Why is President Obama taking 1,000 people to the Summit of the Americas?

Dear Editor,

At a time when the US as well as the wider world community is faced with a serious financial crisis, and, by extension, an economic recession, I am really curious to know why US President Barack Obama is taking with him a 1,000-member delegation along with 25 jets, to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad next month.

Who are these people that will be coming with the President and why so many jets? Guess there will be a lot of butlers, chefs, pastry chefs, aides and aides-de-camp, among them.

Old American habits die hard !

Surely, the cost of this entourage will be humongous and I least expect President Obama to continue in the vein of his predecessors, especially at this time of economic chaos. As a president who claims to care for the poor of the world, I believe President Obama should scale down the entourage and give some money saved to the poor in Haiti. This may amount to quite a few millions of dollars.

Mr President, may I suggest that you set a precedent and lead by example.

In the meantime, contrary to what we were initially led to believe, the Trinidad administration will not be footing 100 per cent of the bill for hosting the summit. Don’t forget where oil prices are these days. Prime Minister Patrick Manning has said that “other countries” will assist with the cost.

Though the summit is an important forum, one needs to know what will be the amount on the invoice to Guyana and whether we can afford to pay.

We live in a most interesting time.

Yours faithfully,
Mahadeo Panchu

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