A call is being made for the minister responsible for culture to be removed.
A concerned individual with some affiliation to the country’s annual summer festival told Antigua News Room (ANR) that Minister E P “Chet” Greene is failing the ministry.
He said there is a habit within the Ministry of Culture not to pay its debts and when confronted with issues, the minister always seems to have no clue about what is going on in his own ministry.
Carnival 60 has been declared a resounding success, however, according to the individual, many service providers have not been paid.
The Festivals Commission had requested more monies to put into the festival and were given an additional $700,000 to bridge the shortfall of its $7.2 million budget.
The source said Prime Minister Gaston Browne should call on the commission to justify how the additional funds were spent.
“The prime minister needs to see to it that the minister of culture accounts for the carnival monies and see to it that everyone is paid. He also has to consider passing the Ministry of Culture on to someone else since the present minister never seems to be aware of anything. Obviously, it’s too much for him to manage,” the individual said.
According to the concerned individual, this habit of paying people only when they are needed to perform other functions must stop.
He accused members of the commission of travelling to other cultural events and using money which could be paid to musicians, tent operators, calypsonians and other providers to the summer festival.
Another person who was contracted by the Festivals Commission to host an event during carnival also complained of non-payment.
He said this is not new and expressed the hope that the body would get its act together.
However, Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Festivals Commission Maurice Merchant told ANR that all is being done to ensure that everyone who contributed to the success of carnival are paid in a timely manner.
“We would like to thank them for their patience as we go down a schedule of people that we have put in place. But, we are endeavouring to ensure that all of our service providers are taken care of soonest,” Merchant said.