Estimates and Budget – Homework assignment for Parliamentarians
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December 22, 2023
Estimates and Budget – Homework assignment for Parliamentarians

EDITOR: It is that time of the year again when our parliamentarians go to the house of assembly to talk about money. The debate is usually broadcast on radio so that ordinary Vincentians can benefit. This is a teachable moment, and the nation classroom is willing to learn.

We used to have budget debate in December, but this has been replaced by debate of the Estimates. The budget is now debated in January or February of the next year. After listening to the ministerial statements, condolences and congratulatory remarks, we need to know the difference between Estimates, and Budget and how they are compiled. We would also like to learn about parliamentary procedures, and how debates should be conducted. We expect that the audited accounts for the year 2023 would be laid before the house.

The matter of the public accounts committee meeting needs to be addressed. Also, the Prime Minister must talk to the Leader of the Opposition as consultation is required for good governance. While all must respect the Speaker, the rules governing the conduct of the House must be known by all. We need to know how the present Speaker would handle a motion of no confidence.

While brawls can bring some excitement to the House, our high crime rate calls for us to promote dialogue as an amicable way to settle disputes. We wish a smooth debate in the honourable House as they discuss the Estimates.

Anthony G. Stewart, PhD