Ramsey-Moore: Dundonald St property lease above board

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Beverly Ramsey-Moore,
Pan Trinbago president – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

PAN Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore on Sunday said there is no impropriety regarding the organisation’s decision to sublease a property at Dundonald Street, Port of Spain.

She made those statements in response to claims from Opposition Senator Wade Mark about the matter at a news conference on Sunday.

Ramsey-Moore said the agreement was initiated on August 1, 2023. “This arrangement is for a duration of one year, during which we will be seeking a more permanent location.

It is crucial to note that our relationship is not with Dere Street Ltd or (Tourism, Culture, and the Arts) Minister (Randall) Mitchell directly, but solely with LMG Property Management.”

Mitchell said he was a 50 per cent shareholder in Dere Street Ltd, the property which Pan Trinbago is subletting. “At no point have I or Dere Street Ltd ever received rent from Pan Trinbago.”

Mitchell said there was a tenancy arrangement between Dere Street Ltd and LMG with the latter not being an agent of the former.

Ramsey-Moore said Pan Trinbago’s decision to sublease the property was driven by several factors. Those included the property’s larger size compared to its previous location, additional parking space, and significantly more square footage.

Ramsey-Moore said, “Additionally, the rental rate, when compared to the space provided, represented a value proposition that was too good to pass up, especially given the inadequate support our previous location offered for our growing needs.”

On these grounds, she added that the decision to relocate to Dundonald Street from Pan Trinbago’s former location at Victoria Avenue was a good decision.

Ramsey-Moore confirmed she had discussions with Mitchell about potential perception issues regarding Pan Trinbago’s move to Dundonald Street.

She also confirmed “he advised us to seek alternative accommodation within our lease term to mitigate any perceived conflicts of interest.”

Ramsey-Moore said Pan Trinbago’s rent payments for its current premises “are funded entirely through our internally generated revenues, including events, steelband registrations, and our proportional share in competition prizes.”

Government funds, she continued, are distinctly separate and are not used for the organisation’s leasing expenses. “This distinction ensures our financial dealings remain transparent and integrity-filled.”

Ramsey-Moore said, “Pan Trinbago is committed to judiciously managing both government support and our generated income.

Our focus remains steadfast on promoting steelpan culture and music, and we are dedicated to maintaining transparency and accountability in all our operations.“