The 2021 budget was passed in Parliament yesterday evening but the Opposition did not support it.
When the vote for the Appropriation (Financial Year 2021) Bill, 2020, was held, all 22 Government members voted for but all 19 Opposition MPs abstained.
Moments after the vote, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar issued a statement explaining their stance.
“As a matter of principle, we cannot in good conscience vote for a budget that will inflict pain on the most vulnerable in our society,” said the United National Congress leader.
“The Government has refused to account to the people over the billions of dollars spent in the last fiscal year. This is in complete contradiction to the responsibility of the Government to be transparent in how public funds are used.”
She said the Government had made “hardships for the ordinary citizens while making life easier for their three F’s—Friends, Families, and Financiers.”
Persad-Bissessar pointed to measures to introduce Property Tax and motor vehicle taxes as well as measures she said, “would lead to more job losses and loss of income for people,” as further reasons the UNC could not support the Budget.
“While people are being told to tighten their belts, curb their tastes, and do more with less, the Government’s wanton and wasteful spending continues. Just yesterday we learned of millions being spent to outfit a building owned by the family of the Attorney General. This, while funding was cut for critical services such as flood prevention and mitigation,” she said.
“We agree that the nation must run but the priorities of this Rowley regime remain distorted and will do nothing to grow the economy or improve the quality of people’s lives.”