President Donald Ramotar is mid way through his five-year term and is already building on his frequent flyer miles and the costs that are attached to the overseas trips.
In the National Assembly on Thursday, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, revealed details of some of the Presidents official overseas engagements since he took office in 2011. He has made 26 official overseas trips since he was sworn into office three years ago.
The Government of Guyana has spent over $90 Million to ensure that the President and his entourage fly and sleep in comfort.
During one of the President’s trips to Suriname, over $3 Million dollars was spent on a chartered aircraft and accommodation for the brief visit to the neighbouring state. His entourage on that trip to a Caricom meeting was made up of a number of persons including Guyana and West Indies cricket icon Clive Lloyd. A second trip to Suriname one month later, with a much larger delegation, carried a price tag of over $5 Million.
One of longest trips overseas was in May 2012 when the President traveled to New York, Mexico and Barbados with four Government Ministers, the Director of Foreign Affairs and the President’s Aide de Camp. On that trip, over $2 Million was spent in transportation costs and just over $1 Million was spent in accommodation.
During a visit to Brazil and Toronto, the Commander-in-Chief spent over $$1.2 Million for a chartered aircraft from Guyana to Brazil and spent another $1 Million on his commercial airlines flight from Brazil to Canada. His entourage grew on that trip to include former President Bharrat Jagdeo, two Government Ministers and a number of Advisors. The large contingent came with an additional transportation cost of over $10 Million and an undisclosed sum on accommodation.
When the President flew to Sri Lanka, $5.7 Million was spent on his airfare and transportation while just over $1 Million was spent on his accommodation. He was accompanied on that trip by his wife, former President Jagdeo and other Government Officials including the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. No costs was put to the travels and accommodation of Mr. Jagdeo for this trip.
For a trip to Chile and India, $6.7 Million was spent on the President’s air travels while $300,000 was spent on his accommodation. Former President Jagdeo was also on that trip and his air travel amounted to $4.3 Million and his accommodation was over$600,000, which represents almost double the cost spent by the President on the same trip.
The submission to the National Assembly by the Prime Minister has left out the costs attached to a number of the trips overseas and to some of the members of his delegation. While the information addresses transportation and accommodation, there were no figures released which represented the per diem that is usually paid over to the President and his delegation when they travel.
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