First 300 to get Cultural Relief Grant
The first tranche of three hundred and forty-eight (348) cheques for the Cultural Relief Grant is now ready for artistes and creatives. Senator the Hon. Randall Mitchell, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts presented one of the first cheques, of $5000.00, to Singing Sonia (Sonia Francis) at the Lord Kitchener Auditorium of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on Tuesday August 25, 2020. In presenting the cheque, Senator Mitchell, emphasized the renewed focus by government on the sector through the new Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts.
According to Minister Mitchell, “COVID-19 has severely hit our tourism and cultural industries both locally and internationally. Several carnivals, sporting activities and traditional tourist attractions have had to temporarily halt operations. He went on to say, “This calls for a complete re-think and re-engineering of how we do business and deliver in both closely aligned sectors as we adapt to this new normal. Trinidad and Tobago is a country whose festivals and arts, uniquely defines this cultural melting pot and as such our artistes and creatives must be supported as part of the architecture of brand T&T.”
Singing Sonia was one of the first to receive the grant and expressed gratitude to the Government for its vision and foresight in providing the timely assistance to artistes in Trinidad and Tobago.
Grant recipients will be called from Tuesday August 25th, 2020 and advised when and where they can collect their grant relief cheque.
Background of Cultural Relief Grant
Launched on July 10, 2020, the Cultural Relief Grant, is a one-off compassionate Emergency Relief Grant to artistes and creatives, who lost income due to cancelled exhibitions, classes, conferences, workshops and other cultural related events, as a result of the measures undertaken by the Government to mitigate the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
As of Friday August 21, 2020, eight hundred and ninety-seven (897) applications were received with more than half already approved and another two hundred and twenty-one (221) pending approval. The Committee continues to receive an average of twenty (20) applications daily.
The grant is one of three initiatives approved by Cabinet to support the cultural sector. The second is a 50% reduction in rental cost of all state owned performing spaces until December 31, 2020 and thirdly artistes and creatives can also access the government sponsored SME Stimulus Loan Facility. The loan facility is designed to help micro, small and medium sized businesses with no repayment of the principle for two years and government repaying the interest.
As the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts excitingly embraces the new and expanded portfolio, it will be working to ensure these grants continue to be administered efficiently and through the various stakeholders in the culture sector develop new, short, medium and long term initiatives to support the sector.