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September 16, 2020

Opposition Leader questions aspects of supplementary spending

Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 11:22 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, opened debate on the fourth General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2020, by questioning, on short notice, several aspects of spending, before the House of Representatives.

Briceño raised issues with an appropriation of $7.5 million under Capital III expenditure for the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, concerning buying of equipment for its E-Learning application program, citing reports that a certain businessman is being negotiated with to provide the hardware and software. He demanded that Government make clear whether they are engaging in open tendering, to get “the best quality for the best price for the children of this country.”

The appropriation of $1.5 million for the Caracol Road was also questioned with Briceño reiterating that his administration if elected would review and reassign monies from the contract. The works face an open tender process, but Briceño questioned the hurry with just weeks, potentially, to go before general elections.

The further allocation of $4.5 million for the Food Assistance Program is being questioned by Briceño and rural representatives Rodwell Ferguson and Oscar Requeña. The latter two allege that political operatives are inserting themselves into the process, going door-to-door asking residents for their names and support to get assistance. Ferguson claimed the Ministry has been asking inappropriate questions of applicants, such as whether they have stoves, refrigerators and even television sets.

Caribbean Shores area representative Kareem Musa called the current situation “dependency on steroids,” deriding the system where applicants must go hat in hand to their area reps to approve assistance, rather than allocating land to each family, and asked, “Do you think this is going to help you win another election, really?”

 

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