Government travel expenses reported

Records of travel and credit card expenditures, some totaling in the thousands, were either voluntarily released by government ministries or produced in response to a Freedom of Information request from the Cayman Compass. 

The records, which cover the period between the May 2013 general election and September of this year, include:  

Home Affairs, premier’s office 

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is also the minister for home and community affairs, previously reported travel expenses, including nearly $65,000 for five business trips taken by him, associated civil servants and other elected government members.  

These costs included: 

$19,000 to send Mr. McLaughlin, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and three senior civil servants to London in November for the annual Joint Ministerial Council meeting. The costs included airfare and per diem allowances. 

Nearly $17,500 for the premier, his senior political adviser and the Cabinet secretary to travel to London for a Chatham House conference in February. The price tag includes airfare, hotels and per diem allowances.  

About $2,300 to send the premier and his press secretary to New York City to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ at the invitation of Oxbridge Reinsurance. Costs included airfare, hotel rooms and transportation. 

A trip to London in March for international meetings on Islamic Finance was attended by Mr. McLaughlin, George Town MLA Roy McTaggart and civil servant Eric Bush at a cost of around $19,000. The cost included airfare, hotel stays and per diem allowances.  

A late March-early April trip to Tampa to study potential landfill solutions costing $6,756 was attended by Mr. McLaughlin, Health Minister Osbourne Bodden and two civil servants. The costs included hotel rooms, airfare transportation and per diem expenses.  

Credit card statements provided relative to the premier’s use of his government-issued credit card included travel-related expenses in Cayman Brac, New York City and some overseas and Cayman Islands eateries. There was a late fee of $40 charged to the premier’s credit card on several occasions, according to the records.  

Financial Services  

Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton submitted a spreadsheet listing expenses for travel to each destination since his election to office.  

The expenses for airfare, hotel, daily allowances and other unspecified expenses totaled $34,573.59. Included in that total were the costs of taking ministry staff and ministerial councilor Roy McTaggart along on some of the trips.  

The excursions included trips to London and Jersey between June and November 2013 for various talks with the U.K. government and the overseas territories council. 

A trip to New York for “meetings and presentations” was recorded in January 2014. Further travels to London in March for “meetings” were also listed.  

Health 

Health Minister Osbourne Bodden listed a number of trips during 2013 and 2014 including:  

A weeklong stay in Scotland for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, costing $3,127.28 in airfare, $1370.02 for hotel accommodations and daily allowances that totaled $1,125 

Trips in May 2014 to the North American Waste to Energy Conference in Virginia and a hospital visit in Kansas, costing $822.28 in airfare, about US$700 in hotel accommodations, $500 in per diem allowances and $502.50 for registration at the conference.  

A trip in late March/early April to Tampa, Florida, for a site visit of waste management facilities cost approximately $1,500.  

Travels to Bermuda and Washington, D.C., for the Natwest Island games in July 2013 cost $1,231.40 in airfare, $495.89 in hotel accommodations and $800 in daily allowances.  

Tourism and District Administration 

Travel-related charges for Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, George Town MLA Joey Hew and tourism ministry chief officer Stran Bodden were released on the ministry’s website prior to the Compass requesting the information.  

The travel costs included airfare and a per diem allowance for a one-day trip to Florida for a cruise conference in July 2013. There were charges for travel to the Island Games in Bermuda and a medical tourism meeting in Washington, D.C., also during July 2013.  

A trip to Cartagena, Colombia, in September 2013 for a cruise tourism trade show cost $2,522.72 for the deputy premier, $3,233,44 for Mr. Bodden, and $3,233.44 for Mr. Hew. 

Education  

The education minister claimed travel advances for trips to London in January 2014 and several to Cayman Brac taken over the past 18 months.  

According to forms submitted, Ms. Rivers claimed $1,239.88 for the week-long London trip to the Education World Conference.  

Records also showed trips to Cayman Brac in August, June and April this year,  

Credit card expenses for Minister Rivers were provided, but they listed only monthly charges to the credit card without specifying the nature of the charge.  

Finance Ministry 

Finance Minister Marco Archer’s travel expense records showed three trips he took since being elected in May 2013.  

Expenses include $3,341 in travel and a daily allowance on a trip in June 2013 to London for tax meetings.  

Another $600 was paid in daily allowance during a trip to the British Virgin Islands for a conference on wealth creation. In addition, Mr. Archer listed travel expenses – as did all the other ministers – for a trip to Cayman Brac in April 2014 to hold a meeting of the Legislative Assembly.  

Alden-McLaughlin-at-Chatham-House

Among Premier Alden McLaughlin’s travels last year was a visit to Chatham House in London, where he addressed a conference.

2 COMMENTS

  1. How I really feel about using the Government credit card, is if you use it for personal purchases or anything personal; one should be prepared to pay it back.
    I really do not see it being a crime committed by anyone unless the persons refuse to pay back the money used.
    Now the question is has persons who have used them for personal uses in the past paid up.
    If they have then why the continued fuss.

  2. Twyla, it’s because people just love to fuss..Most have no definite opinions and concrete evidence or reasoning to support their opinions but they do like to fuss just for the hell of it.

Comments are closed.