Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly yesterday said a sum of $2 million has been allocated to handle maintenance of the Northern Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA).
Gadsby-Dolly made this disclosure during her contribution to the budget debate in the House of Representatives. Earlier in the sitting, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath claimed $2 million was being spent for a kitchenette at NAPA. He claimed this was part of a "big boy syndrome" being encouraged by the ruling People's National Movement (PNM).
However Gadsby-Dolly corrected him as she indicated this sum was for the maintenance of the entire facility. PNM MPs thumped their desks as she recalled that both NAPA and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando were never maintained under the People's Partnership (PP) from 2010 to 2015.
Gadsby-Dolly said for the first time, there is now a maintenance arrangement for NAPA and SAPA. She said if Padarath had studied the budget documents carefully, he would have seen that upgrades have also been done at Queens Hall and Naparima Bowl.
Gadsby-Dolly said plans to upgrade the National Museum in Port-of-Spain and open the Sugar Museum in Couva will move ahead in 2018. After identifying culture tourism as an important source of revenue for TT, Gadsby-Dolly said TT will host Carifesta 2019 and planning for the festival will be completed by the end of this year.
She also announced plans to open the museum on South Quay as a Carnival museum for locals and visitors to enjoy. Describing Oropouche West MP Vidia Gayadeen-Gopeesingh's earlier contribution as one of the most depressing ever delivered in Parliament, Gadsby-Dolly reminded her it was the United National Congress which demonstrated its uncaring attitude towards the population by refusing to support the passage of the Marriage Bill.
The bill, which now sets the 18 years as the legal age for marriage across the board, was proclaimed into law on September 29.
Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Christine Newallo-Hosein insisted the poor maintenance of NAPA was the PNM's fault and not the PP's. She also asked Gadsby-Dolly what would be the cost of security for Carifesta given the high crime rate in TT.