Tue | Jan 19, 2021

PM defends overseas travels

Published:Friday | February 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer

Taking a swipe at her detractors, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday likened her overseas travels to those of the CEO of a firm seeking to maintain partnerships and attract new businesses.

Using a recent invitation from the European Union (EU) to visit Brussels, Belgium, as an example, Simpson Miller argued that her trips have been beneficial to the nation.

"When the head of the EU invited me to visit and participate at the women's conference in Brussels, for those who want to condemn, understand that you are condemning the contribution of this noble organisation that is the largest contributor to development programmes in Jamaica and the world," said the prime minister, who has felt compelled to defend her overseas trips on a number of occasions in recent weeks.

She was speaking at the handover ceremony for 39 housing units under the EU-sponsored Barracks Relocation project at Spicy Hill in Duncans, Trelawny.

answers to come next week

Questions tabled in Parliament last year about the overseas trips of the prime minister and members of her Cabinet since her administration took office are expected to be answered in Parliament next week. Those answers are two months behind the 21-day deadline for a response.

Phillip Paulwell, leader of government business in the House of Representatives, has indicated that the delay is due to the painstaking efforts being undertaken to ensure fulsome responses.

In further arguing that her trips are not for selfish purposes, Simpson Miller said that travelling is sometimes a tiresome affair, which sees her going for days without sleep.

"Do you think I want to travel for two days to reach anywhere, without sleep, without rest, just keep working?" she asked. "What I do is not about Portia, this is about Jamaica and the people of Jamaica."

In her defence against complaints from the Opposition and others that the country is not getting value for money from her trips, the prime minister argued that Jamaica's success in attracting investments was due to her approach.