Cost of Al Gore and Thinking Green Conference
GSD spokesman for the Environment, Selwyn Figueras, believes that the Government should make a public announcement about all anticipated costs for the Thinking Green conference as a matter of priority, along with details of how the initiative is going to be funded.
During the September session of Parliament, the Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes was unwilling to provide confirmation of the fee being paid to Vice President Al Gore and Juan Verde for their speeches at the conference, for reasons of the sensitivity of negotiations with sponsors of event. The specific information, in relation only to the fee, was eventually passed on a confidential basis to Mr Figueras, but only after an announcement had already been made public about the identity of the sponsors themselves.
“I am of the opinion that the people need to be able to judge this event by reference to the costs involved as one of the key factors to bear in mind. I’m not just talking about the fee here, which I certainly believe should be in the public domain, I’m referring to all the ancillary costs such as security detail, transport, accommodation and other logistics, in addition to the fee for the speakers themselves.
“I also find it odd that, according to reports, Vice President Gore will not be giving the press any time at all during his visit and, I suspect, this curiosity is shared by many.” The GSD considers it important that the press community understand why this is the case.
“I call on the Government to publish these details immediately. I also call on them to provide details of how sponsors were sought for the initiative and to what extent they will be participating in it. I think that only then will the community be able to assess the value for money proposition properly and consider it in the context of everything the alliance said about the state of our public finances before getting into power on 9th December, last year.”
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