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London: Govt must help THA to fund Tobago panmen

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
THA Chief Secretary Orville London, right, presiding at the meeting of THA and Pan Trinbago officials on Tuesday at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex, Scarborough. Photo courtesy THA Information Department

The Central Executive of Pan Trinbago wants the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to contribute an estimated $3 million for funding accommodations, meals and ground transport for Tobago panmen participating in this year’s  Panorama semi-finals and finals in Port-of-Spain. Nine members of the central executive of the pan body, led by president Keith Diaz, met with THA Chief Secretary Orville London, Secretary of Community Development and Culture Tracy Davidson-Celestine and Chief Administrator Dr Ellis Burris to present a case for the funding.

However, London said while the Assembly had assisted the organisation in the past two years it was not prepared to get involved until Pan Trinbago demonstrated it used every possible means to get the money from where it should come from. He said Pan Trinbago’s request of $50 million for the 2012 Panorama and its receipt of $25 million from the Central Government was based on the premise it was the responsibility of the national Government, and therefore the responsibility of the Ministry of Multiculturalism and the National Carnival Commission (NCC). London said the request from Pan Trinbago was almost half of Tobago’s Carnival budget, including its Pan Champs competition.

He said the Assembly had made it clear Trinidad and Tobago was one country and consequently when there was a national competition, the national bodies, the national Government were the institutions that took responsibility. He told the panmen their first order of business was to write the Minister of Multiculturalism “who is willing to talk about a second Carnival but he can’t handle the first one.” He added: “Let the Minister tell the people of Tobago why he is not providing enough funding for the Tobago steelbands to go to Trinidad. “It is only in those circumstances that we will come like the knight in shining armour to defend our people but we will not jump in now because once we jump in now we take over the fight.”


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