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'No jazz on public funds'

Cabinet secretary issues strong warning to Gov’t officials

Friday, January 25, 2013    

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CABINET Secretary Ambassador Douglas Saunders has warned Government officials against using public money to attend the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival now on in Trelawny, the Jamaica Observer learnt last night.

The warning was issued on Wednesday in the form of an official circular to the financial secretary and permanent secretaries, a copy of which was obtained by the Observer.

"It has come to attention that some ministries and other public bodies may be contemplating the utilisation of public resources to facilitate the attendance of public officials and other persons at the forthcoming Jamaica Jazz and Music Festival," Saunders wrote in the circular.

"As such use of public resources would be inappropriate, you are hereby requested to ensure that no such expenditure is undertaken by your ministry or entities falling within its portfolio purview," Saunders added.

The Observer was unable to get in touch with Saunders last night. However, a highly placed Government source said that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had made it clear that Government officials attending the three-night festival must do so at their own expense, unless they were going there to work, and even then, any spending must be within reason.

The source was unable to confirm that the instructions were issued after it emerged that persons in the local government ministry were planning to buy a lot of tickets for officials and their friends.

However, the source said that the prime minister has always been firm that public funds should not be used for personal benefit.

"She is a very serious lady when it comes to public money," the source said.

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