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PM should communicate better with Jamaicans to quell speculations, rumours, says analyst

Published:Thursday | January 2, 2014 | 11:50 AM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Political analyst, Kevin O’Brien Chang says Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s could put an end to the controversy over her administration's overseas travels if she starts communicating directly with Jamaicans.

Yesterday, The Gleaner reported that seven government ministers together racked up more than $25 million in overseas travel expenses in the first six months of 2013.

This does not include the millions of dollars spent on overseas visits by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her delegations.

According to Chang, Jamaicans understand that elected leaders are expected to travel to conduct business on behalf of the country.

However, he says the controversy over the millions being incurred from the travels could be the result of the Prime Minister’s seeming refusal to speak to Jamaicans on issues of national importance.

Chang says Jamaica is a democracy that is accustomed to questioning its elected leaders and getting answers.

He says Jamaicans should not have to expect a different treatment of Simpson Miller.

The $25 million spent by government ministers on overseas travels during the first six months of 2013 represent the Office of the Prime Minister and seven of the 16 ministries which responded to Access to Information queries.

The ministries, excluding the Office of the Prime Minister, reported 43 overseas visits in the first six months of 2013.

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