Premier McLaughlin: Where credit is due

Appearances, particularly for the leader of a country, are of significance and importance.

That’s why this Editorial Board continues to hold the opinion that Premier Alden McLaughlin, when he is traveling in his official capacity as head of government, should be flying first-class, staying in top-tier hotels, dining in quality restaurants and carrying on in a manner that befits the image of his position and the country he represents. We urged the same standard for the Hon. McKeeva Bush during his tenure as premier.

Likewise, the funds expended on such travel should be well documented and accounted for.

Recently Premier McLaughlin encouraged the release of credit card records dating back to his service as Minister of Education from 2005 to 2009, which the ministry had been stubbornly refusing to publish, with then-Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues citing, of all things, “the government’s duty to protect public funds and … the security of all financial instruments[.]”

What utter nonsense.

We applaud Premier McLaughlin for supporting the release of his earlier credit card records.

We don’t know how much the ministry’s reversal was influenced by Premier McLaughlin’s intervention — we assume considerably — but because of the disclosure of the records, we now know that the premier’s government-issued credit card had been defrauded of nearly $7,000 about seven years ago. That’s no cause for embarrassment for Premier McLaughlin — who knew nothing about those charges — or even for ministry staff — who had the charges reversed at the time they were discovered.

Increased attention to credit card reconciliation need not be an undue hindrance to ministers or their staff. It’s simply good accounting, and good accounting is good business.

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