Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Greenidge asked for deferral of budget talks meeting

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh on yesterday accused Opposition Leader David Granger of being misinformed by his representatives following statements by Granger in the Stabroek News that said cooperation on the budget passage looked grim as no meeting has been held despite commitments.

According to that report, Granger said that the passage of the National Budget looked grim as one month after a commitment for budget talks was made by government; it is yet to be honoured.
However, Dr Singh stated that it is the opposition that is delaying the meeting to discuss the budget, as invitations were extended to the parliamentary parties since March 5 for a meeting to be held on March 7. But responses from the Alliance for Change’s representative Gerhard Ramsaroop asked for a “minor shift in the proposed time” while A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Winston Jordan also asked for a shift in date to the following the week as Carl Greenidge was unavailable.
The finance minister added that in response to the requests made by both Jordan and Ramsaroop, he “promptly proposed an alternative date in the following week” to which Jordan confirmed his availability. Greenidge is yet to respond along with the AFC’s representatives.
A release by the Government Information Agency (GINA) said that “the fact of the matter is that a postponement to the meeting was requested on Greenidge’s behalf, and Greenidge is still to respond to the minister’s proposal of a revised date.” Government however noted that it may have no choice but to proceed with the other opposition representatives if Greenidge continues to be unavailable.
The statement continued: “It is therefore completely misleading to suggest that no efforts have been made by the government to convene a meeting, and extremely alarming that one week after the invitation had been issued that Mr Granger is still unaware of the invitation and labouring under the misconception that efforts have not been made to convene the discussions.”
Despite the mix up, government said it is looking forward to the consultative discussions with the opposition representatives.

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