During Wednesday’s launch of the $20million Carnival 2008 at the Hilton Trinidad, and faced with searing questions from the media on the controversial decision to stage, for the second year in a row, the Panorama Finals in Skinner Park, San Fernando, Nancoo quickly said that was a question for PanTrinbago.
However, Arnold had this to say yesterday, “When the three interest groups for Mas, pan and calypso were given control to run their shows, the Government stated that they are the facilitators and they will be responsible for the venues and they will pay the bills. All we do is manage the shows.”
After a brief pause, Arnold sarcastically asked, “So who took the decision to hold Mas and calypso shows in the Savannah? I hope when I want to carry Mas and calypso shows somewhere else, he (Nancoo) doesn’t mind.”
Many panmen are up in arms over the decision to stage the 2008 Panorama Finals in South because of the thousands of dollars in transport fees and training and planning time being lost while stuck in traffic en route to the southland.
Without directly referring to the current controversy over the plan to stage the Panorama Final at Skinner Park, Arnold was at pains to point out that such decisions are out of the hands of PanTrinbago officials. He said when the facilitator provides a venue and “it is not up to the standard to host the Final, they really didn’t have a choice but to return to San Fernando”. Questioned further as to why the Queen’s Park Savannah had been deemed suitable for the Panorama semi-final but not for the final, all Arnold said was because of the popularity of all-inclusive parties which caused declining patronage of the Carnival Saturday pan show in recent years.
When asked to comment on concerns expressed by some North bands’ about the lack of the right ambience for a major pan show at Skinner Park, Arnold said, “The important thing is that we are paid properly for the shows.”
Asked if culture may be taking a backward step instead of developing with Government having so much control of Carnival, Arnold responded, “Not really. Our aim is about panmen getting a better day.
Things we fought for over the years have been met thus far but we are not giving up, because there are more things that can be done.”