Over 100 Trinidad and Tobago business people accompany Kamla to India
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday January 5, 2012 – The cost of 100 business people to accompany Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on her official visit to India has been estimated at TT$10 million.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan is adamant that tax payers will not be footing that bill. Rambachan said the over 100 people from various business groups paid their own way.
Persad-Bissessar and her husband Dr Gregory Bissessar arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday afternoon and were greeted by Sachin Pilot, India's Minister of State for Information and Technology.
The Indian Government has rolled out the red carpet royal treatment for Persad-Bissessar.
At two main roundabouts in New Delhi, Trinidad and Tobago flags stood alongside Indian flags.
Persad-Bissessar is the chief guest at India's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) where she will be honoured and celebrated for her accomplishments of being the first woman from the Caribbean diaspora to become Prime Minister.
She is expected to have a number of bilateral talks where memorandum of agreements (MOUs) have already been drafted.
Cricket star Brian Lara and Darren Ganga are also expected to join the delegation.
Rambachan also noted that Persad-Bissessar is the guest of India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and special arrangements were put in place for her and her delegation.
That includes a private aircraft which will be transporting the Prime Minister and members of her delegation from state to state.
Persad-Bissessar will spend today and tomorrow in New Delhi where she will have a number of official meetings including courtesy calls on India's President Pratihba Singh and vice president and bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
This evening a cultural reception hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission will be held for Persad-Bissessar at the Lalit hotel, New Delhi.
Cadiz told the Express this trip can already be hailed a success by the number of positive meetings lined up and feedback from the Indian side.
All Ministers over the next few days will be engaged in meetings which has the potential to attract billions in investment, particularly under the Energy Ministry.
Minister Maharaj said he was present in India to formalise discussions on establishing an air link partnership between India and this country.
He said Trinidad and Tobago can become a transit hub between Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and India.
He said discussions will also focus on whether Indian airlines are open to flying to Trinidad and Tobago and vice versa.