The state has paid $45.4M in expenses for former President Bharrat Jagdeo in the 27 months since he demitted office and this appears to include the cost of a medivac flight to Florida.
Payments were made under the controversial Former Presi-dents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act for electricity, transportation and security. This works out to around $1.6M per month mainly for Jagdeo’s Pradoville Two residence.
Details on Jagdeo’s expenses were circulated yesterday in Parliament in response to questions which had been submitted several months ago by APNU MP Desmond Moses.
There were no expenses listed under the category of health for the former President. In February this year, Jagdeo had flown to the US on a private jet for medical treatment. There had been public interest in whether taxpayers were going to have to pay this bill. However, for the month of February 2014, Jagdeo’s transportation cost is a whopping $7.5M, far above the monthly average. This appears to include the cost for the medivac. No explanations were provided with the expenses.
The breakdown of the expenses shows that $20.3M was spent on Jagdeo’s security, $15.2M on transportation and $9.8M on electricity.
In December 2011, the security cost was $549,720 while in February this year it had risen to $818,100.
Jagdeo’s monthly electricity bill for his Sparendaam, East Coast residence is roughly $400,000 per month. However the charge rose significantly for two months. In June 2012, Jagdeo’s electricity bill was $1.47M while it was $1.2M in February 2013.
Aside from the $7.5M in transportation cost for February 2014, the month of December 2013 also saw a high figure of $3.8M. Outside of these two months, transportation costs ranged between $33,542 and $469,235.
The Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Act has been highly controversial as critics say it contains benefits for Jagdeo and other former Presidents which are extravagant and cannot be afforded by the country. An acrimonious battle on this bill in Parliament ended with the opposition forcing through a bill to cap the benefits. The bill was passed on January 25th, 2013 but President Donald Ramotar has refused to sign it.