Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Darryl Smith is today being accused of abuse of public funds after a recent trip with a delegation of officials to Tobago last weekend.
According to a story in today’s Guardian newspaper, the issue reared its head after information leaked on social media that a $92,000 bill had been accumulated by a 12-member team of ministry and Sports Company of T&T officials for a stay at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.
A blog on social media revealed that the minister was on the island to attend the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) Sports Awards on Saturday.
The Guardian notes that the blog posted by Sharmain Baboolal, along with supporting documents, claimed only nine of the 12 officials were initially invited by the THA.
Three more people, the minister’s personal assistant Cindy Cupid, communications officer Kate Balthazar and Melissa Assam, executive assistant to the permanent secretary in the ministry, were added after a special request.
The hotel bill for 12 rooms for a three-night stay accounted for $77,910.43.
A further $10,400 was for the rental of four cars while $3,600 represented their airfare, bringing the overall cost to $91,910.43.
The issue from many on social media of abuse of spending and follows closely on the heels of an exorbitant phone bill belonging to Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe after a trip to the Bahamas.
The Minister of Sport says those behind the distorted allegations are doing so with the view of ousting him from office because of the changes he has been making in the Sport Ministry since taking up office.
He made the comments this morning on the Power Breakfast Show on Power 102.1fm.
The Sport Minister explained that he was invited to Tobago to attend the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) Sports Awards on Saturday
He said that a number of people were invited including their legal team who has been working very closely with them, their Youth Director and Sports Director.
He revealed that as the Sport Minister he attends a number of events and his personal assistant is always present.