National Festivals Minister Daryll Matthew has confirmed that the boycott by the Antigua and Barbuda Pan Association (ABPA) of the ACB Panorama Competition has been averted.
“The Prime Minister and myself met with members of the pan association earlier today,” Minister Matthew explained.
“We discussed the funds owed and paid along with the issue of the roof.”
Matthew explained that “the resolution that we came to was one we had previously discussed. It was accepted, by both parties, that we will utilize the area in front of the Carnival City stage and would provide a platform that is slightly raised on which the bands will perform.”
There is to be a site visit to the Antigua Recreation Grounds today to ascertain the cost of the additional platform. The Festivals Minister indicated that, “The Prime Minister assured the pan association that all additional funds necessary will be made available to accommodate the added feature.”
The pan association has previously held resolute on two main issues that would prevent them from participating in this year’s competition: The poor sound quality as a result of the carnival stage roof; and the monies outstanding to the association totaling $130,000.
“I would like to thank the pan association for continuing to engage with us while we continued to seek a resolution to this process,” said Matthew.
ABPA president Patrick “Stone” Johnson confirmed that, “We have an understanding in principle.”
“The government has given assurances that certain undertakings will happen before the panorama night and, if they live up to their part, we will live up to ours.”
The president was hesitant to say whether the association had given the Festivals Commission a deadline for completion of the stage, but did add that, “We will be doing evaluations even on the night of competition.”
This year’s ACB Panorama Competition is slated to be held on Saturday, 4 August from 8:00 pm at Carnival City (ARG).