Trinidad Express:-THE former Kamla Persad-Bissessar government spent $4.3 million on four functions— Divali, Children’s Christmas Party, Spiritual Baptist Dinner and Emancipation Dinner— held during her tenure at the Prime Minister’s residence in 2014/2015.
The current Keith Rowley government has spent $1.2 million on the same four functions held at the PM’s residence in 2015/2016.
This according to figures released by Minister in the Ministry of the Prime Minister Stuart Young yesterday.
On average, Persad-Bissessar outspent Rowley by a ratio of almost four to one.
The largest item of expenditure under Persad-Bissessar’s government was the 2014 Divali function which cost $1.677 million.
The largest item of expenditure under Rowley was the Children’s Christmas Party in 2015 which cost $452,941.76.
The smallest item of expenditure under Persad-Bissessar was the Emancipation Dinner, which cost $611,032.98.
The smallest item of expenditure under Rowley was the Divali function which cost $220,409.06.
Persad-Bissessar’s second most expensive event was the Children’s Christmas Party on which $1,095,854.70 was spent.
Rowley’s second most expensive event was the Emancipation Dinner in which $301,869 was spent.
Persad-Bissessar spent $938,803.06 on the Spiritual Baptist Dinner while Rowley spent $257,625.78 on this function.
Young said the PNM government had cut the “frills, thrills and whistles” from events held at the Prime Minister’s residence.
He said it was significant that it was Princes Town MP Barry Padarath and not Persad-Bissessar who was doing most of the talking on this matter of expenditure on functions at the Prime Minister’s residence during the tenure of the former People’s Partnership.
Young said the UNC was trying to distract the population from the expenditure issue and trying to stoke racial tensions in the upcoming local government elections.
Young also said yesterday that threats were being made against PNM St James candidate, Jamil Bisnath, who has reported the matter.
He said the party also received reports that attempts were also made to intimidate people seeking to vote. He said people of a certain race were being told not to vote for the PNM.