Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's trip to India has cost taxpayers $12 million and not $8 million as reported by Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan. The revelation was made yesterday by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at a People's National Movement (PNM) media briefing at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain.
Rowley said while the Leader of Government Business Dr Roodal Moonilal responded to a number of questions involving the Prime Minister's ten-day trip to India in January, Rambachan told the country that the trip was funded not by the T&T Government, but by India.
"He (Rambachan) has told the Senate that the cost of the trip was $8 million. We are in a position to tell the country that information in hand, provided by the Government, in a series of bits and pieces tally to well over $12 million." Rowley said Rambachan is on Hansard stating the cost of the trip.
Rowley said that figure did not include statements which are yet to come in from the finance ministry, which bore significant costs in relation to the trip. "So the Minister of Foreign Affairs is hereby accused of speaking falsehoods in the Senate and attempting to hoodwink and misrepresent the facts."
Rowley said he does not know on what basis the untruths were told. He said the PNM will show the Government and public in the coming days line by line the actual cost. Rowley said the figures that have come from the various ministries, "all you have to do is to add them up." Rowley said it was not so much the quantum involved, but the fact that a minister of government could do something like that and get away with it.