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WE SAID NO: Minnis said his Cabinet rejected travel for Expo 2020 initiative – EyeWitness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis yesterday castigated the Davis administration over its level of participation in the global cultural exchange Expo 2020 Dubai, UAE.
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and the delegation traveled to Dubai yesterday.
On the heels of public criticism over the Bahamian delegation’s trip to Dubai for Expo 2020, the Office of the Prime Minister has released a statement defending the group’s attendance and providing further details.
Among the 192 country pavilions, The Bahamas will be showcasing the best in Bahamian culture, music, and food. The country will be highlighted with the celebration of Bahamas National Day at the Expo on Monday.
While there, the prime minister is expected to engage in high-level talks on climate change, technology, and economic growth for The Bahamas, as well as identify opportunities for The Bahamas as the investment capital in the region.
The delegation for the expo has been criticized as very large, comprising of Bahamian choirs, bands, musicians, and cultural artisans.
Communications Director in the Office of the Prime Minister Latrae Rahming said $1.7 million had been approved by the former Minnis administration.
In an earlier interview with Eyewitness News, Minnis indicated that extra funding for the expo was denied by his Cabinet due to the lack of value they saw in attending. 
He explained that during his administration there was a moratorium on traveling for Cabinet ministers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“In terms of Dubai we gave strict orders that there would be nothing coming from the government,” Minnis said.
“We gave strict orders that if tourism was interested then whatever is in their budget they will spend it but they were not getting any additional money.”
The former prime minister said his administration also took the position that if the expo would bring a lot of investors then get the private sector should get involved and cover costs. 
He added that “the amount of tourists we get from that particular area is less than one percent. We made the determination that the government wasn’t spending any money”.
Minnis also contended that The Bahamas could have participated virtually to display Bahamian culture in different events. 
“I remember that Cabinet meeting very well when I gave the order. There were no Cabinet ministers traveling at this particular time in the pandemic.”
According to the government’s statement, Cabinet approved up to $1 million of the cost, while the UAE has funded $3.5 million and the Bahamian private sector contributed half a million dollars.
Davis is attending on a personal invitation from the royal family and prime minister of UAE, the statement said.

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