THE EDITOR: I am amazed, actually flabbergasted, by those more qualified than me who have congratulated the Minister of Finance for his restraint in keeping expenditure down and the deficit at the level projected.
In my simple mind the budget is a complete con job based on energy prices that cannot be realised based on recent history and certainly not forecasted to be realised in the foreseeable future.
I’m sure such a fabrication of figures would not be tolerated or accepted by any of these qualified individuals from their subordinates. The budget is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Unless there is an unexpected world event that causes panic in the energy markets, without a doubt the budget figures will have to be adjusted at the mid-year budget presentation and then the true extent of the deficit will be apparent to all.
With regard to the VAT refunds owed to the business community, only with class action legal proceedings through their chambers/associations will there ever be any satisfactory solution to this issue as the bond offer is really a slap-in-the-face take it or leave it.
It is a draconian act to owe money which is long overdue under the law and to then impose repayment terms which are discounted by at least 15 per cent since cash is required immediately by the VAT creditors.
Is the same thing likely to occur when payments become due on other government bonds in the future as deficits mount and the Government is unable to meet payments as they fall due?
Additionally, it is simply not sustainable to keep borrowing to fund deficits. The only reason for this approach, which one economist described as frightening, is an effort to win the next election by spending to keep people happy. This is no different than a person borrowing every month to sustain a certain lifestyle.
When the PNM won we were all happy to get rid of, to put it mildly, a corrupt UNC administration. The PNM promised honesty and integrity. I ask: what have we got ?