JAMAICA HAS been asked to review whether it is paying too much be in the big leagues.
The Public Sector Modernisation team, in its report to Cabinet, said the country should examine if it is getting value for money for its membership in regional and international organisations.
"A careful review of all membership fees to various regional and international organisations should be undertaken to ensure that the value derived from such membership will redound to enormous value added to the people of Jamaica," the report says.
An examination of the 2010-2011 Estimates of Expenditure indicates that Jamaica has been paying hundreds of millions of dollars yearly for membership in foreign organisations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, for example, will pay $278.2 million this year for "support for regional international and trade organisations as determined by treaty or membership obligations".
The Public Sector Modernisation team has said this ministry should be responsible for advising the Government on whether the fees being paid represent the best spend of taxpayers' money.
According to the foreign ministry's budget, CARICOM, the 15-nation bloc of Caribbean nations, is being paid $205.6 million for membership this year; the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery is getting $25 million; the Organisation of American States and specialised agencies, $9 million; and the Association of Caribbean States, $2 million.
The fees being paid for Commonwealth membership is $11.7 million, while payment to the United Nations is $12 million. Another $960,000 goes to the Group of 15 countries and the G-77 gets $808 million.
The country also pays $3.5 million to the World Trade Organisation, and $7 million to the African, Caribbean and Pacific secretariat.
In the area of national security, the country pays $8 million to Interpol. A total of $950,000 is being paid to the Caribbean American Drug Abuse Commission, plus $40 million for CARICOM.
Just under $49 million is being spent on membership for national security this year, which is a significant reduction in the amount spent in former years.
A total of $70.6 million was spent in the 2009-2010 and $89.5 million in 2008-2009 on what the Estimates of Expenditure describes as enabling "Jamaica's cooperation with international, regional and commonwealth organisations established to promote mutual development and cooperation between countries".