Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Hood said he supports his government’s budget in principle but is disappointed with the budgetary allocations for his ministry.
Hood, in making his presentation to the Grenada Parliament today during the second day of the debate on that country’s one billion dollar budget, said “I agonize over how to address some deficits I see in the presentation; without sounding as though I am a member of the opposition.”
He insisted that he is not a member of the opposition but his conscience could not allow him to wholly support the budget.
This year just over 12 million dollars have been allocated for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which represents 1.17% of the overall budget, which the Finance Minister reported has a deficit of EC$167.2million .
Hood intimate that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is crucial to the realization of a number of proposed projects and the closing of the fiscal deficit gap, and as such should have had a bigger slice of the fiscal pie.
“Given the international climate and the large fiscal gap needed to be closed in this budget; given also the reality that we do not possess the capacity to close this gap within our boundaries, I cannot understand why this ministry – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, receives only 1.17% of the entire budget.”
“Sad to say Mr. Speaker, even the travel budget of the Ministry of Foreign affairs has been slashed by over a hundred thousand dollars.”
Back bencher and Parliamentary Representative for the St. John’s Constituency Michael also questioned the budget calling it ‘ambitious and romantic’.
He said unless he gets information as to how the deficits would be taken care of, he is prepared to vote against the passing of the 2012 budget.
Tuesday’s budget debate was described by House Speaker George Mc Guire as unprecedented as members of both sides of the House of Representatives made appeals for unity.
This comes as the two backbenchers in Parliament Joseph Gilbert and Michael Church and Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Hood, all alluded to disunity within the ruling National Democratic Congress and appealed for a settling of differences for the good of the nation.
The most recent of the ruling National Democratic Congress backbencher, Joseph Gilbert said he came close to tears in parliament on Tuesday when he pondered on the appeal made by opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell in his rebuttal, for all to seek forgiveness from those they have wronged and to forgive those who have wronged them.
“I think I need to thank the father of the House (referring to Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell) for being so paternal in your approach to forgiveness and I believe that the example is well set for us to follow.”
He added that he hopes that “true reconciliation will begin from today”.
Gilbert was fired from the cabinet earlier this year over his alleged writing of a letter to potential investors, promising changes to the gambling regulations of Grenada, without the approval of the Cabinet, while Church resigned in 2011, after being demoted.©