Allegations Minister Liburd incurred EC$40,000 on trip to Spain

Basseterre, St Kitts, April 16, 2019 – A call Tuesday night for a full and complete accounting of the cost of ministerial travel, costs of hotel accommodation, per diem and other travel expenses following allegations that controversial Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban Development, Transport and Energy, Hon Ian Patches Liburd has been travelling extensively at the expense of the St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) and incurred expenses amounting to EC$40,000 on a trip to Spain or an island off Spain last year.
“EC$40,000 and always travelling first class. Indeed we are told that a couple weeks ago, he went to Miami for Seatrade. SCASPA booked a hotel room for him in Miami at US$350 (EC$945) per night. We are told that he did not find the hotel room acceptable to his needs and standard and he moved and went to another hotel for US$575 (EC$1550) per night,” said Operation Rescue founder and former government minister Dwyer Astaphan citing credible sources on his weekly radio programme, The Operating Room on Winnfm, Tuesday night.
“Why would a minister of government of a little poor country like ours want a EC$945 a night hotel room? It should be something less costly to our pockets that is available,” said Astaphan, who helped in the formation of the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government.
The three-term former minister of tourism and national security in the previous Labour Party administration is of the view that when government ministers travel they must understand that they are not travelling on their own buck.
“They are not travelling on their own dime and they must understand that they have no right in conscience to demand to be put up in luxury, high-end expensive hotels. They travel on our business. They must be comfortable, but they must not be allowed to indulge in excesses at our expense, financial or other. If they do that they are abusing the trust which we have vested in them and they are demonstrating to us that they are temperamentally unsuited for high public office,” Astaphan said.
He said at EC$1500 per night that amount can be given to three households on the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP).
Astaphan is further of the view that any public figure who engages in self indulgence, with reckless and contemptious disregard for the pockets of the people of this countryis not fit to hold high office in this country, the globetrotting on our dime and the proposed salary increase for ministers should rub us all the wrong way.”
“We need medication and equipment for our hospitals and clinics. Our nurses, police, soldiers and other security forces, teachers and other public servants need a better deal. We need to empower the poor. We need a lot of things that have far greater importance to our people than having the luxury of taking their money that they donot even have to put a minister in a hotel at EC$1500 per night,” said Astaphan.

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