The Minister in charge of the State’s purse says he is not in a position to say precisely how much Government is spending on this year’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations.
But if there is one thing Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler is clear about, it is that “there will not be a splurge and there has not been a splurge”.
He was reacting to criticisms of the January 6 launch of Golden Jubilee celebrations, which are due to climax on November 30.
While insisting, “nobody can tell you how much money Government is really spending”, Sinckler asked: “So how much is too much?
“If you don’t know what the figure is, how could you know that it is too much?” he stressed.
However, in defence of the Government’s jubilee year programme, he pointed out that “you don’t reach 50 years of Independence everyday and when you do you are not going to reach it again.”
In fact, “you are 50 and then you move on,” he said, while stating that ministries, including the national Independence Secretariat, had been made to understand that the country was within financial constraints and therefore “we have to tailor-make what we are doing to suit the circumstances and not to go on a splurge”.
He said ministries were further advised that whatever celebrations were held this year must fall within their regular budgets.
“So if the Ministry of Sports and Culture [is] doing something that they don’t go off and set up a whole new set of stuff . . . . Whatever they are doing, whether it is Crop Over, that you brand 50th and you work within the context of what you already have. And that is what we are doing in terms of the Estimates which would be presented to Parliament,” Sinckler stressed.