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Festivals Minister Matthew to address steel band issue

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The impasse between the Antigua and Barbuda Festivals Commission and the
Antigua Steel Band Association over the issue of the annual subvention is expected
to be a major talking point when Festivals Minister, Daryll Matthew convenes a
press conference today.
The Pan Association is threatening to withdraw the involvement of its members
from the annual Carnival Celebrations if the Commission does meet its demands
for an overall payment of $400-thousand to be paid in two installments. That
amount, according to the association, would cover Panorama 2024, slated for
August, and the steel bands’ participation in the Opening of Carnival parade as
well as for Carnival Tuesday’s Parade of Troupes and Groups.
The Commission indicated that it was unable to make that payment and offered
$300-thousand, which following consultation with the Cabinet was adjusted
upwards to $330-thousand. Additionally, the association has been offered 3,500
tickets for the show which it’s members could sell and keep the proceeds.
“The government will cover all other costs associated with the staging of the
Panorama Competition; inclusive of marketing and promotion, stage, venue, lights,
and sound as well as the transportation of the instruments and all other associated
costs. Please note that the cost for staging this event exceeds the revenue. On
average, the gate collects less than $30,000.00. This added to the annual
sponsorship received, equates to less than 15 percent of the overall cost of the
show,” a letter penned by Festivals Commission Chairperson, Ambassador
Elizabeth ‘Lisa’ Makhoul stated.
Noting that the Commission had extended an ‘olive branch’ to the association by
offering the 3,500 tickets for it to sell and to retain the proceeds, Amb. Makhoul
noted that it was disheartening that the association has bluntly refused to
“Such a position by the association, showed disinterest in playing its role in
making its discipline a more viable one,” she declared.
In its invitation to media representatives, the Commission did not identify the steel
band issue, however, invariably, it will come up either in the opening statements of
from questions posed by the journalists. “Addressing the Press Conference will be

Hon. Daryll S. Matthew, Minister of Education, Sports and Creative Industries.
Sen. Shenella Govia, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sports and
Creative Industries, Amb. Elizabeth Makhoul, the Antigua and Barbuda Festivals
Commission Chairperson, and other key Carnival stakeholders. Addressing the
Soca and Calypso competitions, and Road March Competition updates, and much
more,” the media invitation stated.

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