HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy threatened Thursday to “reconsider” supporting additional state funding for the replica Amistad slave ship if the schooner follows through with plans to skip this weekend’s Sailfest in New London.
In a letter to Hanifa Washington, executive director of Amistad America Inc., Malloy said the schooner should be made available to Connecticut residents and the public. The state contributes about $400,000 annually to the ship, dubbed the Freedom Schooner Amistad. Amistad America works to raise awareness about racism and intolerance.
“Failure to bring the Amistad to New London would force me to reconsider support of additional state funding when negotiating future budgets with the Connecticut General Assembly,” Malloy said in his letter, dated Thursday.
A message left seeking comment with Amistad officials was not immediately returned. Earlier this week, Washington cited reasons for the decision to forgo Sailfest, including preparations for an upcoming Coast Guard inspection and what she described as hostile local newspaper coverage.
Malloy said it was “wholly unacceptable for Amistad America to break its commitment to a festival that brings hundreds of thousands of people to southeastern Connecticut” and that he doesn’t believe “any problems exist which could not have been raised in a more public manner months ago.”
On Wednesday, Washington said The Day of New London’s coverage of her organization’s financial problems has been hostile and inaccurate. She said given that coverage, she was unwilling to postpone crew training and rush inspection preparations to attend the festival. She said the schooner will be open this weekend at its dock in New Haven.
Tim Cotter, the managing editor of The Day, has said the newspaper’s stories have been accurate and he doesn’t see how the coverage is relevant to the decision to attend Sailfest.
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