Greenidge sounds warning over sugar subvention

-says both sides need to find common ground

Shadow Finance Minister Carl Greenidge yesterday took the government to task for failing to hold consultations with the opposition on the budget for a third consecutive year and he issued the first warning that the huge subvention for the sugar industry had to be adequately justified.

Leading off the parliamentary debate on the $220 billion proposed budget, Greenidge spent a significant portion of his speech detailing the government’s refusal to meaningfully consult with the opposition, which has the majority in the National Assembly. He also said the drafters of the budget had once again deliberately ignored the legal and constitutional issues raised in the previous exchanges over the budget by the opposition parties, APNU and the AFC. And while the proposed budget has been touted as the largest ever in the country’s history, Greenidge noted that the significance of a larger budget has to be seen in the context of the share of citizens’ income that it takes and not in terms of the absolute sum of money spent in any particular year.

In a somewhat lukewarm beginning to the debate, Greenidge, whose presentation drew little reaction from his colleagues on either side of the House, noted that mechanisms to cut waste and corruption were absent. These, he said, include addressing the question of quality of government’s services; the problem of emoluments and conditions of service; the regulatory regimes, especially as regards to financial and other sectors; the maintenance of mechanisms to protect the poor and the vulnerable; and putting in  …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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