Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar offered to pay for her sister Vidwatie Newton on the first official trip she made as Prime Minister shortly after assuming office.
Its reported that the Prime Minister even offered to tender a cheque to cover Newton's travel expenses, but it was refused by a senior public servant.
In July 2010, Persad-Bissessar went to Jamaica to attend her first Caricom Heads of Government Meeting in Montego Bay.
The former public servant said she conferred with a colleague in the Ministry of Finance, and they both understood the need to address the issue since this was the first female Prime Minister on her first trip.
Recognising that Newton was not a public servant or an officer on contract, a recommendation was made, subject to the approval of Cabinet, that she accompany the Prime Minister as a travel assistant, the person said.
The individual added that the travel assistant would tend to those needs peculiar to a female, as well as medication and other personal needs.
The same arrangement was used for the Prime Minister's trip to New York, USA. The individual stressed that these arrangements were made in the unique scenario of a woman Prime Minister now coming on board.