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Cannonier hits back on travel

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Premier Craig Cannonier spent less on travel in 14 months than the Progressive Labour Party government, according to a rebuttal to Opposition criticism of the Premier's travel bill.

The statement came in response to PLP Leader Marc Bean's condemnation of the $180,000 bill for 17 official trips taken by Mr Cannonier and aides between December 18, 2012 and February 12, 2014.

“As I've stated many times before, it is imperative for Bermuda's economic survival that this government brings in foreign direct investment,” Mr Cannonier said. “Travel is a necessary component of our strategy.

“If you study the facts in the Budget book, you'll note that this government has actually spent less on travel than the former PLP government — not more.

“The former administration spent $193,254.58 on travel over an approximate six month period, compared to $171,460.92 spent by the One Bermuda Alliance government over a 14 month period.”

Mr Cannonier's figure was obtained from the Budget Book; in fact, a total of the figures listed in the reply to Parliamentary questions from Mr Bean comes to $180,514.92.

In either case, the Government contends that the PLP spent more.

A trip to the World Islamic Economic Forum, which Mr Bean noted had a $13,000 bill for transportation, was attended by a total of nine officials over a six-day period, and included a Bermuda student reception as well as the forum itself, according to Mr Cannonier's press secretary.

Along with Mr Cannonier, the forum was said to be attended by the Premier's chief of staff and his press secretary; Finance Minister Bob Richards; Finance staff Pam Burrows, Travis Gilbert and Rajaee Shakir; London Office director Kimberley Durrant and London office staff member DeVaune Ratteray.

The Premier's office indicated that the Budget Book shows a total expenditure by the Cabinet Office on travel for the period April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 as $205,000.

Of that expenditure, $11,745.42 accounts for Mr Cannonier's first three trips in office, leaving a balance of $193.254.58 for the PLP during the eight months of April 1, 2012 to December 16, 2012 — which Mr Cannonier's press secretary said suggested $193,254.58 spent on travel over a six-month period.

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Published March 01, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 01, 2014 at 8:10 am)

Cannonier hits back on travel

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