Thursday 28 May, 2020

Culture Minister slams MP's “divisiveness”, says Phagwa funds approved

Culture, Gender and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly is labelling as “spurious”, “divisive” and “uninformed”, claims that the PNM Government is discriminating against Hindus.

She was responding to statements made by Princes Town MP Barry Padarath following a release he issued on Monday.

He questioned why the Government failed to fund Phagwa celebrations which occurred over the weekend, calling it an act of division.

Loop TT contacted the Minister who responded via WhatsApp message.

She admitted that the organisations which applied for funding to celebrate Phagwa have not yet been funded, however, said that approval had already been granted.

“For 2018, funding has been approved for the five groups which applied and disbursement will take place as soon as possible. It is to be noted that the Ministry requests groups to apply for funding 2 months in advance to allow for processing and funding arrangements.”

“In most cases submissions are made later than this, which would impact the receipt of grants before events are held. Despite continued efforts to imply the opposite, the MCDCA continues to work assiduously to deliver grants to religious and community groups, funding allowing, for the promotion of our culture, celebration of our heritage, and the preservation of community bonds.”

The Minister also denounced claims of alienation of the group as she said the Government has a long history of significantly funding Hindu festivals including Divali, Ramleela and Phagwa. 

She noted that in 2017 six groups received a total of $66,000 for Phagwa, in addition to more than $2,000,000 for Divali and Ramleela combined.


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