Burke: Budget ‘has priorities wrong’

The 2018 budget has been described as “lacking” by leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) during his response in the Senate.

Nazim Burke went as far as to say that the government was “not telling us the truth” on national debt figures, and accused them of playing down unemployment.

His response came after the NDC launched a stinging attack on the budget.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who billed the economic forecast as ‘the mother of all budgets’, said during his presentation that the focus was on “safeguarding our gains and continuing our progress.”

It included potential savings for taxpayers, as well as businesses.

Money was also set aside to deal with child abuse, which includes the establishment of a sex offender registry.

People are still suffering from the structural adjustment programme placed on Grenada, the NDC believes, even though it ended earlier this year.

Burke questioned whose “gains” the government was seeking to protect.

Education Minister Sen. Simon Stiell, defended the New National Party’s administration.

He said that it was under their watch that the country had “fostered the highest levels of business and investor confidence in recent times”

During his budget presentation, the Prime Minister reported a drop of unemployment from 28% to 24%, adding that 1,095 people gained jobs.

But Burke questioned the numbers, which he says should not include temporary debushing workers who get only three weeks of employment per year.

With that taken out, the NDC leader said the unemployment figure is just over 31%.

“Where are the jobs? What about permanent jobs for these debushers?” Burke asked as he questioned the priorities.

“Don’t you think, Mr President, that they deserve something better than de-bushing?”

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