Kamla predicts Budget ‘meltdown’

Speaking with reporters following Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira’s three-hour presentation of the $49 billion Budget in the House of Representatives, Persad-Bissessar recalled that Prime Minister Patrick Manning said last Friday there would be surprises in the fiscal package. Flanked by UNC Alliance MPs Drs Hamza Rafeeq and Tim Gopeesingh, Persad-Bissessar scoffed, “The only surprise that we had was that there was no surprise whatsoever. It is the same ole, same ole. I would say that 81 percent of what was disclosed here today represents same ole same ole.” She slammed Nunez-Tesheira for outlining no new policy to fight crime in the country or curb rising food prices. “Agriculture which should be priority number one is nowhere priority number one in terms of allocation. It’s like back to the future. We are supposed to be going forward but all the programmes are going backwards,” Persad-Bissessar declared. She added that it took Nunez-Tesheira “120 minutes” to speak about crime in her presentation but no new anti-crime measures were announced.

“The increase in premium gas. The majority of cars that’s what they’re using now is premium gas. So they give the impression that the other gas is not going to be raised and everything will be fine. That’s not true. That is going to impact on the cost of living,” she added. Nunez-Tesheira said the prices of other fuels in the country “will be retained.”

Persad-Bissessar revealed that when she leads off the Opposition’s response in the Budget debate on Friday at 10 am, that presentation will be “a nuclear missile” aimed at the Government. The Siparia MP said she will focus on the macro-economy while her Opposition colleagues will target specific ministries, policies and programmes in their contributions.

Congresss of the People (COP) Political Leader Winston Dookeran, who was in Parliament for the Budget, said Nunez-Tesheira’s presentation looked promising at the start but ended on an “anti-climactic note” because it was anchored to Government’s Vision 2020 plan. “Vision 2020 is about state accumulation of power and a pathetic record of implementation. The dilemma in which she found herself is like quicksand. She does not know how to get out of the dilemma and she does not know how to move the nation forward,” he stated.

Asked how he felt to be back in Parliament, Dookeran, a former UNC MP, replied, “A little anti-climactic. The Speaker (Barry Sinanan) phoned and invited me.” Dookeran sat in a reserved section just behind the Opposition’s backbench and was warmly greeted by some UNC A MPs.


"Kamla predicts Budget ‘meltdown’"

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