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The future of Caribana remained as murky as ever yesterday, despite assertions from one side in the bitter feud over the summer Caribbean festival that a peace deal had been reached between rival organizers and city officials.

Years of factional fighting and financial mismanagement came to a head this year when the city denied the original organizers, the Caribbean Cultural Committee, $400,000 in funding and another group, the Toronto Mas Bands Association, stepped in to run the show.

A new oversight body was set up, and Councillor Joe Mihevc, long Caribana's liaison on city council, drafted former city economic development commissioner Joe Halstead as its head.

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After threats of legal action and a protest march by the CCC, both sides have been in talks on possibly co-operating to run this year's event.

Yesterday, CCC spokesman Elsworth James said in a statement that a deal had been reached under which the two sides would work together. The new organizers would still run this year's event, which would be allowed to use the Caribana name. Mr. James said the deal would allow a restructured CCC to take over next year's event.

But Mr. Mihevc said there was no such deal. "This certainly is a surprise to me," he said, adding that there were continuing discussions. ". . . To say that peace has broken out would be premature."

Meanwhile, the factionalism within the CCC appeared to continue, as the body's chairwoman, Monica Pollard, abruptly resigned this week.

She said she could not persuade the group to move forward in a "professional, corporate manner" and that she faced "repeated internal challenges."

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