“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.” 

— Keith Richards

A few weeks ago we said that we were going wabbit hunting.   Well, “a- hunting we did go” and look what we have found.

During the House of Assembly parliamentary questions and answers session last week, it was revealed that Minister Shawn Crockwell spent nearly $50,000 on his little “fact-finding trip” to Singapore.

That’s right — $50,000 for a five-day trip.

Here is the breakdown of the travel expenses for MP Crockwell, Attorney General Mark Pettingill and a technical officer:

Airfare: $38,842 

Accommodation: $7,446 

Meals: $509

Daily expenses: $1,717

Ground transportation: $308

Minister Crockwell could have gained this same information by the Internet, a conference call or even Skype but instead he chose to take all of $50,000 and travel to Singapore.

Sort of ironic considering these are the same folks who said, “Let’s save money and not have a referendum”. They instead spent money on a trip.

To date the OBA has spent $5,067,000 on travel in one year. Yep, five million bucks. 

Not only did the OBA spend $5 million on travel during 2013–14, but they went over budget, surpassing the funds that they had allocated for travel by $1.5 million.  

The OBA travel expenses represented an increase of 48% over the PLP’s 2012-13 travel expenditure. This accounted for but a portion of the OBA’s $45 million in over-spends during their first year in office.  

And this from the party that claimed that they would not only trim expenses but would stick to a budget.

Pots calling the kettle black? Woe is me?

To date, MP Crockwell alone has had 17 trips at the expense of the taxpayer. Well, not including his JetGate trip last year.

His travel expenses for one year most likely exceed the cost of a referendum. No one spends that type of money unless they fully intend on implementing gaming.

One thing has been made perfectly clear: don’t look to MP Crockwell for his participation in the concept of “shared sacrifice”. Hypocritically, while he supports the cuts to the civil service during the recent SAGE debates, he made it clear that cuts should not come from him as he is currently:

Underpaid: “We are one of the lowest-paid jurisdictions in the world, Mr. Speaker!”

Overworked: “People expect you to be available when they are available, whether or not they see you in the supermarket and they expect you to give them 20 minutes of your time.”

Suffering: “I am getting less pay, so you would think that it would just be a natural consequence that I may be working less hours. But I work more hours!”

Help me out here; no one forced him to run for office, so what is he moaning about?

MP Crockwell is paid $156,864 per annum and his comrade-in-arms, Attorney General Mark Pettingill, is paid $203,045. Underpaid?

Bermuda, it seems perfectly clear that the OBA will cut back on civil servants, only to spend money on themselves. Just make sure that you don’t bother to ask MP Crockwell any questions as obviously his time is too expensive to be wasted chatting with  voters. 

Ps. Be Wery Qwiet... we are still hunting Wabbits

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