Oct 26, 2015 News
The back and forth tiff between Government and the Opposition over the source of funding for the coalition’s inauguration ceremony continued last week, with no indication that it is abating.
Government has repeatedly told the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition that it has not spent a single cent from the Treasury to fund the grand inauguration ceremony held for President David Granger at the National Stadium.
The PPP/C, in turn, has repeatedly asked how much was spent and the source of funding, only to get the same response.
At the last sitting of the National Assembly, responses to questions posed by former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Frank Anthony were circulated.
Anthony questioned Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, about the money expended for the inauguration ceremony. Henry has responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, areas that now fall under the Ministry of Education.
The questions were posed in written form and therefore the Minister was given time to prepare responses.
Anthony asked the Minister to provide a detailed list of all costs incurred in relation to, and in preparation for, the Presidential inauguration events held at Parliament Buildings, at the Independence Arch at Brickdam, at the National Stadium at Providence, at the Pegasus Hotel, and elsewhere, including the clean-up campaign that preceded those events?
“The Ministry of Education, Department of Culture Youth and Sport was not required to provide any financial, technical, nor in-kind support in preparation for the Presidential Inauguration events held at Parliament Buildings, Independence Arch in Brickdam, Pegasus Hotel, and elsewhere.
According to Henry, even the cleanup campaign that preceded those events was funded privately.
He asked other questions only to be referred to the answers given for question one.
Anthony also asked for Henry to indicate when an audited statement of the expenditure incurred will be available and tabled in this National Assembly.
She responded, “The Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport is not in possession of any statement of expenditure, as no expenses were the incurred for the stated activities. Additionally the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport is not in any position to audit and or table same in the National Assembly given its nonexistence.”
This is not the first time the Opposition questioned the source of funding for the inauguration. The PPP also sent out statements, in the past on the very issue.
Further, only during the somewhat recently concluded Budget deliberations, PPP posed questions about the inauguration and received similar answers.
At that time there was a fall out over the questions given as a PPP online news service, Citizen’s Report, had misquoted Minister Henry in an article that made it seem as if the government spent tax dollars on the event.
Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland, had called on Citizen’s Report, to correct the article.
The reporter who had filed the story and who was present in the Parliament Buildings at the time did not correct the article.
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