MP Trotman queries cost of President’s overseas trips

Answers are expected to be provided in the National Assembly on Thursday on the number and cost of overseas trips made by President Donald Ramotar as well as the benefits to Guyana.

APNU parliamentarian Desmond Trotman submitted the questions with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds expected to provide answers when the House convenes on Thursday. Trotman asked about the number of official overseas trips made by the president and delegations since taking office in 2011 and the total cost of each trip.

He also requested answers on the immediate and medium term benefits to Guyana associated with each of the presidential trips undertaken since 2011 to February 2014 and what benefits Guyana stands to gain in 2014 from each of the overseas trips undertaken by the president and his delegations in 2012. Trotman also wants to know what benefits Guyana stands to gain in 2016 from each of the overseas visits made by the president and his delegations in 2012 and 2013.

Trotman also submitted questions for answers by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on former president Bharrat Jagdeo. The APNU parliamentarian asked about the amount of electricity charges paid for Jagdeo for each month since he demitted office in 2011 up to the end of February 2014. He also asked about the total health expenses/claims met under the Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act for the former president and/or his dependents for each month since Jagdeo demitted office in 2012 to the end of February 2014.

Trotman also enquired about the cost of providing transportation (local and overseas) inclusive of cars and drivers, including air cost and road for Jagdeo and/or his dependents for each month since demitting office to the end of February 2014. For the same period, he also asked about the monthly cost of providing security for personal and property(s) for the former president.

The Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act passed by the Jagdeo administration was hugely controversial. The extent of the benefits and the length of time over which they will be provided to the former president and other former presidents had evoked public consternation and calls for the measures to be amended.

The opposition, using their majority in parliament, subsequently passed the Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Bill 2012 to cap the benefits under the Act but it has not been assented to by Ramotar.

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