By Michelle Loubon
March 27, 2010 – guardian.co.tt
Junia Regrello, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs says it will cost about $20 million to attend to the niggling issues like lighting and flooring at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Princes Building Grounds, Port-of-Spain. Regrello came forward yesterday in his capacity as both performer and member of government. Along with recently appointed Sharon Christopher, chair of the management committee of the auditorium, Regrello admitted to flaws that need to be addressed.
Regrello said, “It would cost about $20 million… all the things that need fixing, to get the facility properly functioning and going.” He said, “It is the first time I have toured the facility. It is fantastic. I am saying that as someone who has performed in the Royal Albert Hall, (London). I am sold.” Regrello added, “The Sydney Opera House was built by Austrians. It took about two years to bring it to where it should be. “I admit there are grey areas that need to be worked out. I know for a fact we have to change the flooring. It is laminate.” Regrello appealed to the population to be “patient and give us time to work it out.”
He said, “Let us be proud that we have such a grand facility. It is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.” On the other hand, Rubadiri Victor, interim President of the Artists’ Coalition of T&T had claimed there had not been adequate stakeholder consultation. He did so at a news conference at The Professionals’ Centre, Mucurapo, on Thursday. He said the state-of-the-art edifice had conceptual, technical and programming flaws. Regarding Vijay Ramlal’s (President of the National Chutney Council) claims that the Minister of Culture Marlene Mc Donald had not approved of chutney being staged there. Regrello said, “NAPA is not the ideal venue for tassa, chutney and parang.”
He said, “What the Minister really meant is NAPA is not the space for that. It is infectious. People respond to that kind of music with a real amount of energy, vivacity and joie-de-vivre. “The Minister had also denied Pan Trinbago the request to stage Champs In Concert there, too. “She never meant it as any disrespect. But merely she wanted to keep it upscale… keep it to a certain type of entertainment. We may even have to upgrade a Best Village show to bring it in here.” On the issue of promoters’ claims they will not be able to stage shows there and realise a profit, Regrello said “Major productions can be subsidised by big companies. Get the big companies to buy into it. “When the Entertainment Centre is completed… you can have that kind of event there. Promoters can stage their shows there.”