Over 300 persons fed from $700,000 – Cathy Hughes

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes

August 18 2018

Source

…at National Assembly sittings

 

MINISTER of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, on Friday, sought to clear the air on the issue of the $700,000 being spent on food for every National Assembly sitting, noting that the money is in fact spent on food for more than 300 persons.

Minister Hughes pointed out that the picture is being painted to look as though the $700,000 is being spent solely on food for the Members of Parliament (MPs), when in actuality; food is also being provided for the parliamentary staff, media corps, drivers, and other personnel.

“Everybody assumes that the $700,000 is being spent on the 65 MPs, but I want to explain that in fact 309 people are fed from that $700,000 cost at each sitting,” Hughes clarified.
“And this is for one full meal and sometimes one or two snacks depending on how long the session is. So if you do a quick calculation we’re talking roughly about 2265 per person, so that changes the whole scenario. So the suggestion that it’s caviar that we’re eating is totally unfounded.”

Breaking down the 309, the MPs are not even the largest group receiving food.
“There’s the 65 MPs, and then you have the parliamentary staff which numbers 115. Then you have the media, sometimes we go on until 1am – 3am in the morning and of course they need to be fed, and there’s 40 of them, and also the drivers, including the two drivers associated with Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, and they come up to 60. And it’s not just drivers for the MPs and government ministers, but other drivers that are there to take the parliamentary staff home. We also have security, we have government officials and medical, all of these people are there at every sitting, and it numbers 309 persons that are fed,” Hughes explained.

Hughes pondered if perhaps Jagdeo is suggesting that these extra personnel should not be fed.

“I go to the washroom at 10pm; the cleaning lady is still there. So I don’t know if Mr. Jagdeo is suggesting that the cleaning staff, the media, and drivers are not entitled to a meal when they are working between 2pm and 10pm,” Hughes questioned.

The minister also sought to join the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, and other parliamentarians who are refuting the claims that taxpayers’ money is also being spent to provide lavish and expensive alcoholic beverages to parliamentarians.

Jagdeo, last Thursday, during his weekly press conference, indicated that taxpayers’ money is being spent to provide alcoholic beverages to parliamentarians during the sitting of the National Assembly.

“I’m not talking about food, it is the alcohol part that I have a problem with. We should buy our alcohol in parliament, not to have taxpayers pay for our drinking bill,” he said.
But Hughes says it is not so.

“The perception that every single sitting has a table with alcohol flowing is totally inaccurate, it’s a blatant lie. We have alcohol if we’re having like a Christmas party or every now and again if it’s a birthday somebody might walk with something to drink. But to suggest that we’re wasting taxpayers money [on alcohol] is nothing short of deceitful,” she said.

Original Post

It should be clarified, as this is quite a lot of free food.  BJ raising the issue should also raise some questions.  No other workers, except military gets fed for free, no civil service.

Some rules should be laid out as to when alcohol is allowed.  It should be limited to specific events/occasions.

On free food, I believe a certain amount should be deducted from salaries towards the food even if not the full cost.  I don't believe the taxpayers should be footing the bill for free food for so many people.

So, there are merits on both sides of this issue.  This is something BJ should have raised without the need to KN, but maybe he needed that to socialize the issue!

Django posted:

Ok Base,

no more free food and drinks set up a canteen and rent it out,more revenue for the coffers.Let them pay for their food and drinks.

Not saying that, subsidize so they don't pay full price.  The higher income pays a bit more, lower income less.  In the end, no profit, in fact govt still picks up portion of the 700k

Baseman posted:
Django posted:

Ok Base,

no more free food and drinks set up a canteen and rent it out,more revenue for the coffers.Let them pay for their food and drinks.

Not saying that, subsidize so they don't pay full price.  The higher income pays a bit more, lower income less.  In the end, no profit, in fact govt still picks up portion of the 700k

Ok,

next on the table,reduce the President and Prime Minister salary,the reduction will also reduce their pensions.They are getting a lot of free stuff  to subsidize their living cost.The country is too poor to afford such huge salaries.

Django posted:
Baseman posted:
Django posted:

Ok Base,

no more free food and drinks set up a canteen and rent it out,more revenue for the coffers.Let them pay for their food and drinks.

Not saying that, subsidize so they don't pay full price.  The higher income pays a bit more, lower income less.  In the end, no profit, in fact govt still picks up portion of the 700k

Ok,

next on the table,reduce the President and Prime Minister salary,the reduction will also reduce their pensions.They are getting a lot of free stuff  to subsidize their living cost.The country is too poor to afford such huge salaries.

Apples and oranges.

The GoG does not have a legal obligation to provide free food on a continuous basis.  This is a matter of convenience for the employer however, they could subsidize to ensure equity between all civil servants.  Why must the Civil Servants working at Parliament be fed for free and those of GRA and other Govt offices pay for theirs.

In the end, there is a case to be made that the full 700k should not be taxpayer funded but a portion.

$700 X 5 X 50 = $17,500k or USD 875k per year

Why must the struggling people of Guyana pay almost $1 mio USD to feed some 300 people.  I'm sure a lot of this food end up in their homes and they hardly buy groceries!

As I study the issue more I understand BJ's position however, not sure why this was not raised much earlier!

Free food for all staff?  No one bringing food to work?

LET'S SEE HOW COMMITTED ARE OUR POLITICIANS .

Take away the food, provide snacks and let every employee walk with their  own food for one year. The Guyanese Tax payers will save at least half a million US

 

Now that Cathy has clarified the amount of people and the food served, it is acceptable and we should realize that these people keep our democracy functioning. It is a very small price to pay for the continued functioning of our democracy. 

Thank you Cathy. 

yuji22 posted:

Now that Cathy has clarified the amount of people and the food served, it is acceptable and we should realize that these people keep our democracy functioning. It is a very small price to pay for the continued functioning of our democracy. 

Thank you Cathy. 

Yuh right, bhai. Drunken brain and full belly good for democracy. Half-starved teachers good for democracy too.

Mitwah posted:

Jagdeo should lead by example and get his MP's to following him and not eat the food nor imbibe. Dem should bring their own. 

Yuh right, bhai. Stabroek Market cookshops nearby parliament. Dem provide cheap dhal & rice and gilbakka curry.

Gilbakka posted:
Mitwah posted:

Jagdeo should lead by example and get his MP's to following him and not eat the food nor imbibe. Dem should bring their own. 

Yuh right, bhai. Stabroek Market cookshops nearby parliament. Dem provide cheap dhal & rice and gilbakka curry.

I used to like my chicken in the ruff from Brown Betty and the fried rice from the Far East restaurant on High Street.

Chief posted:

Free food for all staff?  No one bringing food to work?

LET'S SEE HOW COMMITTED ARE OUR POLITICIANS .

Take away the food, provide snacks and let every employee walk with their  own food for one year. The Guyanese Tax payers will save at least half a million US

 

I agree, free food should be provided if parliament is expected to go beyond 8pm and should be brought in at 7.  Lunch should be self paid or subsidize via a canteen service.

Mitwah posted:
Gilbakka posted:

@Mitwah

Far East Restaurant was near Broadcasting House and Gaumont.

It was next to Demerara Jewelers, 34 High Street. It's walking distance from parliament. I think you have to pass Leopold St to get to Gaumont to find Nehru. 

OK. There was a Chinese restaurant opposite the radio station. I mistook it for Far East.

Gilbakka posted:
Mitwah posted:

Jagdeo should lead by example and get his MP's to following him and not eat the food nor imbibe. Dem should bring their own. 

Yuh right, bhai. Stabroek Market cookshops nearby parliament. Dem provide cheap dhal & rice and gilbakka curry.

Dem Could also buy cheap "Bush Rum"

yuji22 posted:
Gilbakka posted:
Mitwah posted:

Jagdeo should lead by example and get his MP's to following him and not eat the food nor imbibe. Dem should bring their own. 

Yuh right, bhai. Stabroek Market cookshops nearby parliament. Dem provide cheap dhal & rice and gilbakka curry.

Dem Could also buy cheap "Bush Rum"

That is illegal.

yuji22 posted:

Now that Cathy has clarified the amount of people and the food served, it is acceptable and we should realize that these people keep our democracy functioning. It is a very small price to pay for the continued functioning of our democracy. 

Thank you Cathy. 

And you fall fuh dem lies?  Ask them drivers and security guards if they get any free food. Is pnc cabinet sporting day and night on the taxpayers back. 

Drugb posted:
yuji22 posted:

Now that Cathy has clarified the amount of people and the food served, it is acceptable and we should realize that these people keep our democracy functioning. It is a very small price to pay for the continued functioning of our democracy. 

Thank you Cathy. 

And you fall fuh dem lies?  Ask them drivers and security guards if they get any free food. Is pnc cabinet sporting day and night on the taxpayers back. 

Suh the opposition don't partake ? banna avoid holding on to rotten rope.

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