The Cable

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(Jamaica Observer) Stung by an $8-million cellphone bill ran up by his finance minister over a one-year period, Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday ordered an audit of the cellphone bills of all senior and junior ministers, ahead of putting a cap on such bills.

Holness, describing the situation as “unacceptable”, gave the order at a hastily arranged meeting with Cabinet Ministers to discuss and review the issue of communication costs and high phone bills, amid a social media storm over the disclosure by Radio Jamaica (RJR) of the unusually high bill of Audley Shaw.

For his part, a chastened Shaw issued a separate apology in a Nationwide Radio interview acknowledging that the bulk of the cellphone bill was caused by data usage of which he was largely unaware while roaming on legitimate business overseas.

RJR dug up the information on Shaw's cellphone bill through the Access to Information (ATI) provision. The information revelaed that between April 2016 and March 2017, the minister's total phone spend was $8.34 million from a range of overseas visits, but also including some personal calls for which he has since paid.

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