Prime min­is­ter’s mag­i­cal mys­tery plane

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PASCHOS MANDRAVELIS

The prime min­is­ter’s trip to Europe was quite ex­pen­sive, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments that De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos pre­sented to Par­lia­ment in re­sponse to a ques­tion from New Democ­racy vice pres­i­dent Ado­nis Ge­or­giadis. They showed that for Alexis Tsipras to fly to Por­tu­gal in Jan­uary, we tax­pay­ers paid 25,462 eu­ros. A month ear­lier, the prime min­is­ter had flown to Cuba to lament the late Fidel Cas­tro. Ac­cord­ing to a non-pa­per from his of­fice, Max­i­mos Man­sion, tax­pay­ers paid 22,900 eu­ros for the transat­lantic trip. So, ei­ther some­one is cheat­ing at the till or they are play­ing with us. How can a trip to Cuba be 3,000 eu­ros cheaper than a visit to Por­tu­gal, when the lat­ter dis­tance is one quar­ter of the for­mer? But another re­ply from Panos Kam­menos com­pli­cates things even fur­ther. When he was asked about his own trip last Jan­uary to the United States along with Tele­coms & Media Min­is­ter Nikos Pap­pas, Kam­menos replied that the trip was 20.6 hours long and cost 29,491 eu­ros. The idea that they are fool­ing with us is re­in­forced by the Gov­ern­ment Gazette, which noted that the hourly cost of fly­ing the prime min­is­te­rial Gulf­stream is 5,537.09 eu­ros. Ac­cord­ing to Kam­menos’s doc­u­ments, the re­turn flight to Lisbon (with a stopover in Paris) was 9.6 hours. Mul­ti­ply that by the amount noted in the Gov­ern­ment Gazette and the bill comes to 53,156 eu­ros and not 25,462, which the de­fense min­is­ter claims. The flight to and from Cuba was 22 hours, and so must have cost 121,815 eu­ros and not the 22,900 that the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice claims. Who should we be­lieve? The Gov­ern­ment Gazette, which says that each flight hour costs 5,537.09 eu­ros? The De­fense Min­istry, which tells us that the prime min­is­ter went to Lisbon at a cost of 2,652.3 eu­ros per flight hour, whereas the de­fense min­is­ter trav­els at a cost of 1,432 eu­ros per hour? Should we be­lieve the Max­i­mos Man­sion, which brought the cost down to 1,040 eu­ros per hour of fly­ing? We do not know, but no one seems to care. In the age of “al­ter­na­tive facts” the gov­ern­ment can throw around num­bers without wor­ry­ing about the con­tra­dic­tions. And these num­bers are not peanuts, they con­cern the labors of the Greek peo­ple – or at least those who are still work­ing and find they are in part­ner­ship with the tax de­part­ment. With their mud­sling­ing against jour­nal­ists, var­i­ous pop­ulists have made an im­por­tant gain. They can do as they please, spend­ing tax­pay­ers’ money without any ac­count­abil­ity. They know that even if some­one asks ques­tions they can shrug them off as lack­eys of cor­rupt gut­ter media work­ing against so­cial­ism and so­cial jus­tice. By the way, in the United States they have a sim­i­lar prob­lem with Don­ald Trump’s weekly flights to his coun­try home in Florida…

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