DP racks up $200k travel bill

| 19/11/2012

travel (300x250).jpg(CNS): Since taking up office in May 2009, the deputy premier has taken 21 different overseas trips to countries across the globe, from Sri-Lanka to the Pacific Islands. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who is also the minister for agriculture, works and communications, has racked up a travel and accommodation bill for her ministry alone of more than CI$213,000. Travelling in the Americas and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, she has attended conferences on telecommunications, agriculture, women’s affairs and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meetings, spending an accumulative total of more than five months abroad.

According to details released to CNS following a freedom of information request, the most expensive trip has been a two week plus trip to Doha, Qatar, for the 25th Universal Postal Congress, which took place in September and October this year. The minister spent more than $41,000 on flights, accommodation and expenses for herself, the ministry’s chief officer, Alan Jones, and her executive aide, Paul Leonce.

A spreadsheet from the ministry documents the deputy premier’s overseas trips since she took office. The minister has attended a number of Commonwealth Parliamentary meetings, as well as various conferences. She spent just over $12,000 on a ten day trip to Sri Lanka for the CPA conference in September of this year, where she was accompanied by her executive aide. Another costly CPA trip was to Tonga in April 2012 for two weeks, where she was again accompanied by Leonce and where flights, accommodation and expenses were just under $12,000.

In February last year, the deputy premier racked up a travel bill of over $35,000 when she, her executive aide, the permanent secretary and UDP backbench MLA Cline Glidden spent over one week in Barcelona at a telecoms conference. Back in September 2010 O’Connor-Connolly also spent well over $10,000 on a trip to Kenya for a CPA conference, and was again accompanied only by Leonce, her executive aide.

The various trips began within nine weeks of O’Connor-Connolly taking up office, when she took a five day trip to Jamaica for the Denbigh Agricultural show, when she was accompanied by her permanent secretary at the time, the deputy permanent secretary, her personal assistant and the director of agriculture. Although there was no cost to attend the conference, the trip cost the public purse almost $11,000. In November and December of her first year in office the minister racked up a further $25,000 on OTCC meetings in both Anguilla and London.

With a tight budget, government expenses and overseas travel has been a controversial subject, with the premier in particular coming in for some serious criticisms. As the tourism and finance minister, McKeeva Bush has persistently defended his extensive travel budget, stating that he must go overseas as often as he does in order to protect the offshore sector and generate new business for the local economy.

However, the deputy premier has said little about her own relatively busy travel schedule, which critics have said is even more surprising, given that her portfolio, which includes district administration, public works, lands and agriculture, has no international business.

See full details below of the trips taken by the deputy premier since taking office.

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Spanish trip cost US$50K

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Comments (94)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And now as Premier a lovely vacation to Cayman Brac and London. The non needed trips continue but now the delegations are larger…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hmm – I thought the political "honeymoon" was over long ago.

    Not for some it seems…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey guys.. Everone loves a man in uniform, right!!!!

  4. George W. Bush says:

    NowI've heard it all! EXECUTIVE AIDE!  

     

    Please Ms. O'Connor-Connolly please, give us a list of the duties of your personal assistant!  

    After all, we the people, should know these things since we are footing the bill. I'm sure, it

    would have been much better if you could have found a young Caymanian that was  willing

    to assist you in performing  these services. Thus you would have been contributing to the

    reduction of our unemployed!  And we could then say at least she's  given something to a

    Caymanian. 

     

    But then again we might have heard that old familiar refrain!

    "NO MISUN DAH TUMUCH WUK  AH DOONH KEER HOW MUCH IT PAYIN"

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a Civil Servant- this is one freakin hard pill to swallow. She gets to bring her long her Executive Aide which is nothing more than new terminology for chauffeur – yet we have to sacrifice 3.2% loss of wages. Total disgrace and she needs to be relegated to her farm on the bluff and take her Executive Aide with her to plant yam, cassava and potatoes! time to do away with stinking incompetence. No pun intended Ju-Ju!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Was any toiletries (shampoo) etc. bought with any of the 200K????

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Lord giveth to Miss J and we want take it back.
    This is an absolute disgrace that she can spend so much on travel and go on BS trip’s with a PA or whatever this person does.

    We need her out, the only problem is, is that Brackers will vote her back in so they can get paved roads, and she will receive a 130k pa again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Shameful!

    And in case Ms Conor Connolly doesnt understand, yes madame, there is a connect between your profligacy, and the story above about the government running out of funds. I dont claim to have to have any religious leanings, how you can pretend to beggars belief. 

    • Dogsbreath says:

      Ms Julliana Connor O'Connolly unless you come clean, there is a very real chance of you ending up in the dock to explain yourself, at the end of your wholly unworthy term in office (hopefully shackled to that other misdemeanour who calls himself Premier)

      Do not think that doing the usual Cayman thing of NOTHING will exonerate you from the full force of the law, your days are numbered, your few remaining friends will dump you like a bag of hot rocks and hopefully the electorate will ensure that you never again abuse the kind people of this nation…..retribution is around the corner, so you had better come up with some watertight lies if you want to avoid the steel cage.

      I am so ashamed of you, your vile friends and your shameful attitude, whaterver happens to you will be entirely of your own making and you will deserve it all..you are an utter disgrace to the good people of the Brac and you have abused their trust.

    • Anonymous says:

      DP you should be made to pay every penny back.  Afterall you are getting a hefty salary and all the benefits, shame on you.  First the paving of all Cayman Brac, shameful! 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone bother to questioned why she had to travel? Her reason could be investment purposes. If she spent 200K looking for investment and ends up getting a return of $500,000. I say her trip are well worth it.

     

    Before some of you start blogging negatively about it, first think about teh purpose for her to travel and what she gain from travelling.

    • SSM345 says:

      15:04, don't know what planet you live on but excessive spending with nothing to show for it has put us in the current situtation we find ourselves in.

      And before you use the worn out excuse that its the PPM's fault, at least they built schools which the kids can now make full use of.

      What have Mac and JuJu got to show? More stamps in their passports, bigger bellies and a vote of no confidence from the entire world.

      YOU CANNOT KEEP SPENDING MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BEGIN WITH!

    • Grandfather Troll says:

      15:04,  I haven't blogged negatively about it, but as far as I know, nothing really beneficial was accomplished for the Caymanian people.  It's crappola like this that increases the debt.  It sure hasn't done anything for me!  (If you didn't get to go along as a freeloader, what did any of those trips do for you?)  O.K.  Now I've commented negatively about it!

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously have never met JuJu.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you nuts……gaining anything from traveling to Barcelona to a cell phone show or travelling to Africa etc? She probably gained weight from eating in expensive restaurants on our ticket. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    09.20 is right. When your snout's in the trough it's difficult to stay away.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Brac,

    Please get her out!

    – Cayman

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    Simple! General Strike till forced out of office.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I calculated that this is over $10,000 PER TRIP! ($213,000/21Trips). This is totally outrageous, they're just parading about racking up massive hotel & dinner bills. Disgusting, truley disgusting. Especially during such difficulteconomic times. My question now is WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT?! Increased business opportunities? Improved trade relations? Or just a fat belly full of fancy wine & pacific lobster tail. 

    -son of a respected and traditional cayman family. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    The voting population get the government that they deserve.

    • Diogenes says:

      Unfortunately a fair proportion of the tax payers get the government that they had no entitlement to vote for, and as such no say in how their money is spent.  Any recipient of government largesse will always have an economic incentive to vote for those that promise them employment and services paid for with other peoples' money.  No taxation without representation is a principle enshrined in the Magna Carta in 1215, but does not seem to have migrated to the British Overseas Territories.  

    • Anonymous says:

      ….and not one voter has lead a petition to have these clowns harnessed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Let's face it, with stuff like this happening we do lay ourselves open, unfortunately, tobeing labelled a Banana Republic.

  16. Old Sea Captain says:

    Amazing, unscrupolus, unconscionable,all expenses paid four year vacation on the backs of the poor Caymanian people. The first order of the day of any new administration is to have all of this investigated thoroughly and hopefully to recoup all of the funds that were callously and blatantly wasted by this government. The second most important thing that needs to be done is to put in place laws to prevent this from ever happening again.

     

  17. Anonymous says:

    absolute power corrupts or power absolutely corrupts. either way this is a shamefull abuse of our taxpayer $$$’s

  18. SANDFLY says:

    Have government credit card will travel this is a campaign issue. I think if you travel enough, you are not so ignorant? Am I wrong?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I tried to help a guy one time by letting him wash my car. He stole an entire book of about thirty car wash tickets from the car. He denied doing this but got caught because he was taking his car to the wash twice a day! I guess that's what free tickets can do for you.

  20. Anonymous says:

    My question is all this happing and there is not impeachment process, no way of physically having them removed from office?  I don't get it why wait until election?  This is a dictatorship!!!  So the selling of Cayman land, the spending of Cayman money is something Caymanians will just sit back and allow happen?  Get them all out now! Start the impeachment process!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Governor and Mary Lawrence are both obliged to take action if a voter-lead petition assembles the endorsement of over 25% of electorate.  Over 50% and whatever the motion would carry.  Voters could theoretically radically alter the political landscape by lunchtime tomorrow, but not one voter has the stones to initiate the process.  They wait for someone else to do it while this regime steamrolls and freeloads til May 2013.  Current successor candidates would not be much of an improvement, but at least they would be awakened to the reality that voters were now prepared to enforce their rights over their servants.  We can dream.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mary Lawrence to take action, 14:29??! Say wha? And jeopardise her $170,000 a year cushy Mac-appointed position? Get real, Bobo!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting, I hope this will be investigated and the money wasted by vacations for her and her boyfriend returned to the public purse. The laughing stock we must be when mac and this twin idiot travel all over the world representing us, I cringe just thinking about it

  22. Anonymous says:

    You can complain all you want, but until the crazy people who voted her in, put her out, nothing will change.  

  23. Anonymous says:

    Whats so infuriating is the people who are wasting the public money have absolutely no idea what its like to live in the real Cayman. Kids going to school hungry. People cant afford to liscence their cars. Struggling to pay their home payments. Gas prices. Small business closing due to overhead and immigration fees. Disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I hope your ready to crash right back down to planet earth come 2013

  24. Anonymous says:

    What about personal expenses that were claimed? Can we get a breakdown on that?

  25. Anonymous says:

    what do you expect from an electorate system that prevents the most hardworking, educated, law abiding people from being able to vote or run as candidates????

    • Anonymous says:
      A Caymanian who has all these qualities is not prevented from being a candidate unless he is a citizen of another country.
       
      • Anonymous says:

        Which is a ridiculous fetter given the prevalence of British and American passport holders among successful Caymanians. Since allegiance to Cayman must mean allegiance to the sovereign nation there can be no conflict by reason of having a full British passport.

  26. Anonymous says:

    caymanians voted her in and they  get what they deserve…….

    and the sad thing is that she will be re-elected next time too…………..zzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      what about the rest of us that pay the same taxes and have no say? why do we derserve this?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I gotta feeling Pauls going to write a book after this goverment changes. It will be on the shelf with Fodors and the Lonely Planet.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The telecom in Barcelona was actually smart phone marketing…at least their phones have some intelligence now

  29. Anonymous says:

    Wait until you hear or see the Premier's spending. It will floor you!!  The 2 of them are disgusting!!! and to think children and families are starving here in Cayman. They are a mockery to God!

  30. Anonymous says:

    I'm hosting an Executive Aide Conference here in Monaco for 4 days at a low cost price of only $500,000 this includes 3 night stay at a 5 star hotel, strippers, $100,000 casino credit, Rolls Royce and Ferrari, a 300 ft luxury yacht and shopping spree for $50,000. I trust that your generous Deputy Premier might be able to join us along with her beloved Executive Mr.Paul Leonce.

    Yours kindly,

    Jean Vincent Luvmoney

    • Anonymous says:

      How much do the ATM's pay out in cash in Monaco?  Do the casinos pay out on chips without checking how the winnings were generated?  These details are important.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Any chance we could see a list of Paul’s duties?? Bet, just like this list of travels, that won’t be complete either! I wonder if Julie realises we would like her more if she just admit what’s what and stop spending our money to cover up her short-comings.

  32. Baldric says:

    You can all scoff at Miss Julie but someone has to make sure Cayman's majestic grain prairies,  olive groves and vineyards are up to international standards.

     

    Why Old Ezekiel's two rows of beans on the Brac were the talk of the International Food Exhibition last year. They even called him 'Mr Bean'. Shame on you doubters!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Crooks!

  34. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    Praise The Lord and pass the cash.

  35. Anonymous says:

    People people please!

    Just think of all the good that was accomplished with these “business” trips…

    Just wait I’m sure there is something….

    Nope nope there is nothing lets remember this in the elections.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I am always amazed by how this UDP governmentspends money as though it belongs to them and not the people of the Cayman Islands. If the Deputy Premier was working for an organisation in the private sector, and spending that amount of money on travel with no benefit for the company, she would have been FIRED. Considering the state of Government finance where they had to borrow money to pay it`s civil servants, this type of spending by the Deputy Premier is criminal. And to think that these politicians brag about how much they care about Caymanians. They are bold faced liars. No patriotic Caymanian will be so callous as to spend public finance for their own selfish desire to travel the world. The Auditor General`s office ought to do an audit of the Deputy Premier`s travels to see whether the people of Cayman had any value for the money she spent so far. If her trips have not resulted in anything positive for the Cayman Islands then she should be made to PAY THE MONEY BACK.

     It is so sad that Caymanians have had to bear with these type of people that have the title `honorable minister`, for such a long time. They are nothing but `dishonorable` people (wolves in sheep clothing). Time for change.

    I urge true patriotic, educated Caymanians, who  would put their country above political party, who would govern with true Caymanian integrity , to step forward in the next election. I hope that voters would not be fooled in the next election by the current crop of politicians. You are wasting your votes by putting back the same crap election after election. 

  37. Anonymous says:

    I guess we are all getting screwed, the only one enjoying it is Paul Leonce.

  38. Anonymous says:

    No one should question this!!! This is the Lord's work being carried out here. She spreading the word of the bible across the world!!!

     

    Okay, apart from that…this is totaly out of control now. These trips by the P have not benifited the Cayman Islands in any way. Postal conferences, agriculture shows and a whole bunch of other s***. What have we gained from these expensive, full vacation trips?! not a G** D*** thing!!!

     

    These people have some nerve!!!! I can just hear her now, spewing some half cocked response to anyone who questions it. This is a shame!!!!!

     

    And you know the sadthing is?! She will not be held accountable, and the people of Cayman Brac and little Cayman will swallow up whatever fertilizer she can fart out, and put her right back again. Allowing her to continue living high on the hog. And yet they still no better off.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I feel that 21 trips is excessive considering the types of trips she's taking. The country is not benefiting at all from these trips. But I'm also shocked that her expenses are so low for these exotic trips.

  40. Anonymous says:

    And what good to the people of Cayman, came of all these trips? My guess: none whatsoever. Another total waste of money.

  41. peter milburn says:

    DISGUSTING!!!!!That money could have used for something FAR more useful.Childrens school books come to mind.Shame on you DP.

  42. Anonymous says:

     And this is justifiable how?

     

    • Bald Eagle says:

      It is justifiable because she is unaccountable for her actions and as long as we allow MLAs to be completely free to spend without explanation, it will continue.

      Why do they not have job descriptions?

      Who sanctions all this spending?

      What has she achieved from these jaunts?

      How many personal airmiles has she accumulated ?

      This all smelle of abuse of her Office………………

  43. Anonymous says:

    Jamaica for five days for $11,000?  Where did she stay, Ritz Carlton and eat 24/7?  I spent less than that on seven family members, food and hotel.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I would just like some clarification from the spreadsheet maker, who appears to be named Tanya (according to the spreadsheet) which I assume is coming from this Ministry.  What exactly is a "fligt" cost>  Secondly, can you please tell me what is the "Caribbean Rewal Enerby Forum"?  Thanks and would be happy to show you where spell check is if you need the help.

  45. Anon says:

    What a waste! Sick, absolutely sick. Let’s hope there is an afterlife.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Thin how much money we would save if she just drove her steam roller instead of flying! And she could pave foreign dignitaries’ driveways !

  47. Anonymous says:

    Did the deputy premier provide trip reports that outlined the benefits that accrued to the Cayman Islands as a result of her trips?

     

    If the trip reports exist, they could provide some justification for the travel costs.

     

    If the trip reports do not exist, then it indicates that the trips were merely jollies for all involved; self indulgent corruption. Sad.

  48. Anonymous says:

    vote her out!….. have the braccers got the sense to do it?

  49. Beachboi says:

    What a disgraceful person you are Juliana!  All of your travel sounds unnecessary to me, at the very least, but to pretend to justify a $41,000 trip using part of my hard earned money to go to a postal conference in Qatar is unfathomable.  I can only hope that the Auditor General, or the Attorney General or the Anti-Coruption Commission will review the expenses from all of your lavish trips and at least make you repay the portion that was used for the upkeep / maintenance of your boyfriend!!  You make me ashamed to be a Caymanian, and I wont even mention your other thieving cohort!!!

  50. Anonymous says:

    How many family's weekly grocery bills could just HALF of her travel expenses cover? At $200 a week per family, that would work out to 500 families that could have been helped with food costs with just HALF of HER travel expenses.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely Ridiculous Ju Ju !!!!  

     

  52. Anonymous says:

    $41,000 at the postal conference. I can understand that. nThere are so many government employees who sit around in the Post Offices doing nothing she was probably trying to find a way of justifying all of their salaries. With everything being conducted by email these days the post office seems to be reduced to distributing unwanted flyers.

  53. Anonymous says:

    To paraphrase “It’s GOOD to be Queen!”

  54. Anonymous says:

    JuJu needs to go before some sort of ethics committee to 'splain all these wild numbers in that spreadsheet.

     

    Grenada Grand Beach Resort. June 24-27 2011 accompanied by Executive Aide. Did they share a room to get us the low prices of only $419.16 for 4 nights stay? That's less than $105 per night, or $52.50 per person per night.

     

    Grenada Grand Beach Resort. Jan 18-23 2012 accompanied by Personal Assistant and Executive Aide. Hotel costs is $2724.30 for 6 nights, or $150 per person per night.

     

    No wonder the Auditor General says the information that he receives from her ministry is inadequate to perform an audit upon.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Hey, it’s only 10k per trip….. Lol what a bloody joke.
    Now what is her fees for travelling back and forth from the brac?

    • Anonymous says:

      Curious…. Does she take the Express, wait for the Jet, or order the Jet???

      • Anonymous says:

        The plane waits for her as she is always late and no, I am not joking.

  56. Anonymous says:

    You would think she would stay home and drive on all the paving we paid for on the Brac.  Another example of UDP waste.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Exactly what benefit has been achieved for the Cayman islands from the Deputy Prime Minister attending all of these conferences?  If the benefit was $500,000 then you can substantiate the travel.  In reviewing the expense report, many of the per diem expendatures were hundreds of dollars for her and her accompanied guests.  More vetting of the expenditures is necessary–how much for meals, etc.  It seems outlandish to me.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Would CNS PLEASE do an FOI on exactly how we have benefited from the way these clowns have thrown our money to the wind?

  59. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou for showing everyone how a Caymanian handles business.  Now can we get a competent person to take over while there is still time?

  60. Anonymous says:

    I don't mean to be picky, but didn't she also go to Alaska to look at that pollution-free oil refinery? I don't see that on the list.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Looking at these destinations, you'd think they don't have any decent congresses in the US.

  62. Anonymous says:

    $11,000 to send five people to Jamaica? REALLY?

    W…T…F…?

  63. Anonymous says:

    OK, I have to ask. Is Paul the former bartender the "personal assistant" or "executive aide" or both???

  64. Anonymous says:

    I'm SO glad we are all paying for this. Much better than spending the money finishing a school. What has Mac and the rest of his entourage spent please?

  65. jus sayin says:

    CNS can you find out how much has been spent over the past 4 years for her and her aid to stay in the Alexander hotel each time she visits the Brac (Although she owns a home there…)

  66. SSM345 says:

    These people have no shame.

    Can we suggest that going forward, if MLA's are going to galavant around the world on suppposed "business trips" that cost us, not them, that if they fail to garner any such "business", "investment" or "development" that they are held personally liable for the costs?

    All they do is spend more money than quaker has oats and have ABOSLUTELY NOTHING to show for it other than their fat belly's and asses and new stamps in their passports.

    Makes me sick to my stomach.

    And who the XXXX is Paul Leonce, her bodyguard? You too have absolutely no shame pal, hope you enjoy the last few months of raping your country and people.

    XXXX

  67. BORN FREE says:

    I assume she is trying to "bring business To the Cayman Islands" also. I wonder what type of business, agricultural? What a joke this government has become, so much travel, especially by the premier & deputy premier, & for what? There is no evidence of business (foreign investment) coming to the Cayman Islands as a result of their non-stop travel. What little business there has been under this government was already here, not because of their travels, which has been a waste of our money.

  68. Knot S Smart says:

    Well.

    Maybe Paul is just a very good personal assistant…