By Abigayle McIntosh
Securing sponsorship from international corporations to support the nation’s yearly summer festival and thereby alleviating the strain on the government’s finances is a more complex task than it might appear.
Festival Minister Daryl Mathew made this observation in response to an inquiry about the feasibility of the government accessing external reservoirs for financing the Carnival, beyond its current allocation.
“It was something that we have looked at in the past but it is easier said than done, If you look at the international companies we don’t have a lot of information who would have a lot of international companies that are domiciled in Antigua, and Barbuds who will have the marketing budget to support the carnival so, the companies that participate are really local companies”.
He added that these sorts of companies do not have the marketing muscle and budget that international companies have.
The Minister explained that “When you speak to international companies the first question, they ask is what is the size of your population because for it to make business sense for them they have to be able to demonstrate that your population is a certain size that whatever their products or service is it can generate the revenue that sponsorship and what we want to out it, and if your population is small, it is always going to be an uphill battle
In addition, sponsoring the summer festival had a working budget of $5 million.
“If I am not mistaken, we had about $800,000 in sponsorship ship but the government really foots the bill for the rest of it and I have to thank the Prime Minister and the Cabinet for ensuring that there was significant cash flow to keep the wheel greased and so that it can keep moving throughout the carnival”.
Regarding the winners of different competitions, the Minister highlighted that a significant portion of them have received compensation, albeit not necessarily the entire sum.
They have been provided with deposits, and the government is actively encouraging ongoing collaboration to ensure timely disbursement of their dues.
The minister emphasized the stature of Carnival as the paramount event in Antigua and Barbuda. It substantially benefits all stakeholders, contributing to the overall economy in various capacities.
An assessment of this year’s festival will be conducted in the upcoming weeks, preceding the unveiling of the event schedule.
“The contribution to the carnival into the economy in 2019 was about 20 million dollars. I am curious to see what this study will show in 2023”
But I believe though that the overall impact of carnival on the economy cannot be underscored. it is a massive impact,” the minister said.