The Government of St. Maarten will fit the bill for the Audit of St. Maarten Carnival Foundation, SCDF's books says Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication TEATT Minister the Honourable Stuart Johnson, who signed a document on Thursday authorizing the financial Audit.
Now that the Minister has signed the document, the Government Accounting Bureau SOAB will commence its official Audit of the SCDF's books. Minister Johnson said on Thursday afternoon that the Council of Ministers had decided on March 13, this year that the SOAB would audit the financial statements of SCDF for 2017.
Johnson explained that as a condition of Government issuing the Naf.350k subsidy to the Carnival Foundation, SCDF would have provided audited financial statements for the previous year. This Audit should have been done and submitted to the Council of Ministers by June 1, 2018.
“Carnival in St. Maarten is a major driver of economic activity. We use the event each year as a vehicle to promote the destination as it gives added value to our visitors. We must do our utmost to protect the integrity of the Carnival each year, and that includes ensuring that the financial position of the SCDF who organizes the event each year is solid, bearing in mind that the subsidy they get each year comes from the taxpayers," said Johnson.
The SCDF hosted this year’s Carnival, which was a success as the event attracted thousands of visitors who came to the island to join in the celebration. Johnson's concern is that too many negative comments are circulating on social media and within the community regarding the SCDF's handling of its finances, which included claims that some individuals who won prizes have still not been able to collect.
Johnson said, "As a former President of the SCDF my goal is to ensure that the foundation remains a viable one. Once the Audit is completed, we can identify areas where improvements are needed for better financial management so that we can move forward. We cannot afford to wait too long to plan next year's Carnival, and it is, for this reason, we must ensure that the foundation meets its administrative responsibility quickly by providing the details to the SOAB for the completion of the Audit which I have every confidence they will do."