Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 11th 2015 Contents news
January 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Culture Minister Lincoln Dou-
glas was blanked at Cabinet on
Thursday after he attempted to
secure a further $43 million from
Government for Carnival.
The request for additonal funding
came even as the sum of $314 mil-
lion has already been allocated for
Carnival 2015 in the 2014 budget,
and even as the country is facing
a steep dip in the oil price beneath
the initial budgeted figure and min-
istries are required to tighten their
Douglas did not justify the need
for that massive injection to his
Cabinet colleagues, and the request
The National Carnival Commis-
sion (NCC) has authority over this
year s Carnival celebrations and is
the only body that can request
additional subventions from the
Government. But in an interview
yesterday, communications man-
ager Kevon Gervais said the NCC
did not request any additional
money from the Government.
Newly installed NCC chairman,
Lorraine Pouchet, the deputy polit-
ical leader of the Congress of the
People, did not want to comment
on the issue, saying instead that
she was concerned that such infor-
mation was making it to the media.
When asked whether the NCC
requested further cash injections,
Pouchet demurred and directed all
questions to Gervais.
"I am not aware that the NCC
made any such request of the min-
ister," Gervais said.
He said the NCC was working
within its $314 million budget.
Douglas, in an interview with
the Sunday Guardian, confirmed
that the request for $43 million
was made but refused to give details
for the disbursement of such a sum.
He also denied that the request
was outrightly denied, saying he
was "pursuing the various avenues."
"You have bits and pieces of the
issue but not the whole story," he
"The NCC in general is never
fully funded by the budget," Dou-
"The NCC tries to meet its com-
mitment but there is a lack of qual-
ity with some of the things that
Douglas said the additional
money would have been used to
support several national arts organ-
isations, but could not name them.
The subventions to the NCC
covers its individual stakeholders
including the National Carnival
Bands Association for the bands
and the parade, PanTrinbago for
steelpan, and Trinbago Unified
Calypsonians Organisation for
Douglas said up to 2013 the NCC
was in debt but could not confirm
who was owed the money.
"I believe the NCC was owing
$118 million, I reduced the debt in
2014 and tried to solve that prob-
lem," he said.
He said the money he sought
would have improved Carnival, but
the general public would not really
notice the lack of the embellish-
ments that additional money
would have provided.
See Page A11
Cabinet blanks request
for $43m more for Carnival
In the coming days, government
ministers will provide the nation
with details on all the cutbacks to
be made in response to falling oil
So said Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar last evening as she
responded to critics who knocked her
for failing to give specific details on
Government s plans to address falling
oil prices when she addressed the
nation on Thursday.
Persad-Bissessar, addressing the
South Caribbean Conference of Sev-
enth-Day Adventists Vision One Mil-
lion Rally at the Ato Boldon Stadium,
Couva, assured that even with the
announcement of cutbacks, funding
to faith-based organisations will not
She also defended Government s
funding to faith-based organisations,
which she said, "must never be a
political decision. It simply must not."
The PM said, "We will ensure that
whatever we do to navigate this period,
you, the people, will not carry the
burden. We will not compromise on
the important things, such as pre-
serving the contribution of religious
organisations, and protecting the qual-
ity of life of our people," she said.
Persad-Bissessar, who was wel-
comed at the event with thunderous
applause, said she was clear in her
address that because of declines in
global prices for oil adjustments in
expenditure plans would have to be
She defended her speech: "What
I gave was a broad overview of how
we will be adjusting our policies to
ensure that we maintain spending
where it is necessary, and scale back
spending where we should."
To provide details then, she said,
would have been lengthy and more
of a "budget speech" than an address
to the nation.
She said ministers will give details
on how those adjustments will be
Persad-Bissessar reiterated that cit-
izens will not be made to feel the
pinch of adjustments.
She commended the SDA on their
launch of 100 community projects to
be initiated nationwide in 2015, which
includes the feeding of 50,000 families
and an award ceremony in March.
Ministers to give details of cutbacks this week---PM
...funding to faith-based groups will not be affected
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaks with Dr Kern Tobias, right,
president of the Caribbean Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist
Church, and Dr Balvin Braham, during the Vision One Million rally at the Ato
Boldon Stadium, Couva, yesterday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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