After last year’s compelling narrative of a budget for not creating jobs in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), I was looking forward to listening to better budgetary proceedings in 2014. However, these 2014 budgetary proceedings were even worse than the compelling narrative poppycock we got last year.
What was it that the people of SVG were to take away from this recent exercise masquerading as a budgetary proceeding by the government? Come on! What was it?
The prime minister (PM) summed up by saying, "Mr Speaker, I have provided a broad overview of the economic and fiscal issues. The ministers who hold the respective portfolio in relation to agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, industry, telecommunications, creative industries, housing and lands, construction, road transport, external trade, wholesale and retail trade, will address each of these economic sub-sectors specifically in their budget presentations."
There was the response by the leader of the opposition to the PM’s speech on the estimates. Then the PM wound up the budget debate. Is this a joke? Where are the ministers who hold the respective portfolios budgetary presentations? Where? Come on! They cannot be serious!
Now in prime fashion, they are trying to put the blame on the winding up of the budget debate on the opposition. Are they for real! It is a budgetary debate and the emphasis is on debate. It is like in calypso, “Call and Response”! What in effect that they are telling us is after winning the coin flip, the government chooses to "defer" their budgetary presentations and debate.
While deferring is a very common practice in the sporting arena, it is not a common practice in budgetary debate proceedings. How could the opposition be expected to debate the 2014 budget, when the government ministers failed to give their respective portfolios budgetary presentations?
The government ministers failed the people of SVG! Yes, the people know who failed them! The 2014 budgetary proceedings reminds me of the calypso from Mighty Spoiler – “A Magistrate Try Himself”. The only thing missing was to charge themselves with contempt of court.
By the way, are we now going to hear that the winding up of the budget debate without the respective portfolio presentations from the government ministers is another “master stroke”? The nonsense we heard about the sale of the NCB (National Commercial Bank).
On another note, why was the PM, in winding up the budget debate, reading partially a private letter from Margaret London to the leader of the opposition? What does that letter has to do with the budgetary debate proceedings, and or the price of milk or eggs in SVG? What? What!
Instead, the PM should have been demanding his ministers get up and give presentations on their respective portfolios. As he rightfully stated, “The ministers who hold the respective portfolio in relation to agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism,… will address each of these economic sub-sectors specifically in their budget presentations." Not winding up the budget debate and partially reading a private letter.
C’mon, man, be honest with the people of SVG! Prudent and Enterprise in SVG? Seriously!
Peace and justice and get real.