Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 5th 2015 Contents news
April 5, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
YORKE LAID TO REST
Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr
Lincoln Douglas is now trying to secure
a $75 million loan from First Citizens in
order to clear up debts accrued as a result
of his miscalculating last year s budget.
Until that loan is secured, Carnival 2015
winners cannot be paid.
Stakeholder for the carnival fraternity,
the National Carnival Bands Association
(NCBA), yesterday confirmed that without
the $75 million there would be no money
in the coffers to pay out prize money,
despite Douglas' ministry having received
a $314 million budget allocation last year.
Finance Minister Larry Howai has also
confirmed the loan amount being sought
In January, the Sunday Guardian report-
ed that Douglas had approached Howai
for some $150 million, in addition to the
already approved allocation for the Culture
Ministry. It was reported then that both
Douglas and National Carnival Commis-
sion (NCC) chair, Lorraine Pouchet, met
with Howai in order to secure the funds,
but were told to renegotiate with con-
tractors to have that figure reduced.
At the time, Douglas had staunchly
denied that report, saying that there was
nothing amiss in his budget allocation.
He admitted then that he was seeking
additional funding through Howai and
the Cabinet, but stated that it was for
upgrades to event venues for the physically
challenged, improved public facilities,
hiring of more staff at the NCC and more
research and analysis into future carni-
val-related projects. At no time, however,
did Douglas say that the shortfall would
affect the payments to the mas fraterni-
ty.However, the Sunday Guardian under-
stands that the $75 million hole has now
left Douglas going cap in hand to the
banks, seeking a loan that will cover pay-
ments to the winning mas makers.
"The Ministry of A&M (Arts and Mul-
ticulturalism) has requested additional
funding in the form of a loan to meet
additional committents for Carnival 2015.
"The Minister (Douglas) has made sev-
eral representations regarding this matter,
which is the subject of consideration by
the Ministry of Finance and the Economy,"
"I understand that their bankers are
First Citizens, but I'm not sure whether
they have approached any bank regarding
the financing. This won't be able to be
progressed until the Cabinet has provided
Douglas cannot seek the loan without
Cabinet approval, and with the oil price
dipping below the $50 mark Cabinet insid-
ers say that he is unlikely to get it.
Masman Edwin Worrell, who highlighted
the move by the National Carnival Bands Asso-
ciation (NCBA) to disqualify ten winning mas-
queraders, has now reported alleged death
threats to the Morvant Police Station.
Worrell reported that after he made public
the move to disqualify the bands, he received
over seven calls threatening his life. The calls,
he said, were very violent and often included
knowledge of where he was living. One call
came just before Worrell met with the Sunday
Guardian last Wednesday.
"Look, look at my phone. I just get a call
saying that I brave to be walking on Charlotte
Street," Worrell said, adding that he was going
back to the police station to update the report.
Since Worrell spoke out against the attempted
disqualifications, he said, he had received more
than eight calls from blocked numbers threat-
ening to kill him for allegedly "speaking out
against the boss."
"Since that article came out, within three
days I got six calls," Worrell said.
While Worrell said he knew who was making
the threats, he had given the police signed per-
mission to access and search his mobile phone
account to ensure they caught the culprit.
Three weeks ago, the Sunday Guardian report-
ed a move to disqualify ten winning masquer-
aders from the carnival competition.
It was reported then that NCBA chief David
Lopez and two other executives met with Worrell
and several other masqueraders and asked them
to sign an agreement to accept their disqual-
ifications. Worrell refused and led the group
out of the office.
This, however, was denied by the NCBA
through its PR company, Cirrus Communica-
tions, which claimed Worrell and the other mas-
queraders never met with Lopez.
However, the Sunday Guardian has learned
that police investigators reviewing Worrell's
claims are now trying to access the NCBA's
CCTV surveillance recordings.
Worrell also made a police report about who
he believed was behind the sudden threats.
"I am keeping in touch with the police to
make sure this investigation is complete," he
The Sunday Guardian forwarded questions
regarding the alleged threats to Cirrus Com-
munications director Colin Greaves, who denied
any involvement by the NCBA.
"The NCBA and Mr Lopez have no knowledge
of or involvement in any such alleged threats
being made to Mr Worrell. However, if threats
have been made, Mr Lopez finds it quite unfor-
tunate and strongly condemns the act. He hopes
that the police will be successful in their inves-
tigations," Greaves said on Lopez's behalf.
Greta Erin Yorke,
wife of late
Yorke, is greeted
Leader Dr Keith
Rowley after her
service at the
of the Most Holy
Yorke, 81, founder
of Yorke Structures
Ltd, died at his
Valsayn home late
last month of
NCBA $$ woes continue Masman claims
One month ago, the Sunday Guardian
contacted Douglas regarding the financial
status of the National Carnival Bands
Association (NCBA), as it was responsible for
paying the Carnival 2015 competition winners.
There was no response. The Sunday
Guardian again e-mailed Douglas about this
latest development, but again there was no
Attempts to reach NCBA head David Lopez
were also unsuccessful, but the Sunday
Guardian contacted the NCBA's retained public
relations company, Cirrus Communication,
through its director Colin Greaves.
In an e-mailed response yesterday, Greaves
confirmed that the shortfall was holding up
payments to the Carnival 2015 winners.
"The association is operating within the
boundaries of the approved budget for 2015,
which includes operational costs and prizes for
the various competitions," Greaves said.
"The government subvention that the
organisation receives covers the value of the
approved budget. To date, the NCBA has not
received the full subvention for 2015. When
the subvention is released, the requisite
payments to the winners of Carnival 2015 will
The NCC, in response to questions, said: "The
Ministry of Finance and the Economy is aware
there was a significant shortfall in the amount
allocated and the NCC requires additional
funding to handle the operational expenses for
the balance of the fiscal year."
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