US$110 Million concealed in 2011 Budget to serve ‘Cabal’
– AFC Economist
When the Current and Capital Expenditures that form the 2011 Budget were announced in February, some opposition elements immediately called it an elections budget.
Some had accused the administration of concentrating spending in a particular area so that the electorate there would have a tangible reason to give credence to the ruling administration’s claim to success and re-elect them.
There is now a new claim that involves an even more sinister motive according to US-based economist Sasenarine Singh, an Executive Member of the Alliance for Change. He said that there is a hidden $22B in the budget, which was placed there to serve the needs of the ruling cabal only.
Singh said that this kind of hidden money will be used to pay for the increased tax threshold and salaries while at the same time help reduce the Value Added Tax among other cuts.
Singh insists that Guyana not only has the potential in terms of resources, at present it already has some of the money necessary to undertake the policies that the AFC speaks of.
Singh said that embedded in the Budget is some $6B for elite travel expenses and despite this the country is yet to benefit.
He said that when Carl Grenidge was the Minister of Finance in Guyana and was accused of travelling all around the world at the expense of tax-payers dollars, at least he managed to reduce the country’s debt burden in the process.
This is not the case according to the AFC economist, who says that the cabal’s globetrotting is not having this desired effect on the economy.
He says that a careful perusal of the Budget reveals where the money is concealed to serve the ‘cabal.’
Singh says that even in the current expenditure, the way money is presented and used, unveils the deceit.
He questioned why a supplier would be paid in January for materials to be supplied in tranches throughout the year.
According to Singh, the AFC has done the necessary calculations and is confident that the Fiscal objectives as outlined in their Action Plan is more than just achievable, adding that the $22B that he referred to can be redirected to better serve the Guyanese taxpayers.
As it relates to the President’s claims that Singh has been fired on five occasions for corrupt practices, the AFC economist says that Jagdeo is being less than honest on the issue.
Singh says that he is not going to stoop to Jagdeo’s level of cussing out and degenerate remarks.
“I know clearly what weight class I am in and I know what he is in and that is why I chose to walk the high road,” Singh said.
He pointed out that he worked for the Government of Guyana in high level positions on three different occasions and on each time he resigned and was not fired for corruption.
Singh questioned how if he was fired for corruption, the same government re-hired him on two subsequent occasions.
Further, he said, on each occasion that he resigned he received all of his benefits and gratuities owed to him including vacation allowances.
His last posting in a Government role in Guyana was at the Ministry of Agriculture under the current Minister Robert Persaud.
“I have my resignation letter…if you are fired do you get paid your gratuity,” Singh asked rhetorically.
“The Public Service rules tell me that if you are fired you forfeit all benefits.”
Singh says that the entire situation puts them in a debacle in that the President can say just about anything he wants to say about anybody and be protected under the cloak of immunity.
“He operates like a domesticated poultry.”
The AFC economist says that at present, it is his word against the President but given the President’s record, he is sure the Guyanese people are intelligent enough to decipher the truth.
“If a man (Jagdeo) went and present himself to the nation as a married man and presented to the nation a First Lady and it was all a lie, how could that same person present the truth….we are talking about a person that operates at a crab barrel level,” said Singh.
Singh was born in Alexander Village and started his political struggles in the PPP from a very early age and his political activism saw him becoming the Chairman of the youth arm of the PPP, the PYO, until he migrated for studies in the UK where he earned a Masters’ Degree in Finance.
He continued to serve in Guyana at the Bank of Guyana and the Ministry of Finance and at several other roles in the financial sector, where he studied part time to become a qualified Chartered Accountant.
He served in the UNDP system and at the Ministry of Agriculture as a Project Manager and is one of the technicians who worked on completing the AFC Action Plan.