Minister promises cheque for Military Museum

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

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