Pan, kaiso, mas on TV up in air
By Darcel Choy Tuesday, January 29 2013
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Bassman: A player of Tamana Pioneers balances on his bass pans during their performance in the small band Panorama semi-finals at Queen's Park Savanna...
State-owned media house, Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) intends to continue negotiations with Carnival stakeholders for the rights to broadcast major Carnival events including the finals of Calypso Monarch, Panorama, King and Queen of Carnival and the Parade of the Bands.
So far, it is expected to air the Calypso Monarch semi-finals at Skinner Park, San Fernando on Saturday.
The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) yesterday said CNMG and Government Information Services Limited (GISL) will broadcast the show, billed “Calypso Fiesta”, live.
“It’s one of the biggest shows for the season, so it will definitely be broadcast for everyone to see,” said TUCO’s public relations officer, Karega Mandela.
Mandela said ten radio stations will also broadcast the show.
However, he confirmed that TUCO was still in talks with CNMG, and other television stations, for the broadcasting rights of its other calypso shows including the Calypso Monarch finals.
Concerns over the live broadcast of Carnival events arose after the Panorama semi-finals on Sunday were not aired on television this past weekend. A former Dixieland Orchestra player, Hady Lee, expressed his disappointment that it was not aired.
He said there were old pan players who were restricted to beds and wheelchairs who could not go to the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain to see the competition.
“I have friends who can’t walk, they are in wheelchairs and they could not watch the pan on their TVs that is ridiculous. That should never happen again,” he said.
When Newsday spoke to CNMG CEO Ken Ali yesterday, he said the company began its negotiations with Pan Trinbago, TUCO and National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) for the rights to televise their shows last November. He said the company felt hurt that it did not get the opportunity to broadcast the pan semi-finals but negotiations with Pan Trinbago fell through.
“We submitted a proposal which appeared at first (to be) accepted but they had declined it. We fought until Friday evening but we were not going to get broadcast rights, so regrettably we could not broadcast it,” he said.
In a later statement, Ali said CNMG sought the intervention of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and remained vigilant until Saturday morning, hoping that the matter would have been resolved.
CNMG considered its proposal was “fair and just” and Ali said it would have cost the company about $1 million to broadcast the main Carnival events, with little hope of commercial returns.
“CNMG is committed to the national festival but is also bound to making business decisions,” he said.
He pointed out that the State-owned media house was negotiating with groups that receive subventions from the Government.
However, Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz in a radio interview yesterday said CNMG made an offer of $600,000 to be divided among the three Carnival interest groups and then removed the offer.
He said he met with Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas yesterday to try and rectify the whole issue.
Newsday tried to contact Douglas yesterday but his phone was switched off and the NCC is expected to release a statement today.