secretary in the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment
Earl Nesbitt makes a point during a meeting of the Joint Select
Committee in the Parliament chamber, yesterday.
Brian Ng Fatt
BY COREY CONNELLY
The Green Fund has a balance of close to $466 million, permanent
secretary in the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment,
Earl Nesbitt, revealed yesterday.
He disclosed the figure during a meeting of the Joint Select
Committee in the Parliament chamber.
sum of $465,932,063.86 represents the current balance of the
Green Fund, held in a treasury deposit account, he told
JSC members, replying to a question from chairman Parvatee
represents the current balance, Madame Chair, as of yesterdays
Yesterdays meetingtargeting government ministries,
statutory bodies and state enterprisesfocused on the
operations of the Public Utilities Ministry as it related
to the Green Fund, Meteorological Services and the Forestry
Nesbitt said while the account was dedicated to the Green
Fund, arrangements were being finalised to have the funds
transferred to a treasury fund account to coincide with the
regulations and to facilitate the commencement of the disbursement
of the funds.
Giving an overview of the Green Fund, which was established
by the Finance Act of No 91 of 2000 to enable grants to be
made to community organisations engaged in activities related
to reforestation and conservation of the environment, Nesbitt
said a review of the policies governing the management of
the fund was undertaken in 2003.
He said this project was conducted by a technical committee
appointed by the Ministry of Finance.
committee found that the Finance Act 2000 did not provide
for proper accountability and transparency in the management
of the resources of the fund as should be applicable to all
public funds, he said.
He said Cabinet subsequently agreed that legislative changes
be made to facilitate the operations and administration of
There have been complaints by environmental groups that Government
had not been disclosing the status of the fund.
In September 2003, the Tropical Leaf Foundation, headed by
Environmentalist Eden Shand, called for the re-establishment
of the fund during a protest at Whitehall, Port-of-Spain.
Last year, the American Chamber of Commerce also called for
greater disclosure on the status of the fund and its use toward
greater environmental performance.
Opposition senator Wade Mark, a JSC member, took the ministry
to task for having such a large sum lying idle while
the environment continues to deteriorate.
Nesbitt said no funds had been distributed to NGOs and
community groups and assured members that the ministry was
working apace to re-implement the Green Fund.