forward Masimba said: “TUCO held a members meeting in January in which we discussed a number of issues going forward including the 25 percent cut in our allocation further to the one million cut in 2016, the number of finalists, the one song final, as well the NCC directive for carnival 2017and the impact on the Organisation’s ability to deliver. The members agreed that TUCO would consider, in the interest of calypso lovers and the general public, and deliver the calypso product __ the calypso tents, the calypso competitions and other activities.TUCO would work toward a resolution of the situation after the carnival.”

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