‘I’m telling you this so people know we are not being lavish on travel’
Minister of Tourism Wayne Furbert took a hands-on approach on a trip home from Canada, ensuring two visitors got “the royal treatment” when they arrived in Bermuda.
Mr Furbert told the House of Assembly he noticed how many visitors there were on his WestJet flight back from Toronto on Thursday in comparison to Bermudian travellers.
Mr Furbert asked the stewards on the plane to let the tourists know how much he appreciated them before befriending a “lovely couple” who were first-time visitors to the Island.
“When we got to the airport I took them through Customs with me and put them in my car and took them to the [Fairmont Southampton] and gave them the treatment they should have,” he said.
“I did invite them up here [to the House of Assembly] but they didn’t come. I’m going to try to meet them tomorrow and take them out to dinner.
“Lovely couple. I gave them the royal treatment and asked [the hotel] to upgrade them and they did. I love that stuff, making our tourists feel good.”
However, Mr Furbert took issue with allegations from the Opposition that Government spends too much money on similar luxuries for ministers when they travel.
“When they say ‘lavish travel’, who are they talking about?” he asked. “I travel economy [class] and stay in one [level] above Motel 6.”
He added: “If people see me up there in business [class] they’ve bumped me up, or sometimes I will use my own mileage. I feel uncomfortable sitting up there in first class and if I get to a lavish hotel I feel strange.”
In answer to hecklers from the Opposition who asked him what he ate for breakfast during his trip, he replied: “Yesterday in Toronto I got a McDonald’s because I can’t get McDonald’s here.
“I bought an Egg McMuffin and it cost me $7. What did I have for lunch? I had a salad. I’m telling you this so people know we are not being lavish on travel.”
However, his remarks prompted worried comments from former Minister of Health Walter Roban.
“I ask that he takes care of his diet and eats more salads than McDonald’s and drinks a lot of water,” advised Mr Roban. “In all his efforts to work hard he should have a nutritional plan because he can only serve with the needed energy and enthusiasm required if he eats well.”
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