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Trinidad and Tobago

Published on November 3rd, 2016 | by Joan Rampersad - TandT Newsday Newspapers

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Minister: Accusations against Pan Trinbago ‘unsettling’

Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, told Newsday yesterday that accusations of financial impropriety on the part of Pan Trinbago are unsettling.

She said, “In this regard. I have been in discussion with NCC (National Carnival Commission) Chairman (Kenny de Silva) on this issue and we are actively examining the situation and our options with respect to the way forward for Panorama 2017. We are committed to ensuring that the Panorama experience, which highlights and celebrates our national instrument globally is neither compromised nor tarnished.” She added, “The taxpayers fund Carnival and protecting their interest will be a large factor in our discussions and decisions on this issue.” With respect to former Pan Trinbago Vice-president Bryon Serrette’s recent resignation, she said, “Pan Trinbago is a private entity, therefore the interest of the Ministry and the NCC lie less in their internal politics and more in their receipt of large amounts of State funding for the running of Panorama.” On the question of the players’ remittances not being paid to date she said; “The NCC has indicated that $5 million, which represents the balance of the 2015/16 allocation to Pan Trinbago, was paid within the last week of October specifically to facilitate the payment of players’ remittances. If in fact these remain unpaid to date, Pan Trinbago would have to account for this delay, as the NCC has reported that they supplied Pan Trinbago with their entire 2015/16 subvention including monies for the players.” Serrette said yesterday that on Friday he tendered his letter of resignation to the Secretary (Richard Forteau) to take effect on November 1, with all intention to attend the AGM on Sunday to address his concerns about financial impropriety within Pan Trinbago.

However, at the AGM he was not allowed to speak. He related: “The President said it was his meeting and he shall decide who speaks and who doesn’t speak, in spite of the shouts from members there that they want to hear the Vice President, because some of them only knew of my resignation while they were at the meeting on Sunday, so they wanted to hear from me.” He continued: “I stood for more than an hour and the president who was the chair, refused to recognise me, until it came near the end of the meeting and people started to call on the president to recognise me. “He spoke to people in a certain kind of way saying that it is his meeting and he will decide who shall speak in his meeting. So after a while, there was a microphone that was close by and when one of the members attempted to take the mic and give it to me, other members of the executive grabbed it away and some of them even vented: ‘He will stand up there for the whole day and even the next day.’ So then I strolled across to the podium where there was another mic and he (Diaz) started to shout that he did not give permission to anybody to go and speak in any mic.

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