IN HIS OWN WORDS: Junior Minister justifies $1m cellphone bill
The junior foreign minister Arnaldo Brown has released a statement seeking to justify his $1 million cellphone bill over an 11-month period.
In a statement from Georgia, United States, where he is now on official business, Brown said from July 2013 to June 2014, he went on 15 trips for official business.
He explained that while the bills were high, the expenses incurred were necessary to maintain contact with Jamaica and the diaspora.
SEE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
I understand the public concern over telephone expenses incurred during the twelve (12) month period July 2013 to June 2014.
During the period, I went on 15 overseas assignments on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica.
I visited several countries, including the United Kingdom, Turkey and Indonesia.
The call and data charges were incurred as I executed my duties as Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Whilst on overseas assignment, it is necessary to be in contact with, and be accessible to the Ministry, key stakeholders and the Diaspora by phone and email.
The concern of Jamaicans is fully understood and accepted, and without more information, I know the impression that such expenditure may convey.
I acknowledge that the bills are very high, largely attributed to data and roaming charges.
However, it is important for everyone to know that these bills were incurred genuinely as I carried out my work and because of the high cost of roaming for voice and data services.
In going forward, I intend to put in place measures to ensure a reduction in the cost of these bills.
Currently, I am on official business overseas and I am more than willing to address this issue and to give a more fulsome response upon return.
Hon. Arnaldo Brown, MP.
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