Hon. Liburd said the Budget and she is very correct in saying that there is a timeline dictated by the Constitution by which the Budget must be brought to the Parliament. Failure to meet this deadline would result in the Government being constitutionally barred from spending. The Government and country can potentially be at a stand-still.
However this is not the real reason why the Hon. Minister thinks that the Budget should come first. The Prime Minister and the Labour administration are trying to buy time. They are seeking to have the Budget and drag out the Vote of No Confidence until they have had an opportunity to put themselves in what they think is a better position to win an election. Hon. Liburd knows very well that should an election be called today Central is going for gold not red!
I say the Vote of No Confidence should come first! Apart from the fact that all rules, conventions and precedents the world over call for it to be brought first as a matter of priority and urgency, you don’t need to be a lawyer, doctor or Prime Minister to see the wisdom in the International adapted Parliamentary practice with regards to NO Confidence motions.
The Budget represents the financial plan of the Government of the day, in our case for now at least, the Labour Government for the next fiscal year. It outlines how the Government intends to spend the people’s money in light of the ruling administration’s policies and ideologies.
I say have the Vote of No Confidence first, know who will be government for the next fiscal year, and allow them to set their own fiscal agenda. When the Vote of No Confidence is brought, it will see the majority of Representatives in Parliament reject Dr. Denzil Douglas by a show of “No Confidence” in him. A Unity Government will form the next administration in our beloved country and they will present their own Budget based on their own policies, positions and ideologies.
The Hon. Minister Liburd, like her boss, the Prime Minister will try and use the “cop out” that time is of the essence and that the deadline for bringing the Budget is upon us, but that is their fault! A date had been set for a Budgetary debate since December, invitations had been sent out for the special sitting. The PM chose to put it off because he claims the then two Senior Ministers had not attended a Cabinet meeting (which was set after the Budget had been printed). It’s a shame he didn’t know that he needed them when he took the Land Bill to Parliament without their knowledge.
The Vote of No Confidence was filed since the 5th of December 2012, and to date has not been brought before the House of Assembly to be debated. That falls squarely at the feet of the Hon. Speaker of the House and Prime Minister who appears to be calling all of the shots. The fact that time is of essence in respect of the Budget is their fault. It is because the Prime Minister feared that had the Budget been brought earlier that it would have been defeated (which in itself amounts to a vote of no confidence). This precipitated his desperation and urgency in forcing through the Increase in Senators Bill. A matter which most perceive as unconstitutional and which the court is expected to decide the in what we expect to be deemed by the Court to be a most unconstitutional manner.
The Prime Minister is buying time and the Hon. Marcella Liburd has to support her boss.
I submit that Minister Liburd should implore and encourage the Prime Minister to do the right thing now even if it is for her own good. The longer we wait for an inevitable election, the more Constituency 2 brightens up with a yellow hue of a new brand of politics. The people of Central Basseterre are ready to rebuild their communities and constituency with a breath of fresh air inspired by a new generation full of youth, intelligence and vigour.
I say the Vote of No Confidence should be brought before the Budget because the Unity Government does not need the collapsing Labour Government to set a Budget for it, WE will set our own Budget!