Categorized | National News

Laing Calls Budget Trickery

Former State Minister for Finance and current Opposition Senator Zhivargo Laing accused the government of attempting to trick and defraud the Bahamian people with the budget during his contribution to the 2012/2013 Budget debate in the senate yesterday.

Mr. Laing said the Christie government’s budget lacked a concrete plan and he accused the current government of covertly trying to increase the pay of some cabinet ministers.

“This 2012/2013 Budget, in my opinion, is an attempt at fraud, trickery, slight-of-hand, a magician’s illusion,” Mr. Laing said.

“The PLP Government attempted to sneak in salary increases for ministers by stealthily trying to give a $6,000 annual pay raise to ministers of state first. They now claim it was a mistake, but the truth is that no such mistake could have been made given the nature of the budget process in our nation. It is more likely that instructions were given for this to happen and when they were found out, they quickly tried to say it was a mistake.”

Mr. Laing also defended his administration’s fiscal policies for ensuring the country experienced modest economic growth during a particularly difficult period.

He said that even though the PLP heavily criticised the former administration’s handling of the economy, the government in its budget, has chosen to adopt several of the Ingraham government’s policies.

“It berates a $504 million deficit left behind by the FNM but follows it with a planned deficit of $550 million, $46 million or nine per cent higher of its own.

“It maintains most of the tax increases instituted by the FNM administration in an effort to rebalance our fiscal affairs following the brunt of the crisis; taxes they said were a burden on the backs of Bahamians in these recessionary times. Yet they keep them. There is a bundling of repayment of loans not due until the 2013/2014 budget year in this budget.”

The FNM senator also decried the government’s conduct during the course of the debate as he alleged that at times the discourse was more about celebrating and flexing political muscle than addressing the country’s fiscal woes.

“This was in too many ways the Ingraham-bashing debate,” Mr. Laing said. “In other ways, it was the false gloating debate. And yet in other ways, it was the find an excuse for not being able to live up to our ridiculously unrealistic pipe dream of promises debate.
“How utterly shameful…how woefully unproductive…how marvelously distressing…how incredibly unhelpful to the Bahamian people.”
The budget passed in the Senate last evening.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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