State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arnaldo Brown, says he’ll take steps to reduce his mobile phone charges, due to the furore over his 1-million dollar government cell phone costs racked up over a year.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the Simpson Miller administration forked out 5-million dollars to pay the mobile phone bills of 11 Cabinet Ministers and their Junior Ministers.
Minister Brown’s bill was the highest, coming in at 1-million dollars between July last year and June this year.
By comparison, the mobile phone bill of his senior Minister, AJ Nicholson, came in at 2-hundred-and-30 thousand dollars over the same period.
For the month of June this year, Minister Brown’s phone charges were well over 4-hundred thousand Jamaican dollars.
In statement posted on the Peoples’ National Party’s Facebook page, he sought to explain the size of his overall phone bill.
The State Minister says he understands the public concern over telephone expenses incurred over the review period.
And that without more information, he knows the impression that such expenditure may convey.
He says during the period, he went on 15 overseas assignments on behalf of the government, visiting several countries, including the United Kingdom, Turkey and Indonesia.
Mr. Brown says all costs incurred by him, were in the execution of his duties as Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
He says while on assignment, its necessary for him to be in touch with Ministry officials, key stakeholders and members of the the Diaspora, by phone and email.
Mr. Brown is acknowledging that the bills are very high.
This he attributes to the high data and roaming charges.
He says he’ll now utilize measures to ensure a reduction in the cost of his mobile phone bills.
Minister Brown says given that he’s away on official business, he’ll provide a fulsome response upon his return.