There will be no International Soca Monarch Competition this year.
The highly anticipated staple event on Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival Calendar has been cancelled voluntarily for the first time in three decades after the Government of Trinidad and Tobago refused the issue $10 Million funding to the event’s promoters.
Director of the Caribbean Prestige Foundation Geoffrey Wharton-Lake confirmed the cancellation to Trinidadian press after word broke on the shocking development on Thursday.
According to reports, Wharton-Lake has asserted that the funding issue is the sole inhibitor of the hosting of this year’s event, and that the event was deemed to not be “financially sustainable” based on the available private and government funds.
The $10 million requested was supposed to fund the following, $5- $6 million for putting on the event itself, $1 million for the grand prize and $2.5 to fund the other prizes.
The Guardian shares that Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell said that from the Government’s perspective it was unconscionable to underwrite the full cost of an event that is privately owned.
He revealed that the Government initially chose to support the event through the National Carnival Commission with an offer of $800,000.
In addition to this, the Government was prepared to offer $3 million towards the show, and provide a venue valued at roughly $2.5 million.
Mitchell said that he was disappointed to hear the narrative that the show’s cancellation was a result of “the Government’s failure to support the culture”.
While he agreed that Soca Monarch was a key event for TT Carnival, noted that over the years the event has been dying – bringing in less attendees and competing with other events.
While Wharton-Lake’s team determines a way forward and whether to resume the competition next year, the NCC is said to be considering hosting its own, smaller Soca competition next year.