A Ban on Ministerial Travels ?
Over the past few months, government ministers, CEOs and other technical officials have been travelling around the world representing Belize on different international platforms. But those who have been closely following the foreign trips of government ministers and senior public officers have been pointing out that the travelling may be excessive, especially when the trip may not be necessary. Prime Minister John Briceno has decided to review all ministerial duty leave applications to decide the minister’s presence at an international meeting or forum is necessary. Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Courtenay shared more.
Eamon Courtenay, Foreign Minister of Belize: “I don’t know that there is any ban. What I do know is that that the Prime Minister, everybody when we travel we have to apply for duty leave, you have to justify the travel and I think the Prime Minister had said listen there has been so many conferences, so many meetings, he’s now going to take a closer look at approving whether or not you travel but there’s no ban.”
Reporter: Sir is it that he’s saying to ministers kind of hold it down on the traveling ?
Eamon Courtenay, Foreign Minister of Belize: “A lot of the meetings are preparatory meetings, a lot of the meetings are meetings that no deliberative decision is going to be taken. We firmly believe in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I think this informs a lot of ministers that if you’re not around the table every step of the way or at the beginning and you try to come in at the end you get left out and it’s a problem. So we have been trying to scale up our representation and attendance at international meetings. I think what the Prime Minister is simply saying is listen I will take a second look at every application for duty leave and determine whether it’s absolutely necessary. For example speaking to the Minister of Agriculture today he was telling me that he was invited and expected to go to Cairo to a meeting he has asked his CEO and another officer to attend. I was supposed to go to Argentina today, in fact all our foreign ministers of CARICOM are Whatsapping and saying Eamon where are you ? I said in discussion with Prime Minister I’m not going to go to Argentina I will stay and get this done and other business that we have done during the course of this week. So all of us are looking. We are being represented by CEO Mai and someone else so we are looking at places where if you’re not absolutely required and if there is no something that your presence is necessary then we should be represented by perhaps some other official or a CEO.”