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Monday 20 May 2019
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UPDATED: Tobago Chamber questions TFC’s usefulness

Interim chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber Martin George has described the Tobago Festivals Commission, headed by George Leacock, as a one-man show. George was speaking with Newsday on Thursday after the Festivals Commission decision to make Thursday’s Jazz on the Waterfront a free concert was announced.

The event at the Milford Road Esplanade was originally listed with an entrance fee of $50 per person.

Leacock told Newsday the free concert was something the TFC “just decided” to do.
But George said, “It calls into question the functionality and effectiveness and efficiency of the one-man show that the TFC has devolved into.

“This is part of the charade and pretence at doing business on behalf of Tobago when the reality for years is that the Tobago Jazz events are loss-leaders for the THA and Tobago generally.”
George said the decision makes a mockery of the $550,000 that was paid to Randy Glasgow Promotions to market the event. There was an uproar when this was made public, as there was no tendering process. The TFC said in an April 5 press release that “emergency action was necessary,” but never revealed what the emergency was.

“How then is this to be juxtaposed against the last-minute rushed half-a-million advertising contract, if we’re still going to end up giving away the events for free?” George asked, “From a business perspective, a tourism perspective and an accountability perspective, this entire Tobago Jazz Festival needs to be looked at afresh by a broad-based committee which has the expertise and know-how in handling international concert events, because we can't keep on like this – in a stumbling, bumbling, fumbling, mumbling approach to Tobago's business and its tourism products.”

He renewed his call for a full audit into the TFC, following an admission by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) lawyers recently that the commission is not a legally registered company.
He said that was necessary to ensure that Tobagonians were getting value for money and to ensure there was no nepotism or self-enrichment occurring under its aegis.

He added, “We also need the chairman and the board members of the TFC to be named by the THA and for them all to be made to be held accountable, so as to account to the people of Tobago for their stewardship and management of all the monies allocated to them.”
He said there had been too many recent knee-jerk, last-minute decisions, which should be planned well in advance and which might now be administered in a way to deprive Tobago-based businesses of any meaningful participation.

Newsday also contacted Tobago Entrepreneur chairman Kristal Manswell, but she was yet to meet with her members on the revelation.

This story was originally published with the title "TFC 'one-man show'" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

Interim chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber Martin George has described the Tobago Festivals Commission, headed by George Leacock, as a one-man show.

George was speaking with Newsday on Thursday after the Festivals Commission decided to make Thursday’s Jazz on the Waterfront a free concert. The event, at the Milford Road Esplanade, was originally listed with an entrance fee of $50.

Leacock told Newsday, the free concert was something they “just decided” to do.

George said, “It calls into question the functionality and effectiveness and efficiency of the one-man show that the TFC has devolved into.

“This is part of the charade and pretence at doing business on behalf of Tobago, when the reality for years is that the Tobago Jazz events are loss-leaders for the THA and Tobago generally.”

Newsday also contacted Tobago Entrepreneur chairman Kristal Manswell, but she was yet to meet with her members on the revelation.

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