Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary in the Tourism Ministry, is defending the travel bill for officials in the ministry, declaring that they did not go on a joyride.
During a sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) in June, it was revealed that Delano Seiveright, Senior Strategist in the Tourism Ministry, accumulated almost $9 million in travel expenses since assuming duties in 2016.
The revelation sparked debate about the level of travel expenses being charged to the public purse and whether the spend was value for money.
However, speaking on RJR’s Hotline on Thursday afternoon, Ms. Griffith explained that most of Mr. Seiveright’s trips followed the declaration of a state of emergency in St. James.
She argued that the trips were meant assure Jamaica’s main tourism markets that although there is a state of emergency “it doesn’t mean that tourism has stopped and so please keep on coming.”
Ms. Griffith insisted that the ministry has followed government guidelines in relation to overseas travel during the 12 years she has been permanent secretary.
She said all trips by ministry officials were fully process, fully documented and received Cabinet approval.