The Opposition is vehemently objecting to a move by Government to start preparations for the 2020 national budget.
Government is reportedly hoping to present the national budget by November 25.
The Ministry of Finance is aiming at national budget hearings with agencies between August 19 to September 27 and for the presentation of the constitutional agencies before the National Assembly on October 10.
In a strongly-worded Letter to the Editor yesterday, former Junior Minister of Finance, Juan Edghill of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), disclosed that he has become aware that moves are afoot to start budget consultations.
With recent rulings from the Caribbean Court of Justice that a December 21, 2018 no confidence vote in the National Assembly was valid, Edghill warned that any moves to start preparations is a clear attempt to lend legitimacy and would serve to create an environment of collision.
According to Edghill, Budget 2020 must be presented by a Government that has a mandate from the people through free and fair elections. He said that on Tuesday night, the Finance Secretary of the Ministry of Finance issued Circular No. 7/2019.
According to the PPP official, the letter that was sent to all Heads of Budget Agencies and Departments including Constitutional Bodies, and would come eight days after a “definitive and explicit ruling” from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and in the face of the operationalisation of Articles 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution.
“Is someone being delusional or is it plain stubbornness or maybe it is a mentality that is being exposed that this Government believes that it can continue to hang on to power indefinitely. How desperate can one be?”
According to Edghill, the Coalition Government used an argument of the ‘34 majority theory’ to implement the 2019 budget. “And now they hope to use the argument of House-to-House Registration to buy themselves more time so that they can formulate, prepare and present a 2020 Budget. The Minister of Finance who stood resigned on December 21, 2018 is presumptuously pursuing a path of provocation by causing this circular No. 7/2019 to be issued.”
Edghill called on all heads of budget agencies, Permanent Secretaries, Regional Executive Officers and heads of constitutional bodies to familiarise themselves with the rulings of the CCJ which are available
“Do not be bullied! We in the PPP/C Parliamentary Opposition will not allow this folly and untamed ignorance coupled with the brazen arrogance of this APNU/AFC Government to go unchecked. No caretaker Government, which is the current status of this Granger-led Coalition should be allowed to be this blatant and disrespectful in its conduct. To pursue this illegality is to create an environment for collision and confrontation rather than conciliation and preserving the well being of our people.”
Edghill, the Shadow Finance Minister in the National Assembly, said that the provisions in the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act provide for a budget by March/April 2020 – there is no crisis that would force the Coalition Government to do otherwise.
“A budget which defines the vision, priorities and programmes for the prosperity and development of all the people of Guyana by a Government that is legal, constitutional and democratically elected through free and fair elections, is the only one that will be accepted.”
He said that it is unbelievable that a Government that was defeated by way of a no-confidence vote on December 21, 2018 “who by way of spurious and incredible arguments of a ‘34 majority theory’, used the legal system to buy themselves seven months and counting to implement a budget that they had no mandate to implement.”
The former minister said that rather than offering goods and services to all the people of Guyana, “they (government) used questionable processes of procurement to award contracts to their political allies, friends and families to shore up political support.”
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