By Clive Bacchus
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The St Kitts-Nevis Parliament has given the green light for government to borrow some $500 million to finance current requirements.
The resolutions seeking parliamentary approval were brought to the floor by Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas after opposition parliamentarians staged a walk out.
Team Unity Leader Opposition MP Dr Timothy Harris
Leader of the opposition coalition Team Unity, Dr Timothy Harris, has now accused the government of playing games with the public by giving the impression that the country is cash rich while at the same time incurring more debt for taxpayers.
“We have a government which on one hand professing to do so well… coming to the Parliament saying well I need cash and I need to get your approval to go to the bank to pay my treasury bills to the tune of basically $360 million..,” Harris told WINN 98.9.
“These resolutions of course would never have received the support of Team Unity... it would be repulsive to the ordinary thinking people that a government that has a slush fund still want to incur debt at interest rates which would create a long term burden for the people of St Kitts and Nevis,” Harris asserted.
During the parliamentary sitting opposition parliamentarians protested that the 20- month- old motion of no confidence was not yet tabled and complained of receiving late notice for Monday’s (August 18) sitting.
The Speaker pronounced that the matter of the motion of no confidence was before the court, referring to his move to the appeal court against a high court judgment that urged him to proceed with the motion. He also stated that Parliament was meeting in an emergency session and suggested that that was the reason for the late notice. After heated and acrimonious exchanges, the opposition headed for the door.
While the opposition parliamentarians have the majority of elected representatives, the government still commands a majority in Parliament, due to the presence of senators, for all parliamentary matters apart from the motion of no confidence. That motion restricts the debate and vote on the motion of confidence against the government strictly to elected representatives.
The resolutions that won parliamentary approval are the following:
1. To borrow from commercial banks (advances in the form of Treasury Bills) not exceeding $75 million for the purpose of meeting current requirements.
2. To borrow by means of advances in the form of Treasury Bills sums not exceeding $360 million.
3. Guarantee a loan in the form of overdraft and letters of credit not exceeding $15 million to the St Christopher Air and Seaports Authority (SCASPA).
4. Guarantee a loan in the form of overdraft and letters of credit not exceeding $5 million for the St Christopher Tourism Authority.
5. Guarantee the obligations of SCASPA to Cruise Port Development Ltd for a new pier and enhancement work at Port Zante, for sums not exceeding US$32 million.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network