Rowley hinted that his contribution will be much more explosive than Persad-Bissessar’s. Rowley has not spoken in Parliament since he was fired by Prime Minister Patrick Manning on April 23 after raising concerns about a “lack of Cabinet oversight on Udecott.” He also expressed concern about Government’s transfer of $7 billion and said this must be clarified.
Speaking with reporters, following Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira’s three-hour Budget presentation, the former Trade and Industry Minister said, “There are some very interesting measures in the Budget. You cannot talk about a good budget or a bad budget, a budget is an intention, an estimate of what will happen. Some things I have been asking for, I have seen in there for example that pension matter, but again, talking about it takes five seconds, getting it done may take five years and that’s the problem. The infrastructure, the road infrastructure, the schools infrastructure, these are things we are talking about for a long time. My only question mark is implementation and that is not new.”
Noting Nunez-Tesheira’s references to using online procurement measures, Rowley said, “I did hear a couple of times the minister went out of her way to justify a certain approach with procurement and that needs further discourse, that is an area of serious concern because we are spending large sums of money and we cannot just gloss over shortcomings in procurement. in fact now more than ever this country should insist on proper procurement measures and not just swallow what is being told about it.
“I’m going to raise some of these in the debate because I will be speaking in the budget debate and it would not be a question of singing praises or criticising, there are a number of areas to be focused upon. Unlike in the past when we are spending small sums of money, we are spending large sums of money; we need proper procurement processes. If we get that we can be assured that we are getting value for money,” he stated. Rowley added that he was concerned about government transfers to state enterprises.