Romping in Tobago: Part 2

The email requesting the inclusion of three uninvited guests to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Sports Awards Ceremony originated from the Personal Secretary in the Office of the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Maria Elena-Phillips.

Minister Darryl Smith must say whether he  authorized the email because he has  already deflected responsibility for the twelve member TT$91, 910.43 all inclusive party at the Magdelena Grand (May 19-22) to his Permanent Secretary.

The email from the Minister’s office  dated May 17th, and which  requests the inclusion of  the trio of Ms Cindy Cupid, Ms Melissa Assam,  and Ms Kate Balthazar  was sent one day AFTER the airline tickets for Assam and Balthazar were booked. 

The question arises in light of  the response of Minister Smith to  the firestorm created by the expose of the money spent for a weekend jaunt for  Smith and 11 other staff members for the award ceremony which lasted for all of one hour and 15 minutes, followed by a cocktail reception.

Admitting that “everywhere I go I take one of my assistants with me,” to the Trinidad Guardian  the Minister  said “ the other persons, you would have to talk to the PS. I think the two people’s names I am seeing is the Permanent Secretary’s assistant, who wouldn’t be invited and also communications,” he told the Guardian, throwing the responsibility on the shoulders of the PS.

This email, however,  did not come directly from the PS but was carbon copied (cc) to the Permanent Secretary from the Minister’s Secretary and his assistant Cindy Cupid.

It should be noted that the email requesting the “necessary arrangements” was preceded by  another sent from the Minister’s personal secretary to the Permanent Secretary, dated May 16th, which shows that Caribbean Airlines Flights for both Melissa Assam and Kate Balthazar were booked on the day before the formal request was sent to have the trio accommodated for the weekend.

Permanent Secretary, Natasha Barrow, who stated the cost incurred would have resulted from ”planned meeting with the THA” is now being asked to state why the official financial records of the Ministry of Sport does not reflect this. Instead all documents outlining costs  refer to the Tobago House of Assembly Awards.

Finally  here is the flight itinerary of the 12 member delegation which attended the awards ceremony on Saturday May 20th at which ten awards were handed out by the THA.

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