Our Readers' Opinions
January 24, 2014
Budget debate a disgrace – “smh”

Fri Jan 24, 2013

Editor: the elected officials of the current parliament have taken the Vincentian electorate for a ride. What has passed for a budgetary exercise in the House of Parliament can only be regarded as another disappointing episode in those hallowed halls. It is distasteful and downright shameful that in view of the national crisis confronting the nation estimated to be 15-17 per cent of the nation’s GDP, Ministers of Government sat cosily and bluntly refused to continue the budget debate when invited to do so by the Speaker.{{more}}

It is mind-boggling that as we start 2014 on the back-foot, not a single Member of Parliament lawfully charged with a sector of our economy thought it prudent to inform, elucidate and expound on the policies and programmes that would be implemented to keep our economy in tow. Hon Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture- Shame on you! Hon. Girlyn Miguel, Minister of Education- Shame on you Madam! Hon Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Foreign Affairs – Shame on you! Hon Clayton Burgin, Minister of Health – Shame on you! Hon Montgomery Daniel, Minister of Housing – Shame on you! Hon Frederick Stephenson, Minister of National Mobilization – Shame on you! Hon Maxwell Charles, Minister of National Reconciliation – Shame on you! Hon Julian Francis, Minister of Transport and Works – Shame on you! Hon Ces Mc Kie, Minister of Tourism and Culture – Shame on you! Hon Luke Browne, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Culture – Shame on you young man!

The buck stops with the Government and most importantly the leader of Government business to corral and set an agenda for debate. This is common to all countries that are parliamentary democracies. Furthermore, to have youths, Luke Browne and Camillo Gonsalves sitting in their first budget exercise sit silently rather than stand and give the presentation of their lives seems only a phenomenon that may be common to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. With roads to build, agriculture to revive, a hospital to repair among other priorities, the last thing anyone expected was a premature end to the seriousness of the exercise to fuel our limp economy.

In fact, it may take months to fully understand what really transpired in the House of Assembly after the Opposition Leader finished his budget reply. The only thing which is certain, this no doubt has been the worst budgetary exercise in my living memory. Parliament should therefore sanction itself, and John Public, until such time, to sanction individual representatives, can only: “SMH”

Adaiah Providence-Culzac

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