Expensive gov't trips must bring rewards
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Jamaica is struggling with an economic crisis that demands concerned and frugal leadership.
Our national debt hovers above J$2 trillion. GDP growth is an anaemic 0.2%.
Unfortunately, we have a government whose members relish international trips to exotic places at taxpayers' expense. These sacred missions take them to the United States, Europe, Africa, China, South America and fine hotels in some Caribbean islands. Very rarely do we see trips to Haiti, Bangladesh or Sudan. We don't see an abundance of gifts or investments flooding the country from these excursions.
In 2014, it was revealed that the prime minister and her staff spent a total of $40 million for 25 trips. It appears that the prime minister and members of staff were, at that time, averaging two trips abroad every month.
It is reported that one trip by the prime minister to Ethiopia in 2013 cost taxpayers $6.5 million so that the Prime Minister could tour the land of her ancestors while attending a useless conference. All our governments have been guilty of this pressing desire to travel the world and return with a handful of impossible promises.
It is time that the Jamaican public demand comprehensive reports on these trips. Our news media should be informed of the purpose of all trips prior to departure and the results when our ministers return from these
conferences. Taxpayers should be made aware of the amount spent on world travel of our leaders in order to determine if these trips are worth the travel expenses.
We must demand frugal and transparent government.
R. OSCAR LOFTERS