Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said on Tuesday that he was yet to be served with a legal letter from the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) requesting that he immediately approves and provide the full budgetary releases and allocations to TUCO’s Tobago zone for 2019.
In a legal letter circulating on social media last Friday, addressed to Charles, attorney Martin George, acting on behalf of TUCO, also queried the validity and legality of the Tobago Festival Commission (TFC), which it said, “handles and manages and dispenses and disburses millions of taxpayers’ dollars each and every year with apparently little or no oversight or statutory accountability.”
On Tuesday, Charles told Newsday Tobago, “I have not yet been served but I did see it (the letter) circulating on social media, that is what I saw.”
The letter, copied to TFC Chairman George Leacock, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, TUCO and the executive committee of TUCO’s Tobago zone, follows a January 25 announcement by the TFC that it will be hosting two calypso tents this Carnival season “to ensure there is an avenue for calypsonians to showcase their artform in Tobago for 2019.”
TFC said in its statement that it had received a proposed budget and list of activities from TUCO Tobago but that the body had resisted every effort to meet, discuss and finalise arrangements. It said that last year, nine calypso tents received funding from the Department of Culture but that the “expenditure proved fruitless as there as limited real calypso activity on the island.
“A similar course of action will undoubtedly lead to a similar result,” it said, referring to 2019.