A total of $96.5 million will be spent on Carnival 2012, says Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Winston "Gypsy" Peters.
Speaking at yesterday's post-Cabinet press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, Peters said some $43.5 million was expended on Carnival and Cabinet yesterday approved a supplemental $53 million more for the event.
Describing Carnival as "big business", Peters disclosed that Caribbean Airlines officials had reported that 220,000 persons have booked and paid to come to this country during the Carnival period.
While more money was given for Carnival expenditure, Peters reiterated that there will be no $2 million grand prize from the Government for the Soca Monarch or the Chutney Soca Monarch as was the case last year.
The People's Band–an initiative of the Government to allow people to parade for free–is also a thing of the past.
Peters said Government will contribute money to the various institutions such as Pan Trinbago, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) and the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA).
He said it will be up to these bodies to raise additional funds and determine whether they want to maintain a $2 million grand prize.
"The Government contributes to everything that they do... The Government funds everything that goes on with these entities, the Government does not get any return from it whatsoever. None," said Peters.
Questioned on the supplemental funds for Carnival, Peters said: "Carnival incurs a lot of debt. As a matter of fact we had debt that ran over from last year, some of these contractors we owe them from last year and then we have to fund money to pay them this year...so we have a lot of money that we owe for different reasons."
In addition to the $96.5 million for Carnival, Minister of Tobago Development, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, said Cabinet identified funds to bring 11 steelbands from Tobago to Trinidad for the Panorama semi-finals.
She said a total of $3.2 million will be spent over a four-day period to fund meals, accommodation, ground and air transport for the band members.