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Govt retreat focuses on budget

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Government planning for the upcoming 2019 budget was among yesterday’s Cabinet retreat discussions, the Prime Minister’s Office (OPM) stated.

The one-day retreat at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s was held to review Government’s development programme, “inter-ministerial co-operation activities and public service responsibilities” among other issues, the OPM had also stated Discussions were held with Cabinet ministers first while talks were subsequently held with elected non-Cabinet members in the all-day session, officials said.

They added the retreat was meant to renew Government’s focus and set goals. Proceedings concluded by 4 pm.

Sources said discussions with ministers also involved their accounting for performance, as well as explaining their respective proposed 2019 budget plans and associated frameworks. The 2019 budget is expected to be delivered between late next month and early October.

Another aspect of the retreat involved what sources said was “rallying the troops” for MPs and other Government members to be focused on how they handle their responsibilities towards the public over the next 20-plus months.

This, in view of upcoming Local Government elections next year, general polls in 2020 and Tobago House of Assembly elections after.

Discussions were also expected to acquaint the team with the new National Security thrust from recently appointed Minister Stuart Young, they added.

PNM sources said the event was also scheduled to be geared towards team reinforcing and rebuilding, particularly after the recent parliamentary debate where Police Commissioner designate Gary Griffith was approved.

It was noted that the matter was discussed in PNM’s caucus before the debate and “various views were aired,” resulting in removal of the “whip” from MPs and a conscience vote on the matter. All PNM MPs, however, supported the nomination.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who is out of the country over August 9 to 21, was absent from yesterday’s retreat. Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Fitzgerald Hinds is acting as Attorney General for that period.


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