Taxpayers picked up the tab to fly the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat to the Bahamas in order to collect an award for her philanthropic work, in what a government spokesman described as a “personal stay”.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed that the government paid €2,550 to fly Ms Muscat to the award ceremony held in Nassau, the Bahamas capital city.

The government paid for her air ticket as she was invited as the Prime Minister’s wife, the spokesman said, adding that no further costs regarding her “personal stay” were incurred by the government.

Despite not holding any government role, a press release announcing the Bahamas philanthropic award was issued by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Former CHOGM taskforce head accompanied her

Replying to questions by the Times of Malta, the spokesman said Ms Muscat was the spouse of the Prime Minister and was invited in that function, which was why the press release was issued from the OPM.

The spokesman said Ms Muscat was given the award in appreciation of the political and philanthropic work she had been carrying out both locally and internationally.

Ms Muscat chairs the Bank of Valletta-backed Marigold Foundation, which was launched in 2014 after the bank gave it a €200,000 endowment.

As a guest of the Bahamas Governor General, Ms Muscat discussed inter-Commonwealth issues, including health, autism and education, the spokesman said.

In meetings with Pat Minnis, the wife of the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Ms Muscat also discussed the importance of girls in the world of science and medicine, the role of women in politics together with the work of the Marigold Foundation and various projects the NGO was involved in, the spokesman added.

He said that Ms Muscat also used the opportunity to pass on messages in favour of girls’ empowerment, girls’ access to sanitation and education and the need to collaborate on a global level within the Commonwealth and beyond.

According to the press release, former CHOGM taskforce head Phyllis Muscat accompanied the Prime Minister’s wife on her trip to the Bahamas.

The spokesman assured that the government did not pay for Phyllis Muscat’s “participation”.

Michelle Muscat’s trip to the Bahamas meant she could not collect in person another award given locally last week, where she was recognised Volunteer of the Year.

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