The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) which has received an allocation of $6.5 million for Carnival 2018 has to repay a $4.2 million loan.
This was revealed by Culture Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly in response to a question raised yesterday by Opposition Senator Wade Mark in the Senate as to when Tuco will receive its subventions for Carnival.
Gadbsy-Dolly explained that Tuco was asked in late 2017 to submit their budget.
“However, Tuco has an outstanding loan which was taken against their 2018 subvention. And in the budget they presented…they presented no plan that took into account repayment of this loan to the NCC who has been forced to honour the loan.”
Gasby-Dolly said the NCC chairman wrote two letters dated January 5 and 11, 2018 asking Tuco for its urgent resubmission of its budget “given the fact that the competition (Calypso Monarch) is imminent and the indebtedness of the NCC must be taken into account when their budget is presented,” stating that the loan was taken against the subvention.
The minister said the matter had not been resolved at the moment.
She said Tuco received on November 7, 2017, two cheques totalling $200,000.
On December 21, 2017 the organisation collected an additional $400,000, while on January 19, 2018 they were paid $200,000 “all for recurrent expenditure as well as competition-related expenses.”
Gadsby-Dolly said while discussions are ongoing, Tuco has been receiving funding to assist with the implementation of upcoming Carnival events.
Asked when the Government would complete the payment of the remaining sum of $5.7 million to Tuco, Gadsby-Dolly said the balance of the allocation has to take into account the repayment of the significant loan that was negotiated by Tuco against this year’s subventions.
“As soon as Tuco is able to comply with the regulation that they must submit a budget that takes into account their repayment they would be able to supply their invoices as expected. However, that has not stopped them from getting disbursement of money.”
Mark asked the minister what was the quantum of the loan granted to Tuco.
“The amount of the loan taken against the $6.5 million 2018 subvention is approximately $4.2 million,” Gasby-Dolly said refusing to name the company from which the loan was sourced.
President of Tuco Lutalo Masimba said he was surprised that Tuco’s business had made its way into the public domain, stating that some of the information raised in the Senate was inaccurate.
Masimba denied that the 2018 Calypso Monarch was in jeopardy and they were still finalising a first prize for the coveted title, insisting that the organisation had been communicating with the NCC.
As for the loan which was approved by NCC, Masimba said it was taken “somewhere in 2016” so they would not be dependent on the Government.
Asked when the loan will be repaid, Masimba said Tuco has already discussed the matter with the NCC board.
“I don’t know why this would come up in the public arena,” he added.
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