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Senator: Economies racking up huge debt bills

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lack of sustainable economic plans and parliamentary autonomy were two key topics which were brought to the fore during yesterday’s ParlAmericas workshop on Fiscal Transparency Practices and a Co-creation Meeting on Citizen Participation. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

Independent Senator David Small said it was terrible that many economies were racking up huge debt bills rendering them unsustainable.

He said each time there was a change of government, programmes also changed which also amounted to wastage.

Regarding parliamentary autonomy, he said T&T’s Parliament was still beholden to the Finance Ministry which resulted in constraints for resources.

Saying that he was a “strong supporter” of parliamentary autonomy Small added that resources were not consistently given.

House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George, who also spoke said PalAmericas, as a convener of some 35 national legislatures of member states of the OAS, provided a platform for the widening of duties which was a bedrock of Parliaments beyond respective geographic boundaries to encompass.

She said the role of modern Parliaments was continuously evolving adding that in addition to fulfilling its traditional roles parliamentarians were now duty bound to hold the Executive accountable for its policies and expenditure.

Annisette-George added that yesterday’s workshop “could not be more suitably timed” as this country’s Parliament was near the end of its fiscal year and was preparing for its 2017-2018 budget.

President and CEO of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy and former parliamentary budget officer of Canada Kevin Page, who facilitated, urged that without fiscal transparency there would not be any accountability in any country.

In identifying some of the gaps in ensuring proper processes, Page said the third biggest was the willingness on people’s part to change, especially when the roadmaps were already in place to change the system.


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