Budget provides for salary of ombudsman – PM

There is provision in this year’s budget for the salary of an Ombudsman, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds says.

He was at the time responding to a question by PNCR-1G Member of Parliament, Volda Lawrence during the consideration of the 2009 Estimates of Expenditure by the Committee of Supply last Tuesday.

To another question from Lawrence, the Prime Minister responded that the increase in the provisions for staff of the Office of the Ombudsman was owing to a 10% increase in salary that has been granted.

The opposition MP quizzed the Prime Minister on a number of issues in relation to estimated expenditures for the Office of the Prime Minister such as meter charges increase, to which Hinds responded that he did not have all the details; two new contract employees; the six vehicles in the prime ministerial residence and office; among others.

Lawrence asked about the type of vehicle that was budgeted for and where it would go and was told that it would go to the PM’s office, would cost $7M and is an “enclosed vehicle for going into the hinterland”.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony was asked by PNCR-1G MP Amna Ally about allocations for work to be done and was told that the National Cultural Centre would be painted, $2.5M would be spent for special effects’ lights, $2.3M for new curtains and $350M for a sewage pump.

Minister of Education Shaik Baksh was quizzed by Ally about buildings for maintenance and he listed a number of nursery and primary schools to be maintained. Ally asked about the works on the Waramadong female dorm and was told that it was 50% completed.

Meantime, PNCR-1G MP Mervyn Williams asked about the two new industrial training centres to be constructed this year. One would be at Leonora on the West Demerara, Baksh responded, while the other would be at Central Mahaicony; $450M has been budgeted for both projects. According to Baksh, the one at Leonora would be built on government land while private land would have to be purchased by the government for the centre at Mahaicony. He said the designs have been completed and the projects have to be put to tender.

$71M had been spent for consultancy services for the projects, he confirmed.

Further, a needs analysis is currently being done for the furniture and equipment needs for city schools, Baksh said in response to a question by Ally.

Also discussed on Tuesday was the proposed expenditure for the Ministry of Public Works and Communications, Ministry of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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