Government has granted band leaders their wish for this year’s Grand Kadooment – an increase in the prize money and the subvention they are allocated.
That announcement has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who yesterday agreed to raise the subvention by 50-thousand dollars increase in subvention; as well as a 30-thousand dollar in increase in prize money.
The move has been accepted by the President of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders, Chetwyn Stewart …describing the announced increase in subvention and prize money for this year’s festival as “a start”. He acknowledged that while the increase was what was requested by the Association, they had decided to accept the offer. Referring particularly to the subvention, Mr. Stewart says this would help them to cut costs and attract more local revelers by offering more affordable packages.
He said, “the bandleaders are catering a lot to the overseas people, which is good, because they’re bringing in foreign exchange, but now you’re losing people going on the road because you’re actually pricing it out of the market for them.”
Meanwhile…The Culture Minister has promised to look into the other challenges affecting band leaders. One of the issues pertains to the slow implementation of the section of the Cultural Industries Development Act, which is to exempt bandleaders from paying duties on imported costume materials.