As former President under the PPP, Bharrat Jagdeo had monthly expenses of millions of dollars that were covered by the state, including a monthly electricity bill at his seaside home that cost taxpayers an average of $400,000 per month. He was also allowed as many vehicles and body guards as then President Donald Ramotar.
Now as Opposition Leader and with most of those expenses trimmed under the new government, Mr. Jagdeo wants the government to release the full monthly recurring cost for the upkeep of all government ministers including Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
Mr. Jagdeo told a news conference on Wednesday that he has reason to believe that the sum is astronomically high and urged that in the name of transparency the government release the figures.
He said he intends to go to Parliament and formally ask the government to provide the information. When the APNU and AFC as opposition parties sought Jagdeo’s expenses as a former President during the last three years of the PPP administration, it was revealed that his expenses totaled more than $45 million in 27 months.
Jagdeo is not moved by that and said there was much debate over his pension and the collective cost to the treasury for the pensions for former People’s Progressive Party Heads of State.
But now, he believes that more money is being used on a monthly basis to ensure the upkeep of the Prime Minister.
He said it would be revealed that the government is spending more in a month on a single minister, in some cases, than what was being spent on a former President.
Jagdeo, who has constantly been attacking the Prime Minister, who is a former member of the PPP that Jagdeo now leads in parliament, said he believes the Prime Minister’s monthly upkeep may be in the millions.
He provided no proof to support this claim.
He also said some Ministers are renting properties that cost over $1 million a month and he intends to show the comparison between the ministers under the PPP and this government, when the answers are provided and his research is complete.
The Opposition Leader said the government should also reveal the total cost for rehabilitation of the official residence of the Prime Minister and President and the full cost of new furniture that were purchased.
Mr. Jagdeo also wants the government to reveal the monies spent to purchase new vehicles for Ministers.
Most of the current Ministers still use vehicles that were being used by Ministers of the previous government.