Tuesday 26 May, 2020

TT$1.8M in outstanding CARIFESTA invoices to be paid by June 2020

Government said outstanding payments for artists and suppliers of the 2019 CARIFESTA event should be paid by June 2020.

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat, speaking in the Senate on behalf of Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadbsy-Dolly on Tuesday, said that the total sum still outstanding was around $1.8 million.

“The actual sums owed to suppliers and artistes after the staging of CARIFESTA 2019, based on invoices received by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, is $1,873,176.60.”

He said the people and companies to whom these monies are owed would be paid by June 2020.

“It is expected that all payments would be made by June 2020.”

When asked regarding the delay in payments, Rambharat said there were various issues involved, but assured that the invoices had been processed.

“A variety of factors are involved. One is the timing of this…CARIFESTA was held very close to the end of the last fiscal year so that some payments, if invoices were received and processed before the end of the last fiscal year, those would have been processed and those invoices that were received after the start of the new fiscal year would have been in a position to be processed (around) October/November last year.

“The second factor would have been the actual receipt of the invoices and dealing with any queries and additional information required on these invoices. The rules of the public service in relation to the Exchequer and Audit Act puts a responsibility on public servants, in particular Permanent Secretaries, to verify payments which are required.”

“And thirdly, the process of requesting releases and ensuring that funds are available to allow the Comptroller to authorise the printing of the cheques and issue of the cheques to the persons.”

CARIFESTA which took place in August 2019, featured performances and contributions from a range of regional artists and suppliers in a bid to showcase Caribbean talent.

The CARIFESTA Grand Market reportedly had an attendance of around 35,000 people per day, according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert during a speech at the event’s closing ceremony.

Antigua and Barbuda was due to host the next Carifesta in 2021.

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