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Holness questions costs of Gov’t’s overseas trips

Wednesday, December 04, 2013    

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OPPOSITION Leader Andrew Holness yesterday tabled questions in the House of Representatives seeking information from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on the frequency of overseas trips and the costs, as well as the cost of trips made by other members of the Government since Janaury 2012.

The opposition leader's questions follow the disclosure in the Senate on Friday by minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade Senator AJ Nicholson that the Government had spent more than $20 million for a 17-member delegation, led by the prime minister, to visit China from August 20-25.

According to Senator Nicholson, the trip cost the Government $19,680,537, including payments for "travel, subsistence and contingencies", which were paid from the budgetary allocation in the ministries of foreign affairs and foreign trade; water, land, environment and climate change; national security; and the Office of the Prime Minister, plus costs incurred by the embassy of Jamaica in Beijing, which amounted to US$3,461.84 or $366,869.52.

In his questions, Holness asked, among other things, the prime to declared the number of overseas trips she and other members of the Administration had taken since January 1, 2012; the costs involved, members of the delegations and their roles. Additionally, he has requested information on the "commitments made by other countries to the Jamaican Government and what commitments were made to them by the Jamaican Government".

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