Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has accused the former Festival & Fairs Committee under the previous NDP administration of poor record-keeping.
“In the past, under previous Festival & Fairs committees, I have been disappointed at the level of record-keeping. But, I assure this Honourable House that I take accountability of money spent very seriously. And while in the past we may have fallen down in those areas with previous administrations, I certainly want to establish a standard for accountability of festivals,” the minister said during a recent session of the House of Assembly.
Dr Wheatley made those statements after being asked to provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure for all festivals from the years 2016 to 2019.
Continuing his response, the minister said: “As you all know, we have a new Festival & Fairs Chairman and executive committee. This combined with the record-keeping of previous committees that was not up to acceptable standards has led to a lack of access to the information necessary to answer this question.”
Dr Wheatley then asked the House to allow him until after the emancipation festivities to provide all available information.
He explained that he would be able to better provide details of this year’s festivities after the celebrations have concluded.
“I can guarantee you, we can search the records of the House of Assembly and this type of information would not have been given in the previous years before; especially as quickly as it will be provided by myself and the Festival & Fairs Committee,” Dr Wheatley stated.
In June, Minister Wheatley had revealed that the budget for all festivals in 2019 had increased from $710,000 to $1.3 million.
This injection was approved by the Finance Minister Andrew Fahie after an appeal by Dr Wheatley that the original budget was simply not enough.
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