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Kaisorama to cost TUCO $500,000

‘An exercise in frugality’...

By Michelle Loubon

Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO) president Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance) has said tonight’s much-anticipated Kaisorama event will cost about $500,000.
Masimba said TUCO moved the show from the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, to the neighbouring National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) auditorium, to cut costs. Masimba also said TUCO could not depend upon the Carnival revenue from events to generate prize monies.
Masimba cited Kaisorama’s move as another example of TUCO attempting to keep within its budget and still produce quality entertainment. To date, TUCO has produced the Calypso Monarch semis at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on Saturday.
Via a telephone interview yesterday, Masimba said: “We have taken it to NAPA. It will cost about $500,000. If TUCO had kept it in the Savannah, it would cost an additional $200,000, for staffing and security issues. The volume of advertising would have to increase. It is an exercise in frugality. We have a wizard Dennis Cox (TUCO treasurer). He is gifted at cutting costs.”
Masimba said the $8 million subvention was used to promote the production and developmental work including the Junior Calypso programme, the extempo tradition and the Education Unit. Salaries and stipends for staff were also paid throughout the year.
He said: “The work TUCO does all year round should not be confused with the calypso product. They have two different roles to play. We can’t lose our focus where that is concerned. But any other activity like Calypso History month, which TUCO undertakes during the year, we have to finance it on our own.
“We are expected to put on these events on our own. So we cannot give the monies from the shows towards prizes in the monarch competitions. We have to find money for TUCO from the Carnival revenue.”
Asked about using funds from TUCO shows for prizes, Steve Pascall (Ras Kommanda), chairman of the TUCO South Zone said: “In 2013, it (Calypso Monarch semis) generated about $1.6 million but we have not audited it yet for 2014. When they (Government) gives us $8 million and $4 million is going to prizes, they hold the prizes.
“The monies are given to distribute to the zones. We don’t ask the Government to bury calypsonians. We take care of our own. We have administrative expenses and to pay rent. So if you saw 20,000 people at Skinner Park, it might mean about 5,000 got tickets.”
Meanwhile, Kaisorama is billed as the Night of Champions. At the show, reigning extempo champion Leslie Ann Bristow (Lady Africa) will defend her title. Extempo is the art of singing cleverly on a topic at random.
Kaisorama will include the finals of the political and social commentary. Guest artistes will include Lord Nelson, Nadia Batson, Annise Hadeed, Winston Henry (Explainer) and North West Laventille Cultural Movement.
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