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Jan 24, 2018

At Senate, Opposition Demands Answers on Hurricane Earl Spending

There was a single bill brought from the House of Representatives for passage through today’s meeting of the Senate, the first for 2018. The General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation 2016-2017 Bill proposes to formally appropriate some thirteen point nine million dollars already spent in 2016, apparently on relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl. Quite apart from why more was spent on general assistance than repairing homes, Opposition Senator Eamon Courtenay led off the debate by citing a number of what he called “gross” violations of both the Finance and Audit Reform Act.  He noted that there is a time limit for supplementary bills to be brought to the National Assembly and require full accountability.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“Mr. President, I do not believe – except for those members of the Senate who are in Cabinet and who may have additional information – certainly, we on this side of the house do not know the details of any of these expenditures. What is alarming is that a significant amount of these expenditures relate to Hurricane Earl. Hurricane Earl hit landfall on the fourth of August, 2016; we are in January, 2018. And millions upon millions of dollars have apparently been spent on Hurricane Earl cleanup and general aid. Mr. President, this Senate requires an explanation.  This Senate should not approve this expenditure, unless and until we have a proper explanation as to how it is that millions upon millions of dollars apparently spent in 2016, were not dealt with in the 2017-2018 budget; why it is that it is being brought now, at this very late stage; why is it that it is being brought without any details as to what the expenditure was, what the money was expended on; why is it that we do not have a mid-year report that gives us the full details as required by the regulations that ensures transparency and fiscal responsibility. Because what we are dealing with is the most gross fiscal irresponsibility by the Government.”

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