Local government elections will take place on November 28.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made the announcement during a post-cabinet press briefing on Thursday.
Tourism PS Juliana Johan-Boodram said she “forgot” to inform Public Service/PS to the Prime Minister Reynold Cooper that she was leaving the country for a four-day jaunt to Argentina to watch the T&T vs Argentina football game. Johan-Boodram left on a chartered flight on Sunday and returned to the country on Thursday night. She said the trip was not paid for by the Government or the Ministry of Tourism and as such was “not a big deal.”
“I left under the delegated authority of the minister, that does not need to go to Cabinet for approval,” Johan-Boodram said, in a telephone interview yesterday. She said out of “courtesy” she would customarily inform both Cooper and the Public Service Commission that she was leaving. “I don’t remember the exact regulations, but once the ministry is not paying and another entity is paying I do not have to go to him,” she said.
As accounting officer at the ministry, Johan-Boodram is not allowed to receive gifts in excess of $5,000, but she said this trip, paid for by the T&T Football Federation and the Ministry of Sport, does not fall into that category. Johan-Boodram said she was in Argentina for the four days as part of the “marketing and promotion” of T&T. “It was a great marketing and branding opportunity for the country and we seized the opportunity,” she said.
Johan-Boodram said marketing and branding of the country falls under the remit of the PS of Tourism. “Yes, it is, and I do a lot of work with marketing and promotion,” she said.