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Financial performance of August Festivals to be released soon - Hon Wheatley

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) at the first edition of the Carrot Bay Festival Market in the Carrot Bay community on August 10, 2019. Photo: VINO/File
Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee, Mr Carnel D. Clyne. Photo: VINO/File
Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee, Mr Carnel D. Clyne. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The economic performance of the 2019 August emancipation festivals including expenditure will be released as soon as the financial report is available, this is according to Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), speaking to this news website.

At the July 31, 2019, sitting of the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA), the Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) had requested a detailed breakdown of each expenditure proposed and that actually budgeted for the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival, East End/Long Look, Road Town and Carrot Bay festivals for 2016-2019 and the list of expenditure paid and unpaid.

Financials will be announced - Hon Wheatley 

However, Hon Wheatley said he was unable to provide the information as a result of poor financial records by the VIF&FC under the NDP administration.

In hailing the project as a success under the new Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs (VIV&FC) Chairman and Executive Committee, the Minister noted that even as there were a few setbacks, moving forward, tweaks will be made to make the organisation more efficient.

“We also need some tweaks on the organisational side and I will have a better idea of our financial performance once we have a full financial report,” Hon Wheatley told Virgin Islands News Online, Yesterday August 10, 2019.

He thanked both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, the Executive Committee, the Subcommittees at the VIF&FC and all stakeholders for the participants for their hard work in making the event a success.

It is unclear if the report will be made available in time for the next Sixth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly scheduled for Monday, August 26, 2019.

Hon Penn Blasted Gov't 

In requesting the financial information to the house, Hon Penn had blasted the government over non-availability of 2019 records even as records for the VIV&FC under the National Democratic Party (NDP) government were inaccessible.

“You’re telling me that at least for this year… there’s no records of how we’re spending that money or no projections in terms of how that money is being spent, that you could bring to this Honorable House? At least for this year?” Hon Penn questioned.

Mr Wheatley in his response had said that since the festival was an ongoing celebration, the full financial details would be made available at the conclusion.

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