EDITORIAL: By the letter and the spirit – and in tune
It would take yet another urgent “stakeholders” meeting in a year to bring some order and satisfaction to the lamenting party promoters of Crop Over. This time with Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley himself.
The feeling of suppression and denial by promoters was not very different from that of last year’s when not even the National Cultural Foundation could be of very much help, as its very chairman was driven to confess an unfamiliarity with the required procedure for promotions – inside Crop Over or out.
It seemed only reasonable then that all participants in the festival ought to have that chance to redeem themselves. And so the decision makers put themselves before the Crop Over stakeholders, making them aware of the legal requirements and conditions of public feteing.
In the spirit of the season, the authorities even heeded Minister of Finance’s Chris Sinckler’s “generous advice” of compromise and balance when it came to having all matters in order, including the requirements of the Vat Office.
For the ease and accommodation there would be the understanding and acceptance by promoters inter alios that there would be no ignoring of their obligations under the law come 2012.
There was some surprise then in learning that this year promoters were faced with what they would view as unreasonable challenges, mostly with the Town Planning Department. Indeed, they could no longer cry “sudden” enforcement; they had gone through a kind of drill last year. Time planning was of the essence.
Yet late applications, on the day before the fete, were being pursued, putting some Crop Over fetes in jeopardy. For all the sympathy we might manage to drum up for these unwise promoters, we must face up to the fact that the accustomed to modus operandi in respect of public parties and shows at Crop Over has changed.
And legal muscle will see that it stays that way. It is not at all likely that Minister of Finance Sinckler will be entreating the VAT?Department not to “bother” Crop Over promoters with acquiring entertainment licences this year.
Still, all will be heartened that Minister Lashley would have taken the trouble to lend an ear to the troubled promoters and that a meeting could have been held with them and the Deputy Chief Town Planner and other authorities, and that after “frank discussion” consensus could be arrived at. It says much for the marrying of the letter and spirit of the law.