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PM to answer questions on overseas trips today

Tuesday, February 11, 2014    

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PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller is expected to provide the House of Representatives with answers to questions today about the number of overseas trips she and her Cabinet ministers have taken since January 2012.

The questions, which were tabled by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness last December, asked Simpson Miller to provide information on the cost, team complement and the benefits of the trips to the country.

Criticisms of the frequent overseas trips by the prime minister and her Cabinet have triggered split views among the public. Some suggest that the trips may be in the interest of the economy, while others consider them a waste of public funds in a time of economic austerity. However, some critics have argued that they are not opposed to the overseas trips, but rather Simpson Miller's failure to report to the country or its Parliament when she returns home.

Simpson Miller, whose last trip was to Cuba for the social summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in January, countered that she will not turn down any invitation that could result in benefits to Jamaica.

"...Leaders are invited by heads [of government], and if they do not travel for those bilateral [talks] then your country would lose some benefits, and I do not intend for Jamaica to lose [out]," she argued.

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