Why were statue funds not revealed?
QUESTIONS have been raised after the Treasury Minister’s initial failure to reveal that more than £36,000 of public money had been used to fund the installation of the Sir George Carteret statue in St Peter’s Village.
After tabling a written question in the States in June, Deputy Montfort Tadier was originally told by Deputy Susie Pinel that no government funds had been used in the project.
However, a revised answer has now been submitted in which Deputy Pinel has revealed that a total of £36,114.50 was spent. In 2014 £15,000 was provided by the Treasury Department, along with £1,114.50 from the Planning and Building Services Department – which the answer says is ‘believed’ to be a ‘percentage for art’ contribution from a developer.
The answer says £20,000 was also funded by Jersey Airport, which is also ‘believed’ to be part of a ‘percentage for art’ contribution from a development project.
In the response, it was also revealed that ‘no specific due diligence’ had been carried out by government officers prior to the transfer.
The response comes as the appropriateness of the statue has been called into question owing to Sir George’s links to the slave trade.
Now, Deputy Tadier says that Deputy Pinel’s revised response ‘raises more questions than answers’.
‘To be fair, people can make mistakes so I accept that but I know a freedom of information request was put in by a member of the public weeks ago to the States and the parish [of St Peter] to get details about funding of the statue,’ he said.
‘I have spoken to that person and they got an initial response from Treasury straight away saying, “No, nothing to do with us” which is a bit strange.
‘So I think the question is, why was there a wrong answer given in the first place? Was there any funny business going on? Was it just a simple error? And if it was, why did it take so long to fix that error? Also, why was there no due diligence carried out?’
Deputy Tadier, the Assistant Economic Development Minister with responsibility for culture, also raised questions over the ownership of the statue and who was ultimately responsible for it.
‘The funding is quite opaque really. We have been told time and time again that this is not a public statue. It is not owned by the parish,’ he said.
‘Also, why are Ports giving money to fund this statue? I am interested from a culture point of view and I think it is good that we have got publicly funded art but it needs to be an open and clear process.
‘I do not think this is public art. This seems to be someone’s pet project that seems to have used public funds in a not-very-clear way at the moment and we need to get to the bottom of it.’
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