The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Watch: Minister Owen Bonnici defends €36,000 trip to Mexico

Andrew Izzo Clarke Tuesday, 31 January 2023, 12:25 Last update: about 2 years ago

Culture Minister, Owen Bonnici, has defended the cost of a trip that he and two members of staff had taken to Mexico last year.

The total cost of the flights was €32,790, while the accommodation had amounted to €3,201.

The UNESCO World Conference on Culture Policies and Sustainable Development, called Mondiacult 2022, occurred between the 28th and the 30th of September 2022. The dates for the Maltese delegations's trip were the 26th of September till the 2nd of October, and the delegates who attended were the minister, the permanent secretary and one member of the secretariat staff. The minister and one of the secretariat staff, however, had only attended between the 26th and the 30th of September.

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When asked to justify this expenditure, Bonnici said that the Ministry of Culture has a responsibility to participate in major cultural events, including the UNESCO meeting in Mexico.

He said that Malta was invited to participate in the UNESCO world event, "where top delegates, ministers from nearly every country in the world attended."

The Minister said that, undoubtedly, if he had elected to not attend the meeting, then the headline news would have been that Malta was the only country of the region to not have attended.

He said that the choice of site by UNESCO meant that they had to cross several continents, "but the flight was one that attracted this kind of expenditure." But he believes that Malta had to attend.

He further stated that, when it comes to matters of procurement, the government is careful to always get a good deal, and is also careful when it comes to expenses.


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