Former Minister of Health Jón Kristjánsson encouraged the Opera Choir of Reykjavík to sing for senior citizens as agreed when the choir received a grant from the execution fund of senior citizens in 2004.
“This grant was given in good faith in my time as Minister of Health. I just hope they’ll keep their promise,” Kristjánsson told Fréttabladid.
The Ministry of Health has been criticized for handing out grants to different organizations from the execution fund of senior citizens that have no immediate relation to the elderly.
The Opera Choir of Reykjavík received ISK 500,000 (USD 7,600, EUR 5,700) in support from the fund in 2004.
The manager of the choir, Gardar Cortes, told Fréttabladid on March 17 that he had not known at the time that the grant had come from the execution fund of senior citizens; otherwise he would not have accepted it.
Kristjánsson explained that Cortes had sent him a letter dated September 17, 2004, asking for financial support.
Kristjánsson replied with a letter to Cortes, saying he would support the choir if it would give short concerts in six institutions where senior citizens live or undergo treatment.
In his letter, Kristjánsson stated the grant came from the execution fund of the elderly.
“In my time there was talk of permission to hand out small grants by the minister in consultation with the management of the fund for the elderly’s benefit,” Kristjánsson said.
Cortes told Fréttabladid yesterday that he remembered the letter Kristjánsson quoted, although earlier he had said that he had not been aware of where the grant had come from.
“It was my mistake, but we will live up to our end of the bargain and more than that, now that things are clear,” Cortes said.