Premier reveals travel costs for CARICOM trip

| 17/07/2013

(CNS): In a clear change of direction for government and in keeping with what appears to be considerably more transparency over public finances than in the past, the premier’s office has revealed, without an FOI request, thefull costs of the recent trip by Alden McLaughlin to the CARICOM heads of government meeting in Trinidad. Accompanying a release explaining why the premier and the cabinet secretary went to the regional gathering, the office also supplied the financial account as well. The three day trip cost the public purse CI$4,222 for what the premier said was an essential trip in terms of relationship building in the region and to understand the common problems and solutions facing Caribbean countries.

Although the two men flew economy on their way to Trinidad, the lack of economy seats for the return pushed up the ticket costs. With the hotel for the premier covered by CARICOM, the public purse was left to pick up the hotel tab for Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, as well as both men’s daily expense allowance, as shown below.

McLaughlin said that although Cayman was an associate member of the regional body and not all the agenda items applied to the islands, there were many other areas of common interest.

“The challenges facing all CARICOM nations are great, particularly on the economic front and the discussions put Cayman’s current issues in context for me,” the premier stated in the release accompanying the account details.

“It was also essential for me to attend in terms of a relationship building process. It is important to foster fraternal relations with our neighbours within the region. This conference allowed me to rekindle friendships with many of the regional leaders whom I already know and to develop relationships with some of the others that I met for the first time. For me, it was highly instructive and enlightening to hear the concerns raised by my colleagues. While it is only natural to tend to view our individual situations as vastly different from other countries’, there are often times many striking similarities which create real opportunities for us to learn from each other,” McLaughlin said.

“There are some countries in the region facing critical and even dire situations, but there are also success stories and things that others are doing well.  This creates hope and inspiration,” he added.

The Thirty-Fourth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, against the backdrop of celebrations for CARICOM’s 40th Anniversary.

The agenda included discussions and exchanges of views on a wide range of topics, including transportation in the region, persons with disabilities and special needs, a framework for regional economic growth and development, human resource development and health, as well as exchanges of views with special guests, such as: the pPrime minister of Equatorial Guinea, the president of the Dominican Republic and the president of Venezuela. The Cayman Islands premier was recognized and officially welcomed as the newest head of government in attendance by the Chair of the Conference, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Trinidad’s prime minister

Section 55(4)(a) of the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution specifies that the governor shall, acting after consultation with the premier, assign or delegate to the premier or another minister responsibility for the conduct of external affairs insofar as they relate to any matters falling within the portfolios of ministers, namely the Caribbean community.

The premier was accompanied by the cabinet secretary, given the Cabinet Office’s responsibility for coordinating diplomatic, regional and international affairs delegated to the premier.  

See account details below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done Mr. Premier – your integrity is appreciated. Government information should be as accessible to us as information about the weather, sports scores or knowing what's going on in the stock market — and we need it to remain this way so we can both hold government accountable and create new enterprise with what is made available to us.

  2. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    4.2 K, Ju Ju would have blown that in one day.

  3. Another Anon says:

    Thank you, Mr Pemier. Very refreshing! This is how it is done when one has nothing to hide.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Now lets see all those vehicles paid for by the government and public purse used for personal business removed from the public and civil servants who make more than enough money to buy their own vehicle.  And publish the amounts of gas they have been using on the public purse also.  Yes people, they are still out there!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This whole 'trip cost' is gone too far now…next we are going to request a list of what they ate for breakfast and if they had the omelette we will say they should have had the pancakes!!

    I think it is highly reasonable for our Premier to have a comfortable trip enroute to meetings etc…. has anyone taken a 9 or 10 hour flight in economy?? You feel like you were run over by the plane on landing!…in fact you feel like you did the flying and not the plane! We need our folks to get to these meetings fresh and prepared.

    I'm all for control of these expences and no waste but lets not go over board with this, please, Enough now…should not be a news story.


    • Anonymous says:

      My goodness, how times changed. My father-in-law went to sea for 16 months at a stretch to support his family. You're complaing about "economy"? Let me tell you, anyone who needs to fly in business to arrive "fresh and prepared" shouldn't be on the plane to begin with.  

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Well excuuuse me my spoiled friend! Oh my god! No. It would not do for you to have to suffer like all of us peasants, now would it?  FYI: Although I can easily afford to fly business (or first class if I really feel like throwing away money) I have done trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights in the cheap seats on several occasions, and I have flown economy for Cayman-U.S., U.S. interstate and U.S.  trans-contenental flights on numerous occasions. Since I usually sleep or read away most of my time in planes, I am usually quite well-rested and raring to go on arrival. But then again I am not a frail pampered-puss that needs coddling at every turn in order to to feel human.

      For me, the problem of being "fresh" (or lack thereof) relating to very long flights has less to do with the seats and a lot more to do with the time differential (jet lag) and my nutrition and state of hydration. The problem of being prepared has nothing to do with the seating and everything to do with having done the necessary "homework" well beforehand.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Essential people travel and not a whole bunch of free loaders, looking a free ride is not included.

    Nice to see that a driver or bunch of people that are not required did not get a free trip on us the people.  The two former premiers would have spent a min of $100,000 each, and taken a cash advance of $50,000 for some unexplained expense. WOW this government saved is approximately $195,000 WOW good governance, great start. I dont know what your doing Mr Mclaughlin but good start and keep it up. I guess all the Free loaders have to do what we normal everyday citizen do, work and save for trips.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Good showing Alden We in the future as voters would like to see the cost on each and every trip from not only you but all the others. Trips in the past was ridicilous not only in cost but unnecessary. Just check out that trip to Africa and Honduras. Minister wanting to be a religious minister working in Africa, then having Honduran relatives. We are tired of those costly type of trips. We want value for our money. Also maids sought all the way from Tonga. Will you Mr Premier endeavour to reclaim our monies?

    • BORN FREE says:

      That's my Premier, open, honest, transparent & up front & forthcoming with information. Never involved in corruption therefore nothing to hide!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, good for them.  McKeeva and co would have spent ten times that much XXXX

    Did we ever find out how much JOCC spent at that stamp collecting conference?

    • Anonymous says:

      Trust me, now that JOCC sees that the publicis giving props to the Premier for doing this, she will be releasing documentation to the public everytime she buys a candy. She has learnt to adapt very very quickly. Just like when the Gov started riding in the front seat of his car. Once she heard that, she started riding in the front of her vehicle with her "driver".

  9. McGiver Bush says:


    You bet this trip was essential. There is much we can learn from the badly managed, largely corrupt, independent countries that make up this illustrious organisation. With a little more training we can get there too!


  10. Anonymous says:

    Why is 0.84 used to convert US to CI? With all the dealings with the US you would think that Government would have a US account set up for these kinds of expenses and thus be able to convert at 0.82 realizing considerable savings in the long run!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Swanky naw chargin us top dollar no more? Ah wha ya say?

  12. Anonymous says:

    How refreshing! Well done!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why haven't other ministers released their travel expense report?

  14. Anonymous says:

    What about releasing the cabinet minutes that the PPM and winchon promised?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Well done, Mr. Premier. Now that's transparency!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hon. Premier, thank God you are a man of transparency, and this should apply across the Board to all the others, in playing it safe on the PPM watch.  Good luck on your journeys here and abroad.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to you Mr. McLaughlin! You got 4 years to go…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Excellent. That is the way transparent goverment should work.

  18. Anonymous says:

    How refreshing to see these (perfectly reasonable) expenses.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bush spent the last four years telling anyone who would listen what a lousy job the PPM did when in power. It looks like Mr McLaughlin is going to spend his four years quietly showing everyone what a lousy job the UDP did.