Grenada’s Opposition leader Dr. Keith Mitchell has called on government to announce their policy on overseas travel. He is also calling for the government to say how the country stands to benefit from these overseas trips.
Mitchell’s call comes as over half of the 11-member government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been out of state on different activities over the last two weeks.
“I believe the country has a right to know what benefits have been derived in the last three years from travels amounting to over three million dollars.”
The former Prime Minister says he thinks it is fitting that the government tells the country what is their policy on overseas travel, in keeping with their promise of “transparency, accountability and good governance” made during the 2008 election campaign.
In a statement on the weekend, Dr. Mitchell said he believes the “Tillman Thomas administration has not yet come to terms with the realty facing Grenada at this time” referring to the economic burden on a vast majority of the island’s population.
He describes their continued travel as “insensitive” and “reckless”.
“The Government has been spending millions of dollars on overseas travel at a time when children are unable to go to school and parents are unable to put food on the table.”
Within the last two weeks seven of the island’s government ministers have travelled overseas to a number of international meetings including the United Nations meeting in Paris and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Australia.
“…while some leaders in the region including those from Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent chose not to attend the Heads of Government Meeting in Australia, our Prime Minister saw it necessary to spend thousands of dollars on that trip which is not likely to bear any significant fruits for the country,” the Opposition leader said.
Dr. Mitchell whose New National Party (NNP) governed the country for 13-years and has also been accused of excessive overseas travel during his tenure, said if the government is serious about economic stimulation and in the country, it must prioritize its spending.
” They must cut down on the frequent joy rides and adopt a policy that will clearly spell out the terms and conditions under which Ministers will travel.”©