It seems that the Members of Parliament (MPs) are eating and drinking the country to death, while the poor and the homeless have hardly anything proper to eat due to the fact that they cannot afford a proper meal. Eating and drinking lavishly at the taxpayers’ expense in Parliament has become a normal practice during the last two decades. Prior to 2000, MPs were served with sandwiches and tea in paper plates and plastic cups and non-alcoholic beverages. However, following the 2001 general election, constant complaints by MPs over meals led to full course meals being served with expensive cutlery. A secret report by a Parliamentary staff member revealed that each year, Parliament has to replace tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of the expensive cutlery, which were either lost or stolen.
Despite the statements by some MPs that the consumption of alcohol is being done only on special occasions, several sources from within the institution have disclosed that imbibing in Parliament has become a habitual exercise. The fact that such practice has been confirmed by the Leader of the Opposition, Bharat Jagdeo shows that someone is trying to cover-up their lavish eating and drinking habits in Parliament at the expense of the taxpayers.
Mr. Jagdeo’s statement that PPP Parliamentarians do not partake in the drinking orgy, suggests that only government MPs have been guzzling down the expensive liquor. One wonders why cool heads do not prevail in Parliament and the people’s business (except for the budget), which should only take a day or two to complete normally takes several days.
The truth is our self-serving MPs do not have a conscience, because if they do, they would not be spending $700,000 per session on food and more on liquor while the poor and the homeless are starving. The reality is there is a serious alcohol abuse problem in the country that is evident in every domain in society, and instead of our MPs take action to curb or reduce its toll on the nation, they are adding to the problem. It is repugnant, irresponsible, reckless and disgraceful for MPs to imbibe in the law-making chamber and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. And for the Minister of Public Telecommunications to even suggest that the serving of alcohol in the hallowed chamber could improve the rapport between members of the two sides in Parliament is beyond being silly.
Ministers are setting a very poor example for the public servants to follow. They are among the highest paid public officials in the country and are showered with all sorts of allowances at the taxpayers’ expense, yet the taxpayers have to pay for their food and alcoholic allowances in Parliament. Whereas the average taxpayer who is earning far less than a Minister has to purchase their own meals at work and could be fired if found consuming alcohol during working hours.
For the last two decades, contract for meals but not for alcohol have been in existence and each year, the budget is being scrutinized by MPs, mostly those in the opposition. While the PPP was in power, no member of this government, including the President, while in opposition had ever objected to the extravagant purchase of meals or the expensive cutlery. How Parliament could have budgeted for meals without stating the amount that would be delivered daily to the chamber? And it there is no provision in the budget for the purchase of alcohol, then how is the bill for it paid.
It appears that MPs who are responsible for scrutinizing all accounts of parliamentary expenditure, have either done a poor job or have deliberately ignored the bill for the liquor. There must be a cheque payable to some entity for the cost of the alcohol. If so, how is this payment for alcohol hidden from parliamentary scrutiny? It suggests that MPs are more interested in protecting their own interests than the interest of their constituents who elected them.
Oct 15, 2018Eagles Basketball Club and Pacesetters played both matches contested on Saturday at the Burnham hard court in the Second and First Division of the Rainforest Water/Malta Supreme/Georgetown Amateur...
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