Moonilal: PM needs to be “grounded” after $10M spent on foreign travel

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Moonilal: PM needs to be “grounded” after $10M spent on foreign travel

Opposition MP, Roodal Moonilal said the Prime Minister should be “grounded”, after he “spent $10 million in 36 months in foreign travel.

Moonilal revealed that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s five-day trip to the United States to hold meetings “with high-level officials” from January 28 to February, 2024, cost taxpayers’ $818,262.97.

Moonilal intends to file questions on the PM’s trips to ascertain the delegation, what meetings were attended, who invited them, the agenda and outcomes of the meetings.

According to him, there have been absolutely no benefits to the people of Trinidad and Tobago from these trips or others and the Prime Minister ought to stop it. “Cut it out now! I think we should clip his wings and ground him, seize his frequent flyer cards to ensure that he remains on the ground and face the problems that Trinidadians and Tobagonians face on a daily basis, which are crime, insecurity, poverty, joblessness, et cetera”.

Moonilal said the $10.6 million tab was “shocking and scandalous”. “That is almost $300,000 per month in foreign travel. This is untenable. It is scandalous that a Prime Minister can spend $300,000 per month on foreign travel. Many of those trips brought absolutely no benefit to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. This figure, of course, does not include the travel of his companion. Mr Stuart Young, who poses as a Minister of Energy, but he’s more of a gopher and (Jean) Passepartout (the fictional character of Jules Verne’s novel) of Around the World in 80 Days”. Moonilal said the $10.6 million bill excluded Young’s travel and expenses.

Moonilal also raised questions about the Prime Minister’s trip to Barbados to spend one day to attend “a banking meeting” with (congresswoman) Maxine Waters, which cost $127,000. The Prime Minister went to Washington in April 2022 as well to meet “what is called high-level officials of the government of the USA” which cost $382,000 for a three-day trip, over $100,000 per day, he said.