Terrelonge Concerned at Ministers’ Soaring Telephone Bills - Says it is a Grave Insult to Hard Working Taxpayers!
Opposition Caretaker for St Catherine Eastern, Mr Alando Terrelonge, is expressing grave concern at the massive charges for telephone usage racked up by some Government Ministers. Terrelonge describes the soaring telephone bills as “a grave insult to the hard working taxpayers of Jamaica who struggle everyday to feed their families while those elected to serve refuse to lead by example and make the same sacrifices they call upon ordinary Jamaicans to make.”
The Opposition Caretaker said that while it is expected that Ministers will incur expenses as they perform their duties, care must be taken to ensure that telephone bills are kept at a reasonable level. Terrelonge stated, “It is a cause for concern that a Junior Minster would rack up a phone bill of over $1,000,000.00 when the Minister himself has a phone bill of $230,000.00. Without rushing to conclusions, we the people must demand an independent audit of the telephone records of the Junior Minister in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and get a full explanation of the nature of the calls, and what benefit if any, was derived by Mr. Terrelonge says that the phone bills of Ministers Golding, Bunting, Hannah and others demonstrated the level of care and sensitivity of the burdens faced by ordinary Jamaicans, which is expected of our leaders.
He went on to note, without an acceptable explanation to the contrary, a phone bill in excess of $1,000,000.00 shows complete disregard for the limited resources of our country. Terrelonge added, “How do we explain to families living off minimum wage of approximately $300,000.00 each year that one Minister spent over $1,000,000.00 on his phone bill? One Million Dollars could have fed 167 families earning minimum wage for one week. It is clear that the Minster is out of touch with the everyday realities faced by his constituents and the nation at large.”
Terrelonge concluded: "In the age of technology, one would expect that our Ministers, and in particular our young Ministers would adopt more affordable means for communicating, whether in Jamaica or abroad. With skype, viber, bbm, whatsapp, tango and so many other communication platforms, excessive phone bills are inexcusable and ought to be a thing of the past. It is time Government officials tighten their own buckles as the suffering public can no longer ignore their misplaced priorities."