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)

AboutMr. 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

  1. That’s What You All Vote For,Take That Now,

  2. You know people asked who was moor corrupted. I think is the Pnm they invented corruption remember the unc was only there for five years how long the Pnm government in power for over fourth years so they learn from the best and continue to do so the problem is it has to stop one way or the other.

  3. Am wondering what size of trophy was being given , that it (the trophy) took twelve (12) people to help present it (the trophy) in Tobago.

  4. Say strong Mr. Smith…….and learn from your mistakes.

  5. That’s where accountability start..let shamfa pay her roaming fees..let smith pay ..leadership/management is about making decisions that are prudent .leading by example..but he giving these Lil children responsibilities that they clearly can’t handle..he fired nicole &marlene..let’s see how this unfolds…

  6. How about a glass door in the airport that cost $95000…or was it $96000?

  7. Trinidad politicians are the worst

  8. Great is d PNM i say Great is d PNM

  9. what so wrong with that kamla did worse with 10 million who she was with in the hotel room can’t remember that eh and anil with his girls smoking ganja talk nah .

  10. Years i have been saying THEY REALLY DO NOT CARE ABOUT US… POOR PEOPLE SUFFERING… NOTHING FOR WE AND OUR CHILDREN TO CALL OUR OWN….#$&@ THE GOVERNMENT….

  11. That must have been one very large trophy for twelve people to lift.

  12. Same old story…from one set of thieves to the next and we are masochists who.continue to.pay their bills as we suffer in silence.

  13. The stadium has an OSHA warning.

  14. why hasnt Akeem been able to “access” DYS?

  15. And these people studying how to fete with the money. Steupse

  16. Wonder why he took a king size bed

  17. Great is the PNM. Give allyuh any carp and we take it. Where is Roget and band? If was Kamla we calling for the heads though

  18. I am fed up with the two teams at firs Team 1the UNC and Team 2The PNM none better than none to Govern this Country same old khaki pants.same Tune they singing in the same choir

  19. Pay your Taxes to support these Ministers lavish lifestyles.You don know, ha ha.Same cut from the Cloth.

  20. All them Minister of sports is the same thing, come on Darryl Smith, if you know that you come out to shame this gov’t like that big mouth one who the UNC had, Anil Roberts, take your Georgie bundle and go, we don’t need that, and Kamla your gov’t was the worst so just shut up, if you all wasn’t so dam greedy you all would of been in power still, when you use the word corruption you should choke, who was more corrupted than the nasty UNC, Keith Rowley, get Darryl Smith ass out, fire him now, he and the one from Tobago who run up the phone bill, get rid of them, they only making you look bad, the ass they themselves playing,,

  21. Wen wud Trinidad an Tobago really get a govt to look after d people , an not dem selves , wen ,wen wen , wen lord????

  22. I didn’t do well with mathematics in school. So can someone tell me the difference between $500 million and $91,000..

  23. And how did Livewire arrive at that 91,000 figure. People allyuh meed to stop falling for sensational non meritous headlines.

  24. “Chasing after female staffers as though they were made out of chocolate”. Ey watch it dey with that thinly veiled racist color reference. Clearly your prejudice come shining thru. Ah dunno how d readers don’t see your true colors Mr. Livewire.

  25. I was woundering why they did not go after the last government for their doings and now I know ……..their turn reach

  26. This was so infruiating to read and watch i had to laugh…… but that cover photo tho wdma his hand on the girl arse and shes smiling wtf something really in the water they drinking at that ministry ent Anil

  27. SAMSON biblical warrior: in the Bible, an Israelite judge and warrior. He used his enormous strength to fight the Philistines, to whom he was ultimately betrayed by his mistress, Delilah(Judges 13-16) .

  28. Let him pay back this money! What the hell is going on here…….people catching hell and 91 thousand one one fker….bullshit!

  29. Any vacancies up for grabs yet? I actually qualified

  30. This ministry is cursed, needs an exorcism. Hunt, Roberts, and now Smith.

  31. I had the experience of working in government Ministry for the first time 2 years 2014-2016.whew what an experience. The PS was mad and spent how she wanted. the Minster was weak so she shut him down, In the end there was no accountability ,All TAX payers money, but who cares? New government, new Ministry and PS just simply moved on. Alls well that ends well, sweet T&T

  32. All the corruption of the last government according to Monoilal was public servants fault. the PS signed off. Its time the clear lines of demarcation be given to Ministers and PS. Let me play devil’s advocate if you were a PS and your Minister came to you with the bill similar to what Darryl took to the PS, How many of you would have had backbone to say NO. it easy to talk when you not tin the hot seat, but there are lessons here to be learnt and applicable to ones’ life.. what does it say about Darryl as a person, and similarly the PS and those who went on the joy ride. TRinis have sunk so low, we talk about poltiicans , but they are you and me. Its upward mobility in a place of power and temptation is strong , but is how you respond. what do you have internally. Darrly you was wrong , wrong wrong. likewise the PS

    • I would have said NO. As a matter of fact, I have terminated employees for being complicit. Ignorance is no excuse. I expect absolute integrity. If you see something say something regardless of whom committing the offense. If I am suggesting you do something that you believe is inappropriate I expect you to stand firm and say something. I am not afraid of learning something new. The problem is too many MPs and bosses in T&T walk around with chips on their shoulders and as a result commit embarrassing and compromising offenses.

  33. I have long said people in T&T have chosen sides of the political fence. Leaking email is a norm. what confidentiality clause in the work place. non existent.Desmond Cartey said ” “all ah we thief” and i add,No jail

  34. Way you see the PM and the opposition leader fighting to stay, or to get back in power, and the people calling for blood with everything going haywire, that minister ent have long to survive. Remember when the people called for blood from the then opposition? How much again was the number of scapegoats and guilty ones Kamla shafted?

  35. Ok I’m not the most IT savvy person here, but isn’t this kind of a dumbass way to check for a leaker?

  36. The permanent secretary had no back bone. She knew it was wrong and should have said “NO” but because the Minister of Sports made the request she cowered. Typical behavior of subordinates in T&T hence the reason corruption is so prevalent. Many T&T employees reasoned that as long as they could say the boss ordered or requested it that they are safe.

  37. There is no justification for this, it is simple, it was wrong and the PS must also answer

  38. Must have been a big trophy and the minister hands busy so he needed help

  39. Mr.Minister..Sir..if i were you i wont say anything anymore..$92.000 and that photograph says it all..then again i am not you…