Should Ministers Have Gone on Cannes Junket for Puerto Azul?
Senator Hulse also admits that eyebrows were certainly raised when the developers mentioned the unbelievably high wages that housekeepers and landscapers would be receiving. He says that the big money talk even caught the ears of the prime minister who reportedly commented on the exorbitant cost of an overnight stay at the resort.
Godwin Hulse, Member, Cabinet Subcommittee on Investment
“As I said, I am not one of those ministers that you can have going on any kind of junket to do anything, I am very careful. But the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Investment may have thought otherwise and perhaps at the time did not see it as though they were promoting in such a way. I understood from them, especially from the Minister of Tourism, that it was to display to them what this kind of investment would be and the kind of people that would be attracted to it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. There were lots of things about it that was suspect to me, for example, wages that they would have paid to workers; in fact, I can recall making the joke that I will resign as a minister of government and encourage my wife at the time, just before she retired to resign because I was hearing figures like four or five thousand U.S. dollars for maids and gardeners and I remember saying that if they will pay me nine thousand dollars to go and chop the grass I’ll go and chop it. But those are the kinds of things that seem so good to be true. And who’s gonna come and who’s gonna stay overnight, and who’s gonna pay so much money and I can recall, I don’t want to misquote him but I can recall the Prime Minister making the comment “that man, eighty thousand dollars a night?” Who woulda pay that? So those things, but then they try to sell it as, you know, there are these huge, huge things like Cannes, that only the very, very rich and very, very famous go. But it was a nonstarter with the government, that I can say.”