In consideration of government’s most pressing agenda and major recovery obligations Minister for Culture Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley said that he is not promising that the owed $300,000 from festival 2018 will be paid promptly.
The Minister who announced during a press conference on 5 April that the previous festival went over its government budget by $300,000 later announced during his appearance on the Honestly Speaking radio program on 9 April that the debt will be paid.
Hon. Whealtey stated that festival debt is nothing new. However, he explained that he cannot promise that the outstanding $300,000 will be settled immediately.
The Minister of Culture said, “I can’t mislead anyone to say that all those bills will be paid immediately. We will discuss a strategy for dealing with the bills and I can give the assurance that the bills will be paid.”
“We have arrears of approximately $300,000, and let me just say – it is not a new thing for festival to have arrears. He said that these arrears usually arise because of budgetary issues,” he added.
During his press conference on 5 April the Minister of Culture said that the previous committee left a debt of $300,000. In announcing that festival last year went over budget the Minister said: “Before we have even started, before we have even spent one red cent we are already in the hole by around approximately $300,000; and that’s based on unbudgeted expenses from the previous [NDP] administration.”
“I understand that festivals cost a lot of money and based on what it is we want to do, the allocation we currently have cannot cover that, so we have to make a decision whether we are going to allocate money which will call on money being taken from other areas or we are going to live within our means,” Hon. Wheatley stated.