May 23rd, 2011 - Put your plans on hold as CARIBANA™ 2011 is in serious doubt. The CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP (CAG), festival owners, founders and trademark holders of CARIBANA™ have not been able to reach an agreement with the Festival Management Committee (FMC), after numerous attempts, causing this year’s festival to be in doubt.

Sponsors are advised to withhold committing to contracts with the unauthorized manager of the festival as an injunction to stop the FMC in its tracks from attempting to rename the festival created and owned by the CCC (now CAG) is pending before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Contrary to perception, the court did not order a name change for the Caribana Festival. At a hearing on May 12th, 2011, the court made it clear that the Caribana trademark cannot be used by the Festival Management Committee. The ruling says, in part: R (Respondent) "will no longer use the trademark ‘Caribana’.” It (FMC) “consents to an order preventing such use." The CAG, creators and owners of the festival, did not seek to withdraw use of the Caribana name for the Festival. The idea to change the name was introduced by the FMC in a desperate attempt to circumvent CAG’s legal rights.

The judge’s decision was only part of an application by CAG to protect its trademark which includes the Caribana Festival. The proceedings to bar the FMC from attempting to re-name the festival are to continue in court as early as March 31st 2011. Changing the name of the festival is a desperate attempt by the FMC to avoid coming to mutually agreeable terms with the CAG.

Henry Gomez, Chair of the CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP advises, “Sponsors and patrons who pay for costumes in the masquerade bands should be very cautious about putting their money into a festival that might not happen this year, and bandleaders should also be cautious about promised seed money.” He also stated, "Neither should they be aiding in the attempted theft of the Caribana Festival from our community, to profit a few individuals."

In keeping with the judge’s ruling, the CAG will return to court at month’s end with the details necessary to have an injunction which will prevent the FMC from holding a festival with the characteristics of Caribana on the Simcoe Day weekend.

CARIBANA™ ARTS GROUP (CAG), formerly known as the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC) was incorporated in 1967 as the Caribbean Committee for Cultural Advancement for the purpose of celebrating Canada’s Centennial. The CAG is the legal owner of the CARIBANA™ Festival and Trade Mark and is chaired by Henry Gomez. In 2006, the City of Toronto appointed the Festival Management Committee to manage the CARIBANA™ Festival for one year only. FMC was intended to be the management arm of the CARIBANA organization, but wants to report directly to the City of Toronto, and not acknowledge CAG as the legal owners of the Festival.