Home / Live Wire / Barrow wheeled over to Social Development; PS transferred after Tobago spending spree

Barrow wheeled over to Social Development; PS transferred after Tobago spending spree

Natasha Barrow, formerly the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs’ Permanent Secretary and Sport Minister Darryl Smith’s personal travel agent, is on the move in the first notable fall-out at the MoSYA after last month’s infamous Tobago splurge at the Magdalena.

Barrow authorised a TT$92,000 bill for 12 ministry officials—including Sport Minister Smith, his wonderfully named personal assistant Cindy Cupid and his communications officer and chunkaloonks Kate Balthazar—to hand over one trophy in a 75 minute long THA Sports Awards function.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) takes a hands-on and communications officer Kate Balthazar.
Smith has a firm grip of the Sport Ministry’s assets; but who is looking out for the treasury?

A three day trip at a pricey hotel to deliver a single trophy—even as Paralympic gold medalist Akeem Stewart was searching desperately for TT$80,000 to aid his July 2017 World Para Athletics Championship preparations?

Barrow described it as value for money before adding that perhaps she “could have been a little more prudent in terms of the number of persons and the time frame.”

The Government’s response? Barrow will now serve as PS at the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services. Because if there is one State body that could do with same loose spending, it is the poor devils who rely on Social Development, right?

Presumably Barrow can now invite 11 officials for a weekend at the Hyatt before less than half their number head out on Monday morning to see disadvantaged persons served soup. Mr Live Wire wouldn’t trust Barrow to provide value for money with $100 at the Dollar Store.

Of course the problem is bigger than Barrow and the current administration. During her light grilling at the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee—Live Wire was hoping for deep fried but had to settle for sautéed—Barrow claimed that there was no limit or formula for spending on such trips.

“I would use my judgment,” said Barrow.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) and his then Permanent Secretary and travel agent Natasha Borrow.
Won’t it be cheaper to use Bookings.com?
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

In short, the KFC drive-through is a more efficient and professional workspace than the Trinidad and Tobago Public Service; because you can be damned sure that the woman at the window knows precisely how many ketchup packs she is allowed to serve you. And you better have a formal proposal in writing complete with recommendations and a guarantor if you expect to get mustard with that.

If the Public Service takes lessons from anyone, it won’t be a profitable private multi-national company. More likely than not, it is a certain global church that tends to misplace touchy-feely priests whenever an overwhelmed altar boy spills the beans.

So blogger Sharmain Baboolal’s fine investigative work means only that Barrow takes her “financial prudence” from one Ministry to the next.

A well-travelled Permanent Secretary, by this evidence, is about as trustworthy as a priest with a SnapChat account and dozens of stamps on his passport.

Say a prayer for the flock. Because we can’t seem to get rid of these flockers.

Photo: Fore! Cindy Cupid, the personal assistant to Sport Minister Darryl Smith, enjoys herself at the Magdalena golf course on a weekend excursion at taxpayers’ expense.

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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  1. Well we have some lip readers here

  2. Stan Patino it is a very huge deal ok, and all who give their accounting opinions and came up with what u came up with is all party die support, I didn’t vote for the same selfishness as the last administration ok, so 92k is and was a big spreeing waste.

    • Fair enough. You are entitled to your opinion.

    • It’s the truth and a fact not an opinion ok. We need to avoid these avoidable and embarrassing things, we need to think about our country and its citizens, and all the analysis came up with one analagy, as a minister u need to pay attention,

    • What is a truth and a fact? I was just allowing it to die but if you insist to hold onto the bone I will let you know that for a 4.5 star hotel the accommodation and meal expenses are in line. If you add the car rentals you come to the final figure. The insinuations of sexual misconduct are just that. Absolutely no facts. So you let me know what are your facts.

    • My fact is this go over and give out the award go with the engineer and do the site visit on the stadium and use the THA transport. And all of this could of been done in one day, and it would not of cost a cent, see I am privy to logical information that you are not, and we have enough evidence that it was a spree. So now the bone is in your bowl Dawg.

  3. Everybody must take responsibility for there actions.

  4. It was the same minister who said he knows nothing about her move

  5. What about the thirty four million from sports co any word yet just asking

  6. Is this the PM’s answer to the report? Or is he still too ill to read it?

  7. Ms Barrow, you were acting PS. We all learn from our mistakes and you still have a job, most importantly..

  8. Whatever came out of Min report to the Prime Minister

  9. Barrow just wheeling around Get it together PS.

  10. Transferring the problem, is not the solution

  11. Trinidad should get their own reality show yes the world would be the audience this place is a joke !

  12. PS in the Office of the PM: Ms Barrow, I see you you know how to sponsor a good lime.

    Barrow: Yes Sir. I can spend, brakes, and take the fall too.

    PS, OPM: Great! I’ve got an opening for you, when can you start? I need talent like yours in Social Dev., those poor people really tend to dampen the spirit there…always coming with some sad story about how they need food.

  13. We need to remove the “Permanent”. Everything will function.