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Baptists applied for funds late
Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Nyan Gadsby-Dolly are describing statements by Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke that the People’s National Movement (PNM), did not give her organisation “one red cent” to conduct their Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day celebrations on Saturday as misleading.
In addressing worshippers during the Council of Elders of T&T event at the Empowerment Hall, Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Maloney, on Saturday, Gray-Burke initially claimed the Government did not put a “red cent” towards their event.
“The Government always gives us funding for our national holiday, would you believe this year they didn’t give us a red cent? But we are celebrating, you know why? We are strong women, strong men,” Gray-Burke told the congregation. She said apart from no funding from the Government, new rules established by the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) requiring a $1,200 deposit to be made for the use of buses, apart from the actual rental fee, also affected the financial aspect of Saturday’s celebrations.
But in an interview yesterday, Gadsby-Dolly told the T&T Guardian Gray-Burke’s statement was beguiling, as funds had already been allocated, approved and will be disbursed next week to the organisation. She said there was a time frame in which all cultural, religious and other groups need to apply for state funding in order to receive it in time for their events, which they are made aware of. However, if that time passes and applications are not made in a timely fashion, this accounts for the late receipt.
“The receipt of Government funding is a function of the time-frame in which the group applies and the availability of funding. We have a two-month lead time, which most groups do not stick to,” Gadsby-Dolly explained
She said applicants like Gray-Burke, who receive Government funding annually, without fail, are well acquainted with the system and of the fact that funding may be received after the event based on those two factors.
“As indicated in the Parliament on March 28, funding has been approved for Ms Burke and other applicants for the Shouter Baptist holiday and will be disbursed next week. Efforts were made to contact groups to indicate this,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
On Thursday 29, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on behalf of Gadsby-Dolly announced in the House of Representatives several baptist groups were to receive the sum of $120,000 to support celebrations of the observance. Gray-Burke’s organisation was one of the several groups listed to receive $40,000.
Ironically, in an interview with CNC3 before she took to the stage at her organisation’s event on Saturday, Gray-Burke admitted that one of her members had gone to the ministry to collect the cheque and was told it was not yet ready. She also went on to express her frustration at the amount of funding her body was receiving, noting that other baptist organisations were getting as much as $.4 million for their activities while hers had been getting only $40,000.
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