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Budget – a time bomb waiting to explode

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EDITOR: With much anxiety and great expectation I took time out to listen to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves as he presented his 2005 budget to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I must say I was greatly disappointed.{{more}}

The proposal was over $587 million of which he allocated $379 million to spend on expenditure and $207 million on capital expenditure. With this the government is hoping to collect $341 million for the recurrent side of the budget and $245 million for capital expenditure – definitely a time bomb waiting to explode.

Imagine in the 2004 presentation, the government estimated the collection of $343 million in revenue but was unable to do so, having to alter the revenue downwards by $30 million. With this year’s plan of $379 million for recurrent expenditure, I say we would want a “miracle” or a possible introduction of heavy taxes for this budget to work.

I disagree with the Prime Minister when he said that the budget is for the poor. How could this be when everything is on the rise, including food, utilities and transport. Is this the message you want to send to your people Mr. Prime Minister? Sir, are you setting us up for a situation like in Dominica, where cost of living is so high that the people had to leave their country to get a better life?

I am asking the Prime Minister to please rethink the budget, go back to the drawing board and work out a plan that will suit everyone on the country, both the rich and the poor because if that time bomb does explode it will kill us all.

Kingsley DeFreitas

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