Home / Live Wire / Tobago love?! LiveWire does the maths as Sport Ministry spends TT$91K on weekend excursion

Tobago love?! LiveWire does the maths as Sport Ministry spends TT$91K on weekend excursion

First, the good news. Thank God that Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe didn’t ask her Cabinet colleague, Darryl Smith, to tag along to the Bahamas.

There has been precious little worth celebrating at the Ministry of Sport ever since the super-sized Diego Martin Central MP squeezed through the front door and started allegedly chasing after female staffers as though they were made out of chocolate.

Photo: The hand of god? Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) takes a hands-on approach to communication at the ministry with employee Kate Balthazar.
Photo: The hand of god?
Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) takes a hands-on approach to communication at the ministry with employee Kate Balthazar.

But, frankly, this is starting to get ridiculous. An investigative report by veteran journalist Sharmain Baboolal revealed that Smith had his Ministry spend TT$91,910.43 to hand out a solitary trophy in an event, the THA Sports Awards, that lasted barely an hour and 15 minutes on Saturday May 20.

Maybe you didn’t get that part. The Ministry of Sport was asked to hand out one trophy at the THA Sports Awards and Smith spent the equivalent of an Olympic athlete’s annual funding disbursement to do so.

So much for austere times, eh, Colm? Although, to be fair, it would take a brave man to try and tighten Smith’s belt.

When asked about the need to fly to Tobago for a nondescript event with more people than the total number of athletes to be honoured that night, Smith told CNC3 that he was only responsible for his personal assistant—the aptly named Cindy Cupid—and they should ask his Permanent Secretary, Natasha Barrow, about the rest, which included his communications officer and sometimes squeeze, Kate Balthazar, and advisor Garvin Warwick.

He didn’t even hesitate, under the most gentle of cross-examinations. Even Peter had to be asked three times before he disavowed Jesus. Smith served up Barrow like she was a side of fries.

Barrow weakly suggested that the three day Tobago excursion included several important meetings. But several staffers who spoke to Wired868 contradicted her account.

Photo: Fore! Cindy Cupid, the Sport Minister's personal assistant, shares a photo on Instagram of a "staff meeting" at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Tobago.
Photo: Fore! Cindy Cupid, the Sport Minister’s personal assistant, shares a photo on Instagram of a “staff meeting” at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Tobago.

The only other notable appointment that weekend in Tobago was an inspection of the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet and less than half of Smith’s 12 staffers attended while the Minister himself was absent.

And, crucially, the main people for that site visit—including CEO Adam Montserin—came from Trinidad and returned on the same day. Otherwise, God knows what Smith and his dirty dozen were up to.

Smith did offer some consolation to the Trinidad and Tobago public on his Ministry’s use of taxpayers’ money at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort.

“Ent is the government’s hotel?” Smith asked rhetorically. “So the money staying in the system.”

It betrayed a level of economic ignorance that was so brazenly repulsive and insulting and yet, at the same time, full of such absolute childish ignorance that one had to stop and stare, open-mouthed—like looking at a stool the size of a papaw in a public restroom.

Keithos, can we have a courtesy flush at the Ministry of Sport, please?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) has a laugh with NAAA president Ephraim Serrette at the 2016 NAAA Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 25 June 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) has a laugh with NAAA president Ephraim Serrette at the 2016 NAAA Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 25 June 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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338 comments

    • Gosh I cringe every time they use the 3rd person to say what they think?. Manning used to to do the same crap. All it does is make him appear arrogant

      “This Prime Minister has very high standards and it is very difficult for him to be satisfied.”