Grenada: Burke blasts NNP’s ’cheap and vulgar ploy’ to buy votes

The leader of the National Democratic Congress in Grenada has accused the government of “squandering” the country’s resources in an attempt to sway the general election in its favour.

And Nazim Burke points to the recent Supplementary Appropriation Bill as evidence of that.

The additional budget, covering from 1 July until the end of 2017, sets aside an extra EC$86 million for capital expenditure on top of the original $154.3 million listed in December 2016’s budget.

But the government has only spent $27 million in the first six months of the budget period – which is an ‘implementation rate’ of just 35%.

With the injection of new cash, capital expenditure would potentially get a $14.46 million boost every month until the start of 2018.

This is despite less than half of the expected financing being utilised.

And with a general election looming – one source told WIC News that it could be as soon as October or November – the introduction of a much-changed budget has been criticised.

“This presentation of two capital budgets in the same year is nothing but a cheap and vulgar ploy by the New National Party to embark upon a massive spending spree in the lead up to the upcoming elections using the taxpayers’ own money to buy their votes,” said NDC leader Nazim Burke.

“This squander of the little resources of the country for narrow political gain at a time when thousands of young people are without work and several thousand others are unable to support themselves and are forced to beg politicians is simply unforgivable.”

Spending binge?

WIC News has approached the government for comment but are yet to hear anything.

The total amount included in the Supplementary Appropriation Act 2017 is $86,767,801.37.

The largest chunk of money is earmarked for the Ministry of Communications, Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, ICT and Community Development, totalling $26,824,000.

At the other end of the scale, only $144,820 is set aside for the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Culture and Cooperatives.

One source close to the governing New National Party told WIC News that the prime minister “was living in another world” if he needed to pump more money in.

“All the signs are that the government has not spent any money really on capital expenditure. What explains this? It might look good on paper but the people are not going to get the benefit.”

Burke, speaking to WIC News earlier this week, said this “election budget” will lead to a “spending binge”.

“That binge will take place before 31 December. If it were a case where the government were looking to embark upon this expenditure next year they would have sought that approval in the next budget, in December of this year,” he added.

“It is a clear plan to go on a spending spree using money from the people basically to finance the NNP election effort.”

This story originally published on 10 August 2017. Updated: 11 August 2017.

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