…nothing for poor or elderlyDays after the presentation of the $300.7 billion National Budget for the fiscal year 2019, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is not too inspired by the estimates and told reports that Government is spinning the facts as he outlined that there are no real measures for the poor and elderly.He declared that Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s budget presentation is no different from any other of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government’s previous budgets.Jagdeo, an economist, pointed out that the budget continued its trend of massivelyOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeoincreasing recurring expenditure with little increases in capital expenditure, as he added that nothing significant was included for the poor or elderly after Government increased public assistance and Old Aged Pensions by $1000 each.“The Government machinery is in a total spin mode about how great this budget is and what it will do for people; but I think they’re in a losing battle and in spite of the spin, people will realise [that] across Guyana when they’ve had a chance to go through the provisions of the budget in great detail,” Jagdeo told members of the press on Thursday.Included in his assessment of the 2019 Budget, Jagdeo highlighted that the Public Health Ministry received less in the budget than what was awarded in 2014 when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was in Government. He added that this year’s allocation only saw a $1.6 billion increase from last year’s budget while the Public Security Ministry received a $1.1 billion increase and a minor increase for education.The Opposition Leader further revealed that billions of dollars have been added to the Government’s “unimportant wants” while little has been catered for the productive sectors such as education, security and health.To this end, he noted that dietary has increased to $2.203 billion per year, with other operating expenses being $1 billion higher. He noted too that local travel has increased by $1 billion while vehicles services increased by $645 million and other transports by $519 million. Reporters heard that building rentals stood at $827 million while security services for Government officials increased by $2.617 billion, while there were $595 million increases for equipment and $3.397 billion for other goods and services.Jagdeo reiterated that there was also a decline in the Indigenous People’s AffairsFinance Minister Winston JordanMinistry’s policy development expenditure from the year 2017. In that year, $1.331 billion was awarded in the budget, $1.183 billion in 2018 and in 2019, $815 million, which showed a decline of more than $500 million from 2014, he said.Agriculture capital expenditures in 2018 was $4.6 billion and in 2019 is $4.614 billion which showed a $12 million increase, $1.8 billion of which will be coming in from foreign sources. He highlighted that the Public Infrastructure Ministry in 2017 received $29.3 billion in the budget, in 2018 $24.1 billion, and in 2019, $26 billion.The Childcare and Protection Agency (CCPA) also saw a decrease in allocation; now receiving $80 Million compared to $165 million in 2018’s Budget. An increase of $1.425 billion was awarded in the budget for the entire regions across Guyana for only five of their programmes.However, compared to this, Jagdeo noted that Government has increased expenditures in the non-essential areas by some $13.5 billion.“These areas have seen the biggest growth under Government… $13.5 billion increase in these 10 areas that I consider not essential,” Jagdeo explained.He said too that there have been massive growths in expenditure for the celebration of national event which have moved from $430 million in 2018 to $675 million in 2019.According to the Opposition Leader, “We are spending more for other goods than in the major sectors in Guyana… they prefer to spend more on eating and rental than on public security, education and drug purchases… the budget estimates, that is what you have to go to when you want to look at what is happening”.The General Secretary of the PPP stressed that several of Government’s road projects, including the Linden-Lethem road, the Mabura to Brazil road, the Soesdyke/Linden road rehabilitation, the Diamond/Grove road extension and the new Demerara Harbour Bridge will take many years to be realised.According to the former President, the promises of these projects are nothing short of duping the Guyanese people. Speaking once again on a host of tax measures Government implemented, Jagdeo says measures in 2019 budget will see taxes grow to $72.9 billion remitted.He observed that Government is removing some tax measures which it had recently included.“This shows the confusion in the Ministry of Finance… these things look good on the surface but when you go through the dynamics of how they were, it is foolishness… the budget has nothing for poor people, will not stimulate the economy, it cannot be the framework for the development of Guyana… if you tax people more, then you are just using their money and they are left with the little pittances… they missed the bus on this budget… This is called juking people… this is all falsehood… this is what APNU does well,” the Opposition Leader stated.
EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Britain’s government should “of course” deny a request for a new referendum on Scottish independence if one is made, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday, wading into a row about secession fuelled by Brexit. London best pest control Speaking at the University of Glasgow, Hunt said British Prime Minister Theresa May would reject any request by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for a fresh vote on secession – something nationalist activists are pushing for because of unhappiness about Brexit.Asked what May’s response would be, Hunt said: “The answer of course will be ‘no’ for the very simple reason we think the Scottish government should be focused on the concerns of Scottish voters – which is not to have another very divisive independence referendum.”Scots rejected independence in a binding 2014 vote by a 10 percentage point margin.Hunt’s comments, likely to create backlash amongst Scots sensitive to being told what to do by politicians in distant London, came as Sturgeon reiterated that any new secession vote would have to be legally agreed, shooting down comments by the deputy leader of her own Scottish National Party (SNP).The row highlights the pressure on Sturgeon from within the SNP as well as the grassroots independence movement, which is preparing a new secession campaign fuelled by anger over May’s Brexit plans.“I want and consider that the (legal) basis of the referendum should be the same as the last time,” Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh, according to the Guardian newspaper.She was responding to Keith Brown, her SNP deputy, who said earlier a new independence vote could happen even if it did not have the UK parliament’s blessing.Under current constitutional arrangements, any legally binding vote on secession would have to be sanctioned by Britain’s parliament at Westminster.Nationalists say there is democratic justification for a new vote because of the political events following Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU, which they say have ignored Scotland.UK will likely have to delay Brexit if lawmakers reject May’s deal – HammondWithin Britain’s overall vote to leave the EU, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to keep their membership while England and Wales voted to leave, straining the ties of the four-nation United Kingdom.While support for secession has not shifted from the 45 percent that backed it in 2014, the political maelstrom unleashed by Brexit in London has angered many Scots and motivated those backing independence to target new supporters and a new vote on secession.Sturgeon has said she will provide an update on what Brexit means for Scottish independence in the coming weeks.