By Neto Baptiste
Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, said he’s not distressed by the small amount of funds Citizenship by Investment Programme [CIP] received by his ministry during the first half of 2019.
The minister was, at the time, responding to questions regarding a report by the Citizenship by Investment Unit’s (CIU) operating account disbursements, which indicates that US $326,885.50 of the US $14,021,046.31 generated by the CIP for the first half of 2019, had been allocated to sports.
“We could always use more, but I recognise the challenges with all funds which come into the government’s coffers. I believe that the same report would have outlined that a lot of the CIP resources were used to pay Social Security and pensioners, and my conscience wouldn’t allow me to say ‘well give us more CIP funds to the detriment of the pensioners who have contributed their time to this country’,” he said.
The total amount paid out to sports-related activities from the stipulated period of 1st January to 30th June, 2019, accounts for just 2.33 percent of the total spent for the same period.
Matthew said he understands and recognises why larger portions of the CIP funds are utilised in other areas.
“If you looked at the CIP report — and I am trying to remember off the top of my head — you would see that quite a lot of the funds we did get, as small as the overall percentage was, was used towards athlete support and athlete development, and we’re happy with that. We realise there is value in that and specifically, I believe it was for Cejhae Greene while he was abroad where we gave some support to his continued training,” he said.
According to the report, the lion’s share of the US $326,885.50 spent on sports went to Cricket West Indies on 13th February, 2019, in the amount of US $250,000. This, Matthew said, was for the hosting of a recent series between England and the West Indies.
The second largest payout for sports, US $47,433.40, was made to USC Spirit, a US-based track & field equipment company, for the “purchasing of equipment for YASCO Sports Complex”.
Almost half of the disbursements (42.79 percent) made from the CIP in the first six months of 2019 was used to settle monthly pension payments. The document also disclosed that 10 percent of the US $14,021,046.31 transferred from the CIP account was used to finance the development of educational institutions across the island.