By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Refuting claims made by some Opposition spokespersons in relation to his alleged unlawful and abused spending, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said that he is not on an island operating by himself.
Speaking to the local media last night (Thursday,July 3), Dr. Singh explained that there is a process that has to be followed before money is spent and laterpresented to the National Assembly.
“What you seeing playing out here, this assault against the Finance Minister is a combination of personal vendettas being pursued on one hand and a politically driven campaign that is driven by distortion on the other,” he said.
He urged the media too to distinguish between factual objective comments and political hyperbole.
He pointed out firstly that the Contingency Fund has been used in a prudent and judicious manner that meets the requirements of the law.
“Article 220 of the Constitution authorises the Finance Minister to make advances from the Fund if he is satisfied that there is an urgent need to do so,” Dr. Singh explained, adding that “I’ve seen the opposition mouth pieces speaking that the parliament approved these things with a heavy heart. Well, the Parliament can either vote yes or no or the Parliament is free to vote no as it has voted in the past. It is not like if this is a Parliament that has not been afraid to say “no”, and this Parliament approved 93% of the value of all of the Contingencies Fund advance requests.”
Meanwhile, the Minister went on to defended the current Statement of Excess which is to be debated at the next sitting of the House, maintaining it is lawful.
To support his claim, he cited Article 218:3 of the Constitution and also made reference to the ruling by the Chief Justice during the Budget Cut case.
“I don’t understand what all this hulaballoo is,” he said; recalling that the House had approved similar Statements of Excess, the present one being the fourth.