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Eustace wants PM to push back estimates

Eustace wants PM to push back estimates


Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace is calling on Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves to push back the presentation of the estimates for the 2011 Budget scheduled for later this week.{{more}}

Eustace, speaking on Nice Radio’s ‘New Times’ programme yesterday morning, said this would give the members of the Opposition ample time to debate the proposed document.

“The estimates are scheduled to be debated in the House this Thursday and, as of today (Monday), I have not seen the estimates of expenditure,” Eustace said.

“But what alarms me is that today I checked and there is no guarantee I will get it today, either,” he added.

Eustace expressed that he did not know what was the holdup, but an item as important as the estimates of expenditure should have been advanced to him.

He further contended that he found the situation “totally unacceptable,” adding that he felt as though the Opposition was being pressured unnecessarily.

“Not many documents that come before the Parliament of the country are more important than the estimates of expenditure.”

“If we are to make a meaningful contribution in the Opposition, then we are to have them at least a few days before, so we can go through them thoroughly,” Eustace contended.

The Opposition Leader said that he appreciated that there may have been some difficulties in getting the document ready, but there needs to be some limit.

“And if you can’t get it ready in time, then you must postpone the estimates to give people a couple days.

“I can’t assume what are in the estimates; I have to see it and if one is to comment intelligently, we are not hearing anything,” Eustace said, adding that the situation was more crucial, owing to the fact that there were new members of the House who would be making presentations on the proposed budget for the first time.

Eustace said that while a week before the presentation of the estimates is ideal to have a copy, he would have still been comfortable having the document at least three days before.

The Opposition Leader also said that a delay could be accommodated, based on the Finance Administration Act, where the Prime Minister can issue a ‘Provisional General Warrant’.

“Consideration should be given to changing the dates by one week and that is permissible under the Finance Act,” Eustace said. (DD)