Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 4th 2017 Contents A3
August 4 - 2017
No THA funds yet for Jazz, Heritage Festival work
Fury over late payment
Even as Secretary of Tourism,
Culture and Transportation,
Nadine Stewart-Phillips apologis-
es for the non-payment of local
contractors for the Tobago Jazz
Experience, comes word that vil-
lages taking part in the recently
concluded Heritage Festival are yet
to be told whether the money they
spent for the services they con-
tracted for their productions will
Responding to queries on the
reason for Jazz Experience local
goods and services contractors
being paid late at last week's
post-Executive Council media
briefing, Stewart-Phillips said,
"There is no real reason, just a
number of procedures that have to
Foreign acts and entities were
paid promptly for their services,
she confirmed. But asked for a spe-
cific date when the local entrepre-
neurs, who supplied goods and
services in April, will be paid, she
said, "I cannot give a timeline...but
it's heart-breaking and unfortunate
... but we are looking at the quick-
est way possible."
She added: "It remains a concern.
What I can say at this moment is
that at the Division of Culture,
Tourism and Transportation we are
doing our best. I speak to the
administrator daily, asking, because
I am inquiring, because I myself I
am a human being and I would not
want to be in situation where I
provide a service and I am not paid."
She apologised for the unex-
plained delay in the payment to the
Turning her attention to the Her-
itage Festival, which was celebrat-
ed over a two-week period this year
(July 14-August 1), the Secretary
"expressed pleasure with the exe-
cution of the ($7m) festival."
What she did not address, how-
ever, is when village councils and
local contractors engaged for the
Heritage Festival will be fully paid.
Tobago Today understands that
this year's handling of the grants
to villages for their productions was
unlike any other year.
Previously, under all former festi-
val chairmen, village councils sub-
mitted a budget to the Festival's
Committee and justified their spend-
ing. The councils were then told the
amount they would be allocated for
the given year and used that figure
to plan their production.
"All we had to do was show how
we were going to spend the money
and we were told the amount allo-
cated to us for that year," a senior
village official, who did not want
to be identified, told Tobago Today.
"Up to now, although the festi-
val is done and we have spent our
money and owe plenty local people,
we do not know how much money
we will get for the production."
He said he was in the process of
finalising his budget and "hoped"
he would be paid.
Asked how the council will pay
for contracted services if the funds
were not forthcoming from the
Festival Committee soon, the offi-
cial said, "It's not if but when we
will get our money. You can't tell
me that they are talking about com-
munity spirit and do this kind of
thing to us."
Another person who spoke with
Tobago Today on the condition of
anonymity for fear of reprisals, said
the councils were only given the
first tranche of funds.
"We were asked how much
money we needed to start the pro-
duction and told to collect a
But he said most of the villages
received the cheque a few days
before their production was due.
"In our case, we were called and
told to collect a cheque and had to
go from bank to bank to get it
changed, as those cheques would
have to normally remain in an
account for a number of days," the
He said the late payment of the
initial payment led to council mem-
bers hustling to purchase and make
costumes "until the wee hours of
the morning." He admitted that
such a scenario was not new, but
noted that "the lack of a specific
figure from the Festival Committee
put a burden on their spirit."
Tobago Today contacted Secre-
tary Stewart-Phillips on the villag-
ers' concerns and was told her
communications manager will issue
a statement addressing the matter.
She also said queries should be
directed to the committee's chair-
man, George Leacock, and "he
would answer them if he so desires."
Ms Heritage Personality 2017 Camryn Bruno (Mason Hall Village Council), centre, holds her crown after winning the title, as she shares a moment with
runner-up Garve Sandy (Buccoo Academy of Performing Arts), left and third place winner Kennecia Andrews (Mt St George) following the pageant at the
Cyd Gray Sporting Complex last Friday. PHOTO: THA INFO DIVISION
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