Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 1st 2015 Contents A5
November 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
The former People s Partnership gov-
ernment spent $250 million on travel.
This was revealed by Prime Minister
Keith Rowley while speaking at the PNM s
post-budget national public meeting at
Piggott s Corner, Belmont Circular Road,
Belmont, on Friday night.
Rowley said, "It s important for gov-
ernment members to travel because we
do have business outside T&T.
"So ministers will have to travel from
time to time but we believe that travel
ought not to be a perk and a junket.
"It ought to be done only when nec-
essary because it is very expensive.
"Would you believe the government
that just went out of office, guess how
much money the ministries, I m not talk-
ing about state enterprises, the Judiciary,
the ombudsman, just the ministries, the
executive, the government spent on travel
in the last five years?
"Two hundred and fifty million dollars."
Taking a jibe at former prime minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, he said the people
of T&T received savings on the night of
September 7, the minute the PNM got the
majority vote and he became Prime Min-
ister, because he started saving on a hair-
dresser and a powder man travelling with
Rowley said it was one thing to say that
government travel was important and nec-
essary, but when the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs spent $30 million on travel, the
question to ask was where were they going
and for what purpose.
He said the Government would be look-
ing at ways to cut out waste and corrup-
tion in the public sector, such as state
enterprises leasing hundreds of motor
Rowley said instructions were made
through Cabinet that all government vehi-
cles, barring specific national security and
state vehicles, must carry the insignia of
the agencies that were leasing vehicles
and the instruction would go out to every
He also said there was to be no purchase
of any vehicle dedicated to any minister
and no minister s driver was to drive any
public vehicle because it was a cost to tax
On the issue of mass transit, Rowley
said the Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB) was invited to come to Trinidad
to look at the situation with the eyes of
He said when the IDB gave its report
with recommendations, the Government
would then decide how it was going to
treat with the need for a mass transit sys-
tem of whatever kind in T&T.
Rowley said the PNM started off with
a rail system, but the former government
undermined and scrapped it.
He said the Government would not
green light the project until it got the
IDB s report and after holding consulta-
tions with the people before taking a deci-
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, mean-
while, said when the PNM left office the
public debt was $45 billion, compared to
the UNC s $77 billion.
He said the former government not only
used up all the cash reserves in the Central
Bank, it also maxed out the country s bor-
Imbert said there were projects that
needed to be funded.
Among these are a new port in Port-
of-Spain; converting the Beetham dump
into an industrial estate; building a high-
way to Manzanilla, a road to Toco, and a
new ferry port; converting the whole
Waterfront area to housing, recreation
and entertainment; a better road to
Chaguanas; and a ringroad around
Chaguanas. He said he intended to include
a mass transit system as well.
Stuart Young, minister in the Office of
the Attorney General, said the Government
intended to implement several pieces of
legislation and initiatives to ensure proper
and efficient management for T&T. These
include a revenue authority, local govern-
ment reform to be passed before the next
constitutionally due local government
elections next year, public procurement
legislation, whistleblowing legislation by
December, reforming the process for
appointing a Commissioner of Police, the
International Finance Centre, and resus-
citating cyber crime legislation.
PP ministers spent
$250m on travel
Murdered British couple Richard and Grace
Wheeler were yesterday laid to rest.
The funeral service, which took place at the
St Patrick s Anglican Church in Mount Pleasant,
was closed to the media.
Several officials, including Tobago House of
Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London, were
observed leaving the church with mourners.
London, who paid tribute to the Wheelers
during the memorial service at the church, said
the majority of Tobagonians were decent, law-
abiding and sensitive people.
The Wheelers were cremated.
Wheeler, 73, a lawyer, and his 67-year-old
wife, a real estate agent, were found dead at
their Carnbee home on October 20.
He had suffered slash wounds to his head and
arms and his wife s throat had been slit. Areas
of their house, including the living-room and
a bedroom, had been ransacked.
Police said they believed robbery was the
motive for the double murder. Neighbours said
the couple had suffered seven previous robberies
and had recently installed an alarm and kept
A special reward of $100,000 had been offered
by Crime Stoppers for information leading to
the capture of their killers.
Two suspects, Tobagonian Andre Romeo and
Vincentian Naajip Hills, were arrested and
charged with the couple s murder.
Their murder has been linked to a series of
other killings of expatriates and tourists on the
Wheeler, who was originally from Sheffield,
England, was a partner in the Tobago law offices
of Lex Caribbean and specialised in conveyancing
and property development. His wife was a real
estate agent attached to Island Investments.
They had been living in Tobago for the past
16 years. He was also a member of the Tobago
Chamber of Commerce.
SIDEBAR: British couple Peter Green, 71, and
his wife, Murium, narrowly escaped death in
Tobago during a similar attack in 2009. The
couple has since returned to their home in Som-
Only a year ago, another elderly couple,
Hubertus and Birgid Keil, from Germany, were
also hacked to death in Tobago, a short distance
away from the Greens s villa.
In 2008, Swedish couple Anna Sundsval and
Ake Olson were killed in their villa.
laid to rest
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley signs a photograph for seven-year-old Joshua Hatte after the PMN post-budget national public meeting
at Piggott's Corner, Belmont Circular Road, Belmont on Friday night. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
British national Richard Wheeler and his
Trinidadian wife Grace.
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