With general election just around the corner, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell has signaled his clear intention to use the nation’s purse to try and wipe out the opposition forces.
The Prime Minister has taken legislation to Parliament to give the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration access to EC$86.7 million to spend during the last six months of the year.
This mini budget under the guise of the Supplementary Appropriation (No.1) Bill for 2016 is clearly the campaign budget for the NNP regime.
As Dr. Mitchell stated quite clearly, the money will be used on things that were not covered in the 2017 budget presented last December.
The ominous warning is that the funds will only be used for “Capital Expenditure’ so the opposition is being put on notice that government intends “to let go money” during the next six months.
Clearly, the funds are intended to be part of the “war chest” of the NNP administration to hold onto State power.
THE NEW TODAY is quite frankly not clear how this mini-budget will be financed.
Is this money already in the government coffers and waiting to be disbursed at the appropriate time as the date for the upcoming general election is released?
The only hint given by Prime Minister Mitchell is the coded words that the monies are due to “the sacrifices and contributions” made by Grenadians under the Structural Adjustment Programme.
Is the population to conclude that their own money is now being used by the powers-that-be to finance their election campaign?
The public servants in the country might be angry out of the realisation that the NNP administration might have been holding back money for the election “war chest” and not seriously addressing their pension issue.
A breakdown of the NNP War Chest for the election is as follows:
*Office of the Prime Minister, $6,200,000;
*Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Aviation and Culture, $144,820;
*Ministry of National Security, Public Administration, Disaster Management, Home Affairs, Information & Implementation, $8,117,070;
*Ministry of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs, $3,000,000,
*Ministry of Finance , $8,571,435.82;
*Ministry of Economic Development, Trade & Planning, $22,758,275;
*Ministry of Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, ICT & Community Development, $26,824,000;
*Ministry of Social Development and Housing, $1,512,618.81;
*Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development & The Environment, $736,776.36;
*Ministry of Health, Social Security and International Business, $2,346,561.38;
*Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry & Fisheries, $353,347.
As a Mathematician and Statistician, Dr. Mitchell would appreciate that just over 22 million dollars in the mini-budget is allocated to those areas under his portfolios.
So PM Mitchell who over the years has built up a reputation as a man with a mission when it comes to a spending spree, will not be short of funds to do many things over the next six months.
THE NEW TODAY suspects that the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) would have taken note of this mini-budget and the large amounts to be spent by government within a six-month period.
The NDC seems to be aware of the game plan and has sought to hit back through a poem that was delivered Monday night by Senator at the party’s launch of attorney-at-law, Claudette Joseph as the Caretaker for the Town of St. George.
Senator chanted: “My dear people, don’t be lying, join the line, eat them out, drink them out, vote them out…”.
Only time will tell!!!