GOVERNMENT DEFENDS SPENDING ON CONSULTANTS

Castries Central MP and Minister with Responsibility for  External Affairs  Sarah Flood-Beaubrun  has fired back at criticism from  Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre who cited a big  increase in recurrent expenditure for foreign affairs. In her defense Ms. Flood-Beaubrun said Government  was forced to hire  consultants  to review reports that have been  sitting in the Ministry for ages without  any follow through on their recommendations Here’s Don Nicholas

Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre pointed out that for the fiscal year 2017/2018 capital expenditure of 157 million fell 19 million dollars short of the estimates approved for the same year. In 2018/2019 capital expenditure of 143 million dollars fell short by 33 million.  Mr. Pierre reasoned that if Government  failed to realize smaller levels of capital expenditure for the previous two years it will not be able to implement the capital expenditure for this fiscal year totaling  246 million. The   Opposition Leader took issue with a 1 million dollar   increase in recurrent expenditure for foreign affairs.

In her defense Minister with responsibility for External Affairs Sarah Flood-Beaubrun explained that while there has been an increase in recurrent expenditure there is a decrease in capital expenditure –  the reason for that being that the St. Lucia mission in Taiwan was transferred from   Capital expenditure to recurrent expenditure.  She also indicated that  Government  was forced to hire  consultants  to review reports that have been  sitting in the Ministry for ages without  any follow through on their recommendations

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet in comparing  last years’ budget to this one says  when he came into Government in 2016 the  fiscal position was critical and that he was running a deficit  government borrowing money to pay for money that had already borrowed. Mr. Chastanet pointed out that the  financial sector lost confidence in the economy and that the Government was unable  to get treasury bills. He added that very little money was being invested into improving health care, education and road repairs.  Fortunately he says  there was no global financial crisis like the one that shook the world’s foundations in 2008.  Had that happened St. Lucia  according to the Prime Minister would have been in dire strait. This year he says   there’s been a turn around as Government has  been able to reduce the overall deficit significantly

The Prime  Minister says the Business community and the general public should be satisfied that the Government  has been able to turn  the fiscal situation around

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