Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon has refuted accusations by Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo that the Coalition Government has been spending taxpayer’s monies, and using state resources for ministerial outreaches.
Harmon stated that the “Bringing Government to the People,” outreaches are accounted for in the 2019 National Budget.
“These are matters that were budgeted for in our 2019 budget… The costs associated with these outreaches are part of our budget,” Harmon told media operatives on Friday, at the Post Cabinet Briefing.
When questioned as to where in the 2018 Budget Estimates the costs could be found for the outreaches, Harmon said, “You will find it in all of the ministries. I can’t tell you what line item it is, but it is in the budget.”
A perusal of Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s 2019 Budget speech showed that the word “outreaches” was mentioned once. This fund regarded the monies allocated under the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan had read then, “…We have budgeted over $480 million for the Department of Social Cohesion to conduct outreaches and events, including social cohesion week, harmony village and inter-village activities.”
The Budget Estimates for 2019 published on the Ministry of Finance’s website were published in three volumes.
In volume one, the keyword “outreach” emerged seven times, but it only related to Outreach Officers and Outreach Workers who were referenced in a list of approved positions under Ministries / Departments/Regions.
In Volume Two, “outreach” is recorded six times in the Programme Performance Statements, but it did not specify it as a ministerial outreach.
In Volume Three, the word “outreach” was never mentioned.
Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo on numerous occasions has repeatedly accused the Coalition Government of spending additional taxpayer’s monies, and using state resources on their ministerial outreaches.
Jagdeo has said that the act was “illegal” and accused the government as using the opportunity for heavy political campaigning.
The opposition leader had even said he would seek reimbursement of the monies spent on those outreaches, should the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) win the General and Regional Elections.
Last June, Harmon defended a move by the APNU/AFC to secure over $300M in supplementary funding from the National Assembly for ministerial outreaches across the country..
“It was recognised that there was a view that people needed to see their Government Ministers more. They wanted to be in touch with them. When we came into office, we recognised that there was sort of an expectation created by the previous Administration that only if you see a Minister that you can get things done,” Harmon said.
Already, Government has held ministerial outreaches in Regions One Barima-Waini; Two Pomeroon-Supenaam; Three Essequibo Islands-West Demerara; Four Demerara Mahaica; Six East Berbice-Corentyne; Nine Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo; and 10 Upper Demerara-Berbice.
Feb 26, 2020Narayan Ramdhani (The Kings University) and Priyanna Ramdhani (Olds College) were both selected to represent the Province of Alberta at CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) national...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]