UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: May 21st, 301 AP.

Opposition questions Trade Minister's trips overseas

The Trade MInister, Arthur Reagan MP, has come under fire from the opposition for months of overseas travelling and little to show for it.

The Utanian Trade Minister was absent from the Parliament when the Opposition spokesmen for Government Affairs, Gordon Kennett MP, (half-seriously referred to as shadow-Minister of the Attack-dogs) has slammed the government for allowing "an excessive waste of government funds for overseas holidays for the Minister for Trade". Mr Kennett attacked the Minister's lack of success in drumming up much in the way of trade, while spending "a small fortune" having a "jolly old time" overseas.

At a cost of over Û35,000 per week for the Minister and his four assistants to travel overseas, figures sourced from the Government Expenditures Committee, of which Mr Kennett is a member, Mr Kennett attacked the need for the Minister to "be constantly travelling". According to the committee papers, Minister Reagan has been away in Sky City (Bowdani), Colchisia (Lendosan Confederation), Sub-Marina (Ansonia), Gough (F.R Whitlam) plus fifteen other cities for weeks on end supervising a staff of over ninety in various overseas trade delegations. The trade delegations cost in excess of 3.0 million each month. They are supported by a large staff in Utania as well.

Mr Kennett demanded that the Minister return to explain himself before the Government Expenditures Committee, or face a Parliamentary Enquiry, which the opposition would call for. He concluded that the "blown-out" costs were of such a "serious concern to the people of Utania" that they warranted the "most serious investigation".

The government decried the criticism as "unnecessary and tactless", given Mr Reagan's long absense from his wife and three teenage children, not to mention the same burden borne by several other trade delegates. Prime Minister Barth called the opposition spokesman "unkind and heartless" and the comments "completely reprehensible". However, he agreed that he would call on the President to make the Minister available to the committee in the next month.

The attack in Parliament is another political ploy by the "opposition leader's lapdog", said Attorney General Jurgen Hoff, who said that the enquiry would "waste thousands of taxpayer's punds". Opposition Leader Thomas Kemp was said to be smiling jovially in the Parliament as his "lapdog" served up the attack, which weakens the government further, and strengthens his own position for the Conservative Party pre-selection race beginning in July.

Other cities the Minister has visited include: Christianshaven, Surina, Ailati, Midlburgh, Fenizabad, Outreaumer, Avenira, Drevlin, Aurelius, Joannina, Sansoheil, Liston, Newton, Covington and Kisqa.

The Utanian Pund (Û) is worth one-third of a Christianan Crown.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)