An upset Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, came before the media today to correct what she says are “inaccuracies” that are being peddled about the food catering bill for Parliament.
Earlier this week, the Kaieteur Newspaper reported that for every sitting of Parliament, the food catering bill stands at around $700,000.
The report created a firestorm on social media as it painted a picture of resources being wasted on the 65 Members of Parliament. Then on Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo jumped into the controversy by stating that expensive liquor is also part of the menu in the Members Lounge at Parliament.
While the Parliamentary Office, did not officially respond to the reports, Minister Hughes said she could not sit back as a Member of the House and allow “inaccuracies and lies” to be making the rounds.
She explained that the parliamentary food catering bill actually represents the costs for catering for over 300 persons since its not just the MPs who draw their chairs to the tables. She explained that the more than 100 parliamentary staff, drivers and security, media and guests are among those who also partake in the meals. She said she cannot understand why there was a “deliberate” effort to spend inaccuracies as if the figure represented catering for the MPs alone.
With regards to Mr. Jagdeo’s contention that liquor was also part of the menu, Minister Hughes said that is a total lie and “fake news”. She said there is an assortment of teas, coffee, juices and water that are made available and the only time liquor would be available would be at Christmas time for their end of year hang or when a Member brings his/her own drinks to celebrate a birthday.
The Minister said she would not be sitting in the parliament if the figures were exorbitant. She challenged journalists to always put out the entire story in the presentation of their news.