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Government, Opposition spar over latest supplementary bills in House

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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2021. 1:26 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The sixth Supplementary Appropriation Bill to the General Revenue and Appropriation (2020/2021) (No. 6) Act, 2021 and its companion, the first Supplementary Appropriation Bill to the 2021-22 General Revenue and Appropriation Act, are seeking to validate previous spending.

But the Opposition insisted on line-by-line justification for the monies being spent on various projects.

The Prime Minister John Briceño says it is tied to past alleged corruption and spending as a result of that.

One by one, Ministers got up to address how money allocated to them was spent and some even asked for more.

The area of infrastructure was heavily debated, Mesopotamia area representative Moses “Shyne” Barrow reminding the current Prime Minister of their complaint that “people can’t eat street.” Barrow said more needed to be done for human development and social assistance to people whom he said are “starving worse than ever.”

Minister for Infrastructure Development and Housing Julius Espat replied that Government has managed to effect savings on projects solicited by the past Government, including the rehabilitation of the Caracol and Coastal Road.

The second bill, Briceño noted, covers compensation for land acquisition and the new Government complex on Chetumal Boulevard, the latter costing $28 million of which $20 million has already been spent.

The new building will accommodate primarily the Government’s financial services sector including the Tax Service Department, the Charles B. Hyde Building to accommodate the Vital Statistics Unit. The moves are to take effect when the former building is completed in December.

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