Wed | Dec 8, 2021

Put restriction on gov't-issued phones

Published:Wednesday | May 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Editor Sir:

Jamaican public officials have a penchant for abusing privileges that comes with the office we have seen this over the years. But with increased scrutiny and the demand by watchdog agencies and an increasingly informed public, for transparency , accountability and frugality as it regards public spending , from those who govern our affairs, the call, it seems, has been deliberately been ignored. The use of government-issued cell phone is one such example that keeps raising its ugly head.

I viewed with amazement the revelation recently on TVJ that government ministers raked up, over $2 million in phone charges. One minister, Mike Henry, was said to have amassed a total of $ 695, 884.99 in call charges, with Edmund Bartlett, tourism minister, following closely with a 623, 884.99 bill and the list continued with other ministers.


Critical , but different?


The Jamaica Labour Party, while in opposition, was quite critical of the People's National Party, when it was revealed that Arnoldo Brown, a junior foreign minister at the time, accumulated call charges, amounting to $1 million. His explanation was a frivolous and irrational response, noting that the cost were due to the high cost of roaming. Mr. Mike Henry has somehow adopted the same line of excuse. It would seem that there is no clear policy on the use of government phones, and this can lead to undesired consequences.

Perhaps the solution to addressing this problem is that a cap be placed on calls allotted to each minister according to the demand of their duties with explicit instructions to cell phone providers to initiate disconnection procedures if the allowed parameters are breached.

Errol McLeish

Greater Portmore

St. Catherine