Minister of Community Development Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly has said that no subvention cheque has been made out to the Chaguaramas Military Museum but promises delivery as soon as requested funds are released.
On Monday, at the unveiling of a Bust of the museum’s founder and historian, the Late Lieutenant Commander Gaylord Kelshall, his wife Linda Kelshall and the vice president Brian Mitchell said that no subvention cheque was released to the museum and as a result had to cut its already small staff.
They both explained that the $300,000 assist tremendously in offsetting monthly expenses such as salaries and utility bills.
Kelshall and Mitchell told the T&T Guardian that they did receive a call from an official at the ministry, who they understand is now retired, that the cheque was prepared and for them to collect. However, when Mitchell went to collect he was told that there was no cheque. Frequent visits after that for the cheque kept coming up empty handed until one day, Mitchell said he was told that the cheque was given to someone else.
However, in a release issued yesterday in an immediate response, Gadsby-Dolly said the systems, checks and balances for cheque preparation and disbursement are very stringent, “as such, the assertion that ‘it was given to someone else’ is erroneous.”
“It is not unusual for several outstanding payments to be made at the close of the financial year, checks in the relevant departments of the Ministry have confirmed that no cheque was prepared for The Military Museum for 2017/2018 financial year,” the minister said.
Nyan Gadsby-Dolly advised that the ministry, while committed to meeting its financial obligations to support the protection and preservation of T&T’s heritage and history, it depends on releases to do so.
“For financial year 2017/2018, requests were made for releases to provide subventions as per the Ministry’s mandate, and another urgent request has been made for releases to meet this and other outstanding financial commitments. Once received, payment of the subvention to the Military Museum will be made,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
Mitchell also mentioned that he felt as though history and preservation was not being given the importance that it deserves, however, the minister reassured him that the ministry “will continue to do its part in fulfilling its mandate to provide support.”
“The promotion and protection of the tangible and intangible elements of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural heritage can only be achieved through partnership with entities such as the Military Museum,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
- by Rhondor Dowlat