International Soca Monarch competition called off

January 27, 2023
File Revellers at the Jamaica Carnival road march last year.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jan 27, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Friday said it is disappointed at the decision taken by the private organisers of the International Soca Monarch competition to cancel the show this year because of a lack of funding.

Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister, Randall Mitchell, said the government had allocated in excess of three million dollars (One TT dollar=US$0.37 cents) for the show, but that the organisers were seeking in excess of TT$10 million. 

“The news of the cancellation of the International Soca Monarch came as an extremely disappointing news. We hope that the promoters of the International Soca Monarch would have come up with something a little more creative, innovative, something to fit within the budget, three million dollars plus add-ons, including the cost of the venue, cost of infrastructure and other costs on the night,” Mitchell said.

“Unfortunately the promoters did not agree. They wanted something that would have cost something to the tune of 10 million dollars and that is something we could not come to. These are private promoters and while the soca monarch competition has been a staple on the Carnival calendar, it is certainly something we could not countenance.

“So the government cannot be accused of not supporting the culture,” Mitchell added.

But, Caribbean Prestige Foundation director, Geoffrey Wharton-Lake, speaking on a radio programme here Friday, said that the lack of funds had prevented the organisers from putting on the event that attracts competitors from throughout the Caribbean as well as North America and Europe, this year.

“We were asking for some fort of assistance. We put a proposal in. You are not going to get what you asking for. But the first offer was TT$800,000. Can you put on a show for TT$800,000? I don’t think so.

‘Even if you add three times that, that is TT$2.4 million. You cannot put on a show. You cannot do a semi-finals, all those expenses and come back into Port of Spain and put on a Fantastic Friday, it would not be a good show,,” Wharton-Lake said with reference to the show being held on the Friday before the final Carnival weekend in February.

Wharton-Lake said the private sector support was “trickling in” and not sufficient to put on the show, adding “I am not sure it would pay the police bill if we got a heavy bill from the police”.

He said based on the show, performers who came in the first 10 places got a prize “and when you do the calculations it turns out to be TT$2.5 million”.

He denied also that the show was being cancelled because of competition from a rival show being put on by Soca super star Machel Montano.

Mitchell said that the government in the future could explore the possibility of staging the International Soca Monarch competition.

“The National Carnival Commission is the statutory body charged with outing on, managing organising the Carnival annually on behalf of the government. So it is for the board and the management of the National Carnival Commission to assist us in determining what can emerge so as to replace the International Soca Monarch competition.

“They may very well decide to put on their own competition,” he added.

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