Log In

Reset Password

Ministers spend $107,000 on travel in six months

Forging links: Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, with Abdullah bin Touq Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, and Alexia Hefti, the Government’s Middle East adviser, at their meeting in Abu Dhabi in February (Photograph supplied)

A six-day trip to the Middle East by Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, has cost the taxpayer more than $14,000.

The trip has pushed the total cost of all overseas excursions by government ministers to more than $107,000 in six months.

Mr Hayward travelled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates between February 25 and March 1 to attend the Investopia 2024 conference. He also gave a speech at the Global Black Impact Summit while in the UAE.

A government spokeswoman said that Mr Hayward had highlighted investment opportunities in Bermuda and discussed enhancements to the island’s family office framework while at the conference.

Mr Hayward racked up $8,735 in transport costs and a further $4,969 in accommodation. Additional expenses brought the total cost of his trip to $14,134.

The latest figures on the Government’s travel calendar webpage show that ministers spent $107,347 on 16 business trips in the six months between November and April.

The bulk of that bill — $61,000 — came from four trips to the UAE. In addition to Mr Hayward’s latest trip, David Burt and Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, attended the Council of the Parties climate conference in December at a combined cost of almost $40,000.

The Premier also flew out to the Arabian kingdom in February to attend the Satoshi Roundtable fintech conference at a cost of $7,796.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, also travelled to the UAE this year to attend the World Governments Summit in February.

However, the cost of that trip was covered by event organisers at no expense to the Bermudian taxpayer.

The Government has worked to forge links with the Middle East in the past 12 months.

In April last year, it appointed Alexia Hefti as a consultant “to realise the full scope of opportunities presented by this exciting region”.

Ms Hefti was given a 12-month contract on a salary of $240,000. The Royal Gazette asked the Government if Ms Hefti’s contract had been extended, but no response was received by press time last night.

In addition to the $61,000 spent on four trips to the UAE, government ministers ran up a $46,347 bill on 12 other overseas excursions in the six months between November and April.

Mr Burt travelled to London, Grenada, and Canada at a cost of $13,936, while Mr Roban spent $11,745 on trips to London and Barbados.

Mr Hayward made two visits to the Caribbean, attending a trade and investment forum in Guyana and a fintech conference in Barbados, at a combined cost of $11,169.

Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was the most frequent flyer among government ministers, taking four trips in the six-month period.

Mr Darrell travelled to Guyana and Jamaica to attend the Carifta Games and an anti-doping conference, and St Martin and New York for tourism events. The cost of those four trips totalled $7,607.

Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport, took one trip to Chicago to meet US airline executives at a cost of $1,888.

Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors, went to Barbados in February to take part in a strategy meeting on gender equality, but the trip was fully funded by Caricom at no expense to the taxpayer.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 13, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated May 13, 2024 at 8:05 am)

Ministers spend $107,000 on travel in six months

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon