Presentation of the 2019 budget—where Petrotrin matters are expected to figure significantly—is expected soon after the Fourth Session of the 11th Parliament opens next week Friday.
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Forwards want Tobago Jazz cancelled
Tobago Forwards deputy chairman Kevon McKenna is calling on Secretary for Tourism and Culture in the Tobago House of Assembly Nadine Stewart-Phillips to cancel the Tobago Jazz Experience this year following the latest collapse of the sea bridge and a lack of promotion in the build-up to the event.
Speaking at a news conference at the Scarborough Port yesterday, McKenna said apart from the continuing woes on the sea bridge, there’s no concrete information about the event, which is carded for April 27-29.
“We do not know the venue, we do not know the cost of tickets, we don’t even know who are the main acts. Thank God I could read a papers, I actually saw something is happening, but nothing is still confirmed by the commission or the secretary,” McKenna said, even as Caribbean Airlines announced yesterday it would yet again step in to fill the void after the Port Authority announced it was taking the T&T Express off the route for safety reasons.
“No marketing has been done for this festival, we are yet to hear radio ads, see anything in the papers, anything on social media, no advertising has been done locally, none has been done internationally. In the absence of marketing and one month to an event and nobody knows about it, who then are we catering for? I will have to ask the secretary ‘is this a private party for the Tourism staff or the PNM elites? Cancel jazz.”
Although a budget for the event has not been made public, McKenna said the event is a waste of public funds and called for the allocation to be used as compensation for Tobago entrepreneurs who are continuing to experience losses due to the failing air and sea bridges.
"How are the tourism stakeholders or business owners to get produce here, when every Monday, every dog and his brother we are stuck in Trinidad, is that fair? Why are we taking Tobagonians for granted? We are also suggesting to not just cancel the jazz, but cancel the jazz and allocate the seven or 12 million dollars to compensate the business owners who would have been affected by the failed air and sea bridge," he said.
"The Hotel Association would have data from previous years in terms of occupancy levels, you can use that to calculate and compensate the business owners."
The Tobago Festivals Commission has not made any formal announcement about this year's Tobago Jazz Experience. However, the event has been drastically scaled down from the weekend-long event to only three days on the calendar. Via their Facebook page, the TFC placed an advertisement for patrons to 'save the date', but there's no indication who the acts will be.
Sources told the T&T Guardian the commission was looking at Neyo, Jazmine Sullivan, Michael Bolton and Anthony Hamilton to perform at this year's event, but contracts have not yet been signed.
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