Minister: So what?

By Julien Neaves
February 10, 2014 – newsday.co.tt

Dr. Lincoln Douglas, MPARTS and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas has denied claims by Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organi-sation (TUCO) president Lutalo ‘Brother Resistance’ Masimba that Government officials and their friends have been abusing free entry to Carnival events.

“I think it has been reasonable. If you give seven, eight, nine, 10, 20 million dollars to an event, or to support, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that members of Government should expect to go to these events and not be able to take a friend or two,” Douglas said.

He was speaking with Newsday following a media conference at the Congress of the People Operations Centre in Charlieville, Chaguanas. Last week Masimba in an interview with Newsday said the approximately $8 million State allocation for TUCO this year was “woefully short” as it had been in the past four years.

He also said that while the State would give funding to produce an event on the other hand Government officials would demand VVIP tickets for themselves and their friends, TUCO would have to find money to take care of their hospitality, and it was a case of giving with one hand and taking with the other.

Douglas in response said there was no problem with Government officials getting free access to Carnival events and bringing friends along. “How could the system be abused? The Government funds a lot of these activities and the members of the Government expect to go to the event. What’s abusive about that?” he asked rhetorically.

“I think the State expects and the members of the Government expect to be able to attend these events without having to pay to go. I doubt Mr Masimba is suggesting the Government pay to go to these events,” he added.

He also responded to Masimba’s statement that TUCO’s State funding is “woefully short of what is required to produce and promote the number of events and calypso tents”, and noted that Carnival stakeholders need to become sustainable.

“The State funds a lot of the arts and culture in Trinidad and Tobago to the extent that we believe those arts contribute to the development of the nation. The funding we give sometimes, especially for the stakeholders of Carnival, the original intention is that they would become more and more sustainable and that they would be able to use the options they have in the creation of opportunities to make themselves more sustainable,” he said.

Source: www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,190481.html

9 Responses to “Minister: So what?”


  • Maybe we should all go in free

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    I recently read where the president of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba took issue with the State funding Carnival events and then Government officials and their friends abusing free entry to these events.

    In reply to Brother Resistance’s remarks, Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas thought it reasonable. “If the State gives seven, eight, nine, 10, 20 million dollars to an event, or to support, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that members of Government should expect to go to these events and not be able to take a friend or two.” Douglas is reported to have said.

    He had no problem with Government officials getting free access to Carnival events and bringing friends along. “How could the system be abused? The Government funds a lot of these activities and the members of the Government expect to go to the event. What’s abusive about that?”

    What the good minister failed to understand is that State funds going to any event, Carnival or otherwise, belong to the citizens and therefore it is unreasonable for members of Government to go to these events and take “a friend or two” free of charge unless invited. If the minister has no problem going in free and taking friends, then we the taxpayers should also be allowed to go in free and “take a friend or two”, or three or four, after all it’s our money that a select few seem to be enjoying.

    C Peters,
    vie e-mail

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.tt/letters/2014-02-12/maybe-we-should-all-go-free

  • ….Mr Douglas has been a hapless buffoon from day one and this is just one of his many politically incorrect responses since assuming office, he speaks as though the money in the treasury belongs to him and his PP cohorts, I hear them call him doctor, makes me wonder what field he qualified in to be so addressed, I know a certain individual in my community they also call doctor,he sells herbs…the illegal kind…

  • This is what happens when we depends too much on gov’t. It does not matter who is in power. They will always have some leverage when there is total dependence. This nothing new.

  • If government gives TUCO every year how much million dollars what about the money they raise from tickets, how much does government need to spend in a single event then people complain about spending budget time. I don’t hear people talking about dropping food prices for everyone to enjoy a reasonable standard of living. On another note,people with money (government minister and others) always wants free thing at the end of the day while normal citizens have to pay the full price. Where is the justice in that?

    • Jerry Colin Hussain

      Thats the colonial way…the Queen sits down and expects the best from we sweat. Our leaders have copied that way very well.

  • The money the Government does not belong to individuals who work for the Government. It is tax payers money. It is tax payers who fund these events. So of those who work for their tax paying employers can enter pavilions free and bring along friends, then that privilege should also be enjoyed by the ones ante up the money.

  • Jerry Colin Hussain

    Is it government Ministers and their friends funding these Carnival events or is it the taxpaying public monies that sit in the treasury. Why these boldfaced morons do not go take a hike and do their jobs to make sure our monies are well spent for our development instead of looking to make gains ….this money is not for their personal enjoyment. This is just the problem with government ….they feel its theirs for the taking all the time. The PP should give an ear to what is happening in the Ukraine. When they do not perform we all suffer.

  • This practice of government ministers and party insiders attending social events for free is a long held tradition in T&T, started by the PNM. In the PNM days you not only got in free but your food and drinks were also free in special VIP sections not only in calypso tents but in the grand stand on carnival Monday and Tuesday, complete with waiter service. Panday and his government continued the practice.
    Why are you people behaving as if this is something new? It has long been accepted as one of the perks of being an MP.

    • Jerry Colin Hussain

      That still doh make it right….they stop going Maracus now…they want to be in everything ….must be a hidden agenda close at hand.

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