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PM – Estimates should be in the hands of Parliamentarians

PM – Estimates should be in the hands of Parliamentarians

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Copies of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure were expected to be distributed to the members of the House late yesterday afternoon, this according to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

Earlier in the day, the Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace had indicated that when he made inquiries at the clerk’s office yesterday morning, copies of the document were not yet available.

However, at a press conference later on Monday, January 17, PM Gonsalves said that copies of the Estimates were expected to be in the hands of Parliamentarians sometime yesterday afternoon.

“I would have wished it to be in their hands on Saturday, but it was rough going after an election in mid-December and Christmas right after,” the prime minister said.

The Opposition Leader had also earlier made a call for the Prime Minister to postpone the date of the debates which are scheduled for this Thursday.

Eustace further contended that the document was of great importance and that members, particularly those new to the House, needed sufficient time to thoroughly read the document in order that they make good presentations.

However, according to PM Gonsalves, when he first went to the House in 1994, under a New Democratic Party-led government, the estimates were presented to members of the House, particularly the Opposition, after the Minister of Finance presented the Estimates and Appropriation Bill, as it was done in the past.

“So we used to get it the very night and had to respond to it the very next day,” Gonsalves told members of the media.

“So when you hear some persons being critical that they didn’t get it over the weekend, I smile.”

“They have it a few days before the debate and one week before the budget debate itself,” the prime minister continued.

When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT late yesterday afternoon, Opposition Senator Anesia Baptiste said that she was informed that copies were not expected to reach the NDP’s office until sometime this morning. (DD)

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