Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said the budgeted allocation for the now-concluded 2019 Emancipation festivities was increased to more than $300,000 to clear off inherited debts.
Dr Wheatley gave that preliminary report during a recent sitting of the House of Assembly. He said “tweaks” are being made to the report.
The minister told the House of Assembly this year’s festival came at the cost of $1,621,156.69, which is lower than the approximate $2.02 million, $1.84 million, and $1.75 million festival expenditure in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively.
“Only $1.3 million was budgeted for this year’s festival and, therefore, this year there was the need to request additional funding. This year, Festival & Fairs received a report of outstanding bills of approximately $312,000, which contributed to a request for additional funding of approximately $633,000,” Dr Wheatley said.
He said the overrun ‘compares favourably’ with those of previous years and it, “allowed us (the government) to pay the great majority of vendors owed — not just this year, but for previous years.”
Dr Wheatley further said, while there are still a small number of vendors who are in the process of getting paid, the need for an increase in budget for future festivals will likely be eliminated because he intends to pay vendors in a ‘timely manner’.
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