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Jan 13, 2021

Senate Spars Over Supplementary Appropriation Bill

The Senate had its first sitting for the new year today in Belmopan. As the government, the People’s United Party now has control of the Senate with six members mainly debating opposition senators, led by Michael Peyrefitte as Lead Opposition Senator.  Unlike Friday’s House session, today’s Senate Sitting was shorter, but the debate was robust between the two parties and the four social partners.  The General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill number five for 2021 was heavily debated.  The bill was brought from the House of Representatives and sought the Senate’s approval for the spending of millions of dollars.  But the Opposition was greatly against the bill, and as Peyrefitte complained, with no details on how and what exactly the monies were being spent on and if the purpose was legitimate.

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Lead Opposition Senator

“When I look at this bill, I am extremely shocked to see that the government is doing exactly what they crucified us for when we were in government and what several members who were nongovernmental used to cry about when we get these appropriation bills. Now, two things, two questions I have. It was like how I contacted Public Service Commission. I contacted the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Finance has told me that some of the estimates that are in this supplemental bill have already been used and spent by virtue of special warrants which is in the previous government we accepted as a legal form of expenditure. But this concept was railed against by the PUP when they were in opposition, that you cannot spend and then come to the National Assembly to as the National Assembly to certify that spending. So if it is true that some of the money they are asking us to vote now has already been spent. We want them in the spirit of let me look at their motion, recitals number nine to insist in good and transparent governance. In the spirit of transparency, give to us and the nation how much you have spent so far since November eleventh and on what because we here monies being spent with ministers with transition teams, to transition into government, what has the money been spent on. If you had attached to his bill detailed explanations as to why you need this money, on legitimate things that it would be spent on for legitimate purposes then we would have to support it because we were just there and we understand but you used to criticize us for that, come back with the same thing with no details and expect us to just support it. That we cannot do Madam President.”


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