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Pan Trinbago threatens lawsuit over $$ matters

Trinidad Express / PANTRINBAGO has announced its intention to take legal action following claims of serious financial mismanagement made this month by former vice-president, Bryon Serrette, which the organisations said yesterday has impacted its funding ahead of Carnival 2017.

In a media statement and a full page newspaper advertisement, the Pan Trinbago condemned Serrette’s claims that mismanagement had put the historic organisation at risk of shutting down and said the smear on its name was affecting its ability to access funds.

Serrette, who resigned earlier this month resigned, also called on the Pan Trinbago executive to step down with immediate effect.

Serrette’s resignation followed the delivery of an independent audit by PKF Chartered Accountants, which stated that the organisation faced an Accumulated Deficit of $10,485,685 as at 30 June 2016, while liabilities exceeded its current assets and investments by $14,954,960 as at year’s end.

Pan Trinbago subsidiary, International Conference and Panorama, was also noted to have outstanding liabilities totaling $9,081,621, which the Organisation may be liable to pay in the near future.

Serette has since raised numerous concerns about “questionable transactions”, including the alleged purchase of two cars, a BMW X5 and an Audi Q7, by Pan Trinbago’s president Keith Diaz.

Pan Trinbago has since described Serrette’sclaims as erroneous and stated in its advertisement yesterday:

“Recently, statements have been made in the press on Pan Trinbago’s financial viability, which has significantly impacted on the organisation’s corporate branding and its release of funds from the National Carnival Commission (NCC).

“In this regard, Pan Trinbago has reserved its right to pursue the appropriate legal action to protect its brand and membership.”

The organisation further stated that 59 per cent of the accumulated debt is based on “events to develop the sector, where often, cash-inflow is mis-matched to expenses”.

“Approximately 72 per cent of the funding to meet the short-fall from events, or 43 per cent of the debt, is due from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and remained outstanding at the end of the 2016 financial year,” Pan Trinbago stated.

The organisation said it “prudently anticipated delays in funding from the GOTT” and negotiated appropriate financing lines with its bankers and deferred other trade payables to 2017 and 2018.

“It is anticipated on receipt of these funds and the re-constructed debt, Pan Trinbago’s year-end accumulated liabilities will decline by 48 per cent.

The organisation also noted statements by the auditor that, “Notwithstanding these facts, the financial statements have been prepared on the going concern basis. This basis has been deemed appropriate in view of the organisation’s ability to continue its operation using internally generated cash flow and funding from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.”

Yesterday’s advertisement also outlined some of Pan Trinbago objectives and initiatives, in addition to traditional expenditure associated with infrastructure and administrative costs for Carnival, prize-giving expenses and costs associated the with annual Panorama competition.

In a previous statement, the organisation had said of Serrette’s claims:

“It has been said in some quarters that Mr Serrette’s ambition is to be President of Pan Trinbago. We have no quarrel with this but we continue to be a democratic organisation and we strive always to do the best for our membership.”

The organisation, which was stablished in 1949, also yesterday thanked its corporate sponsors, membership and all those have continued to express confidence in its central executive.

In a media statement yesterday, Pan Trinbago PRO, Michael L Joseph, stated:

“Pan Trinbago presents an audited statement of accounts to its membership, and copies are sent by the secretary to the line ministry and other relevant agencies as soon as it is ratified and passed at its annual conference held for that purpose once a year. All allegations of misappropriation and corruption made by the former vice president who served for over seven years, are malicious, unfounded and unfortunate.”

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