“A waste of fresh air,” “Poor representation,” “Utterly disgraceful” –Those were just a few of the phrases used by online commentators regarding the quality of the debate during a session of yesterday’s sitting of the National Assembly.
The second session of yesterday’s budget 2018 debates saw presentations from Ganga Persaud, Colin Croal, Komal Chand, John Adams, Ronald Bulkan, Cornel Damon, Jermaine Figuera, Dharamkumar Seeraj, Hemraj Rajkumar.
Commentators held the view that a point by point examination of the budget was lacking on the part of Opposition Parliamentarians. House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland was forced to remind some of the presenters that references to their colleagues on the eastern side of the House could be deemed inappropriate.
As it relates to the presentations, Opposition Member, Dharamkumar Seeraj used the 20 minutes allocated to him to speak to a number of issues related to the agricultural sector. He expressed the view that the sector continues to be marginalized year after year, from cuts to the budget, to the poor implementation rate in the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).
Seeraj also stated that there was hardly any mention of the budgetary measures for the sector by the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder.
As for Opposition Member, Cornel Damon, he did not speak to a single issue that was noted in Budget 2018. He lamented that the budget is a cut and paste one but failed to show how. He also stated that the budget was poorly crafted and cited no parts of the budget to support his argument.
Instead of offering recommendations regarding issues which needed to be addressed by the budget, he was quick to suggest that the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan should take a course in crafting budgets.
Opposition Member, Ganga Persaud also struggled to make a point by point analysis on the budget. He said that the Government is turning the local government elections issue into a toy.
The government is one which thinks big but acts small, plans big but implements nothing, he said. Like Damon, he failed to provide evidence of this.
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