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Rio trip temptation too great

Sports minister: Sylvan Richards

Dear Sir,

One has to smile at the childish and expensive antics of our politicians when a foreign trip is dangled before them.

I am, of course, referring to the trip to Rio de Janeiro by sports minister Sylvan Richards and his permanent secretary, Wayne Carey, who according to your report of September 22 flew business class to Brazil to attend the Olympic Games last month at a total cost of just less than $32,000.

Is this an example of money well spent?

Of course, it is, in the eyes of our political lords and masters.

In eyes of taxpayers, of which I am one, it is yet another example of politicians throwing money away in the hope that it will convert into votes at the next election.

Let us hope the Royal Commission on the Auditor-General’s report, which is meeting, next week, takes note of this flagrant abuse of public trust.

It is also worth noting that many Bermudians are suffering financially and that this $32,000 could have been used more productively in buying food and clothing for those in financial distress. But let’s face it, a trip to Rio is more fun.

May I just mention that last week Dan Mitchell, of the Cato Institute, gave a speech to a visiting group of businessmen, and during dinner the night before, he and I discussed the worldwide tendency of politicians and bureaucrats to waste public money.

He sent me an article on this subject from which the following quotation is taken: “The only way to reduce corruption in government is to reduce the overall amount of taxing, spending and regulating. Or you can magically wish that only angelic people will gravitate to the public sector. Maybe I’m a cynic, but I’ll go with the former option.”

I am also cynic in believing that mainly non-angelic people are attracted to the honeypot of Bermuda politics.

A reading of the Auditor-General’s report will confirm the validity of the above quotation and how relevant it is to Bermuda.