There appears to be a growing rift between at least two members of the government over the construction of a stage in the sea at the Karukera One Love Music Festival with the Minister in the Ministry of Education Lovell Francis squaring off against Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat.
There is also evidence that the government knew two years ago about the plan to hold the concert in T&T with the construction of a stage in the sea and approved Francis’ visit to Guadeloupe on a “diplomatic mission” at the invitation of the promoter of the Karukera One Love Music Festival.
A Cabinet note shows that approval was granted for Francis to travel to Guadeloupe for four days in August 2018 so he could be feted by organisers of the Karukera One Love Music Festival. It cost taxpayers $5,474 to pay for Francis’ per diem for that trip.
Those funds were paid from the Ministry of Education under sub item Official Overseas Travel, a Cabinet Note dated August 2, 2018 stated. The brunt of the cost for Francis’ trip was borne by the Karukera One Love Events and included the cost of travel, accommodation and VIP tickets to the music festival.
Francis has been gushing about that trip on his social media pages since then. He also defended the construction of the controversial stage in the sea at Maracas Bay yesterday saying if it was built “there would have been no issues”. He said previous events done similarly were all problem-free.
Rambharat, who on Sunday instructed Commissioner of State Lands to rescind any support for construction of the stage in the sea in Maracas, said he could not recall Cabinet’s approval of Francis’ visit to Guadeloupe. Rambharat said since his involvement in the contentious issue from January 30 to now, Francis’ Cabinet-approved trip has not been raised.
Rambharat said he has had no interaction with the event’s organisers.