The days when wallets were full and the general public overlooked Government largesse are over.
So Sylvan Richards – whose Ministry is among the smallest and in terms of economic impact one of the least significant – has to justify the $30K spent on a trip to Rio.
This is the breakdown for a trip with his PS from Friday, August 05, 2016 – Sunday, August 14, 2016.
Air Travel: $20,290.00:
Ground Transportation: $130.00
Meals: $105.00 Miscellaneous: $50.00
Total Cost: $31,566.00
Ten days, two people, $15k each, $1,500 a day.
Even allowing for price hikes due to the Olympics, that seems an awful lot, so we need some answers:
- What class did they fly?
- What star was the hotel (which hotel was it)?
- Why so little on meals (bizarre for two people to spend just $105 in ten days???)
- What did the Minister and the PS do while they were there? How often did they meet Bermuda’s athletes? What was the itinerary? Who else did they meet? Did they help put Bermuda’s name forward in terms of trade?
If the questions can be answered in the positive, it provides context, if they cannot – then dumb is as dumb does. People’s wallets are not full anymore, the resentment this could cause is incalculable.
If Government was not preaching cutting back and austerity then it wouldn’t really matter – but surely this is a case of leading by example and going for a few days via economy class etc?
(Would any sports charity like $30K?)
This also reminds me – what has happened to the GP cars? In this time of austerity (yes it is – ask those who no longer have a job let alone two or three jobs) GP cars are, in my view, a continuing symbol of the excess that got Bermuda in such a hole.
As a small business, my overheads are big and I seriously – really seriously – resent having my tax going on supporting those who, quite likely, earn more than me.