There really isn’t anything to hide over budget scrutiny

There really isn’t anything to hide over budget scrutiny

Editorial – April 7, 2017

This Montserrat Government (GoM) for its first two budgets (2015-17) had what appeared to be an easy time and might have given the impression or caused it to be perceived that they had no problem then.

But here we are with the normal time of budget presentation gone never mind there has been no approval. This said because what no one hears about because it is obvious there are too many ostriches as we must believe that if only because TMR noted it, the budgets of 2012-13–14 were what we called ‘sham budgets’ or what we may now seem to learn were really roll-over budgets.

Something happened; do the ostriches not know, or is it that the British ‘heads’ are right in their thinking that Montserrat’s best chance is now rather despite what has been squandered and that there is nothing better to come?

And where are we, one might ask? Just short of TCI 2009. Only that the resistance is quiet acknowledgement and inability to understand the subtlety of British diplomacy, especially in the light of their own culpability. In that regard, there are persons who are still nervous, who already have lost their jobs and others demoted or moved across nervously waiting to see if they may yet be quietly disgraced.

Up to April 27, 2012 even though a budget presentation had been made, Montserrat’s cost of living was being cited as one of the reasons that “it is impossible to get to that trajectory budget support” by HMG.”

Dr. Kato Kimbabwe DFID’s representative on Island in addressing why the budget had not yet been approved, had said that because of the increasing cost of living on Montserrat and a few other things that needed to be addressed, along with, “The road map which used to be a document that essentially guided their financial relationship between DFID and the government of Montserrat setting out what the budget provisions over the next five years, would have to be rescinded…the process is on the way and normally we agree the budget and agree the business case well before the end of March…it took slightly longer than we had expected…”

So, who remembers and who said what, when in 2013, it was not until 20 May 2013 the announcement came “that the budget aid settlement amounting to EC$70.3million has been agreed.” This was an increase over the previous year by $13.2million.

But there was a budget presentation in March. Then, it was accepted that a presentation had to be made even if it was based on the previous year’s allocations, especially if it was reasonably believed the budget approval would not be less. In actuality this would have already been conveyed; the question will GoM get all it requested. In this particular case they did not, but did better than some anticipated, knowing the arguments and questions that were raised by the negotiating teams.

That year monies were provided for the Opposition office, DFID playing their part to provide good governance. $3million to settle outstanding financial liabilities; $2m to meet critical gaps; $1.5m increase in the sea and air access and 5.3m increase in the recurrent budget. Also increase in strengthening Audit function.

In 2014, the approval never came again until April and it was believed that MCAP’s loss at the general election polls could have been attributed to the Aide Memoire that eventually surfaced following another ‘temporary’ budget presentation in March.

Numerous Appropriation bills were the order of those years.

There was understandably much discussion over the green PDM government’s first budget presentation but they came out of that one, ill prepared as it had seemed, with housing allocation which their predecessor had not been able to obtain for all the years prior. But last year there was little if any observation that there was a lapse back to what this current Financial Secretary has hinted is ‘criminal’ to not spend budgeted monies.

So, what really is the state of the scrutiny now that has become so pronounced? We will speak to these soon, but by then if the soundings are correct there may be motions in place to fix what may be the cause reasons creating the communication dysfunctions in the island. As hinted earlier the closet doors will have to be thrown open, one way or the other.

 

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Editorial – April 7, 2017

This Montserrat Government (GoM) for its first two budgets (2015-17) had what appeared to be an easy time and might have given the impression or caused it to be perceived that they had no problem then.

But here we are with the normal time of budget presentation gone never mind there has been no approval. This said because what no one hears about because it is obvious there are too many ostriches as we must believe that if only because TMR noted it, the budgets of 2012-13–14 were what we called ‘sham budgets’ or what we may now seem to learn were really roll-over budgets.

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Something happened; do the ostriches not know, or is it that the British ‘heads’ are right in their thinking that Montserrat’s best chance is now rather despite what has been squandered and that there is nothing better to come?

And where are we, one might ask? Just short of TCI 2009. Only that the resistance is quiet acknowledgement and inability to understand the subtlety of British diplomacy, especially in the light of their own culpability. In that regard, there are persons who are still nervous, who already have lost their jobs and others demoted or moved across nervously waiting to see if they may yet be quietly disgraced.

Up to April 27, 2012 even though a budget presentation had been made, Montserrat’s cost of living was being cited as one of the reasons that “it is impossible to get to that trajectory budget support” by HMG.”

Dr. Kato Kimbabwe DFID’s representative on Island in addressing why the budget had not yet been approved, had said that because of the increasing cost of living on Montserrat and a few other things that needed to be addressed, along with, “The road map which used to be a document that essentially guided their financial relationship between DFID and the government of Montserrat setting out what the budget provisions over the next five years, would have to be rescinded…the process is on the way and normally we agree the budget and agree the business case well before the end of March…it took slightly longer than we had expected…”

So, who remembers and who said what, when in 2013, it was not until 20 May 2013 the announcement came “that the budget aid settlement amounting to EC$70.3million has been agreed.” This was an increase over the previous year by $13.2million.

But there was a budget presentation in March. Then, it was accepted that a presentation had to be made even if it was based on the previous year’s allocations, especially if it was reasonably believed the budget approval would not be less. In actuality this would have already been conveyed; the question will GoM get all it requested. In this particular case they did not, but did better than some anticipated, knowing the arguments and questions that were raised by the negotiating teams.

That year monies were provided for the Opposition office, DFID playing their part to provide good governance. $3million to settle outstanding financial liabilities; $2m to meet critical gaps; $1.5m increase in the sea and air access and 5.3m increase in the recurrent budget. Also increase in strengthening Audit function.

In 2014, the approval never came again until April and it was believed that MCAP’s loss at the general election polls could have been attributed to the Aide Memoire that eventually surfaced following another ‘temporary’ budget presentation in March.

Numerous Appropriation bills were the order of those years.

There was understandably much discussion over the green PDM government’s first budget presentation but they came out of that one, ill prepared as it had seemed, with housing allocation which their predecessor had not been able to obtain for all the years prior. But last year there was little if any observation that there was a lapse back to what this current Financial Secretary has hinted is ‘criminal’ to not spend budgeted monies.

So, what really is the state of the scrutiny now that has become so pronounced? We will speak to these soon, but by then if the soundings are correct there may be motions in place to fix what may be the cause reasons creating the communication dysfunctions in the island. As hinted earlier the closet doors will have to be thrown open, one way or the other.