Chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Winston “Gypsy” Peters told regional Carnival bodies if they cannot account for taxpayers’ money spent on previous Carnival events, they will not be provided with any funding for this year’s celebrations.
The warning came from Peters during a telephone interview with Guardian Media on Monday.
He said several regional Carnival bodies had failed to submit invoices for Carnival since 2015.
Peters said many of them have refused to submit bills and invoices as to how they spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money.
Last April, Peters said the NCC wrote all regional bodies asking they provide an account of their spending for Carnival 2018.
He said 90 days after Carnival this request must be fulfilled.
“We got back some accounts from some of the people. And we have not gotten back from quite a few of them...San Fernando included. As far as I am told those are going to have a challenge. We want accountability for the money they have spent. This is something they have to do every year. Some of them errant... they did not do it. Actions without consequence are what causing the delinquency.”
Peters said there must be consequences for not complying, noting accountability was nothing new to NCC.
He said some of the regional bodies had not submitted Carnival bills for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“Some complied and some of them have refused to comply. They know who they are. There are bodies who control these Carnivals. We are saying that it boils down to this that we want the accountability and if we don’t get any accountability they will have problems in getting subventions. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
Tomorrow, Peters will appear before a Public Accounts Committee at Parliament Building.
The committee will examine NCC’s expenditure for the financial years 2010 to 2018.
“If I can’t give some explanation as to how our monies were spent it will put us in a bad light. We have one set of people whom I know was supposed to be given money, as far as I know, for the prizes and instead of doing that, I heard they take the money and build some gate or the other with it. It’s a lot of things,” Peters said.
As to those who have failed to give an account of their spending, Peters urged them to change their management structure.
“Get other people to run their business...people who can account. We cannot continue to give the same people who are there the money and then they are not accounting for it.”
Peters said regional bodies who cannot give an account of their spending would be provided with a managerial team. He said NCC has an obligation to host Carnival 2019.
“But we are not going to go along with the same set of people who are not accounting for the money and give it to them to spend again.”