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Morris questions $291,094 Carnival trip for 10 THA reps

How­ev­er, Tourism Di­vi­sion sources said Au­gus­tine apol­o­gised on TV on the is­land for late no­tice of the trip, adding it wasn’t the di­vi­sion’s fault

To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA) Mi­nor­i­ty Leader Kelvon Mor­ris has raised queries and slammed the PDP-run THA over a trip to Grena­da’s Car­ni­val for a 10-mem­ber group al­leged­ly cost­ing ap­prox­i­mate­ly $291,094.


“Why is it nec­es­sary to send ten peo­ple, in­clud­ing per­son­al as­sis­tant, on any such mis­sion–and worse, not in­form the pub­lic un­til af­ter? PDP told To­bag­o­ni­ans they were com­ing to fix things, but the on­ly things they seem to be fix­ing is them­selves,” Mor­ris said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Mor­ris spoke af­ter THA Chief Sec­re­tary Far­ley Au­gus­tine on Wednes­day said a 10-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion from its Tourism Di­vi­sion is cur­rent­ly in Grena­da par­tic­i­pat­ing in that Car­ni­val and dis­cussing fur­ther­ing twin­ning of Grena­da’s Car­ni­val with To­ba­go’s

Au­gus­tine said To­ba­go has his­tor­i­cal ties with Grena­da and some To­bag­o­ni­ans have rel­a­tives there

But Mor­ris yes­ter­day said, “Yet again, this PDP ad­min­is­tra­tion’s em­barked on a joyride us­ing scarce tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey, fail­ing to in­form To­bag­o­ni­ans de­spite Far­ley’s promise that ‘smart­man’ be­hav­iour won’t be re­peat­ed af­ter Wat­son (Duke’s) em­bar­rass­ing trip to Dubai.

“Con­tempt for ac­count­ing to the pub­lic on use of their monies has been re­peat­ed. Al­most $300,000 spent is a lot of mon­ey in the con­text of To­ba­go. But at no time in our meet­ings or press brief­in­gs was this trip an­nounced. We on­ly heard on TV af­ter they left.”

Mor­ris cit­ed doc­u­ments show­ing ex­pense amounts for the 10 to at­tend Grena­da’s Car­ni­val, over Au­gust 2-12. They in­clud­ed an As­sem­bly­man who is the Tourism Di­vi­sion’s as­sis­tant sec­re­tary, her per­son­al as­sis­tant, the chair­man and deputy chair­man of To­ba­go’s Oc­to­ber Car­ni­val Com­mit­tee, a video­g­ra­ph­er, three artistes, a pan­nist and Ms To­ba­go Her­itage 2022

Mor­ris sub­mit­ted cost list­ings for each stay, rang­ing from $10,721 to $44, 843

Al­so cit­ed was a let­ter to Megan Mor­ri­son from Spice­mas Cor­po­ra­tion in Grena­da which pro­posed a “Car­ni­val ex­change,” invit­ing the To­ba­go Car­ni­val Com­mit­tee mem­bers to Spice­mas and propos­ing giv­ing To­ba­go artistes guest ap­pear­ances at events.

Mor­ri­son is a THA As­sem­bly­man and As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary in the Di­vi­sion of Tourism, Cul­ture, An­tiq­ui­ties and Trans­port

Mor­ris said, “The Chief Sec­re­tary must ex­plain on what ba­sis did the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil ap­prove an un­signed let­ter that was poor­ly writ­ten and sus­pi­cious­ly ad­dressed to an in­di­vid­ual, rather the of­fi­cial ti­tle hold­er?

“The Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Di­vi­sion al­so must ex­plain how such a doc­u­ment was cer­ti­fied and processed as ac­cept­able and whether the Tourism Di­vi­sion would have breached fi­nan­cial rules of the Ex­che­quer Act by pro­cess­ing the pay­ment us­ing an un­of­fi­cial, un­signed in­vi­ta­tion let­ter.”

Au­gus­tine didn’t re­ply to calls yes­ter­day nor did Tourism Sec­re­tary Tashia Bur­ris.

How­ev­er, Tourism Di­vi­sion sources said Au­gus­tine apol­o­gised on TV on the is­land for late no­tice of the trip, adding it wasn’t the di­vi­sion’s fault.

To­ba­go Oc­to­ber Car­ni­val Com­mit­tee head Me­sha Trim yes­ter­day re­ferred queries to the Tourism Di­vi­sion

Trim is among those list­ed for the Grena­da trip but said due to her sched­ule, she couldn’t go for the en­tire pe­ri­od