DLP COLUMN: Fiscal irresponsibility
Fri, October 26, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Extracts from Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals 2008 presented by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance David Thompson Monday, July 7, 2008.
“But it is my duty to tell you in simple terms that my Government is still discovering cases of excessive spending and fiscal irresponsibility that can only be explained in terms of a regime that assumed that it would rule forever and that no one outside their Government would ever discover the mess they were creating.
“Certainly, I would like to get on with the job of governing if only I could have ignored the following instances of such irresponsibility that put in jeopardy not only our national economic strategy but our standing internationally.
“Let me itemize some of the things this Government had to do in its first six months and add to that the long list of commitments made by the former administration which we have had and will have to finance.
“Barbadians are already aware of the scandalous and sordid financial messes with the Greenland Landfill, the Gems Project, the National Housing Corporation Building at Warrens, Kensington Oval, the new ’Barbados-to-US currency’ prison, the bathroom facilities at Silver Sands and the wastage and sqaundermania at the Urban Development Commission, among others.
“I have not even begun to deal with the ABC Highway project or the $35 million in roads in St Philip for which financial provision had not then been made. We also had to find $26.5 million for the Barbados Defence Force pensions, and other new Barbados Coast Guard expenditure, the Hardwood Housing scam and the latest sordid case of the Mobil Refinery clean-up, the full facts of which will come to light shortly.
“We also had to find $33 million to clear the National Housing Corporation’s overdraft, $27.8 million for the Transport Board, $5 million for Enterprise Growth Fund, $8.1 million for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“When we came to office, the subsidy to Barbados National Oil Company, which stood at about $50 million, had to be dealt with.
“I want to deal specifically with the ABC Highway as this is an example of the most reckless and wanton disregard for financial prudence and management.
“This project, you will recall, was started by a company that no one knew anything about and, apart from information emanating from legal sources in the United Kingdom and Jamaica, we still know little about. How could a Government let a company start a project based on an artist’s impression? In July, 2006 3S started construction “on a rolling basis” of road widening for a projected cost of $40 232 432. Eight flyovers were to be constructed again on an artist’s impression for $79 517 659. This was a total projected cost of $119 750 000.
“Work started and no contract was signed and, despite the decision of the Cabinet of Barbados, 3S has still not signed a contract. No specifications, no bill of quantities, no working drawings and no contract!
“From an original projection of $119 million in November 2005, by May 6, 2006 the projection had reached $143 614 460.23 in less than six months. By December 17 2007, the figure for road widening only moved from the original figure of $40 million to a revised figure of $70 231 220 and then to an amazing $117 million. Despite the decision of my Cabinet, 3S is now claiming more. Enough is enough.”
• Douglas Leopold Phillips is a pseudonym for the Democratic Labour Party.
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