The Dickon Mitchell-led Congress administration in St. George’s has announced plans to roll out activities to commemorate the country’s highly anticipated Golden Jubilee starting this month.
With plans underway to mark this significant milestone on February 7, 2024, the government has allocated $7.5 million in the EC$148,990,234.00 Supplementary Budget, which has been approved by both Houses of Parliament, but not without heated debate.
A major contention articulated by members on the Opposition side in both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament surrounded insufficient information in the explanatory notes as to exactly how the $7.5 million will be utilised.
During Tuesday’s sitting of the Upper House, Opposition Senator Neilon Franklyn pointed out that “out of the $7.5 million (allocation) only $2 million is clearly accounted for towards the commemorative $50 note, taking issue that the explanatory notes indicate “some appropriation will (also) be required in 2024.”
“What would $5.5 million be used for from September 1 to December 31? No explanation, no justification, but the Honourable members expect us to simply come here and agree. No, we cannot do that. Give a justification and then we would support,” Franklyn contended.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Adrian Thomas who moved the motion for the Bill informed the House that the planning committee is still in the process of fine-tuning the details of the various activities being planned.
He sought to give assurance that the government would “not abuse the $7.5 million (and) ensure that every cent is well accounted for.”
Sen. Franklyn’s argument was supported by Labour Senator Andre Lewis, who expressed the view that “the Senate and the nation ought to have been presented with at least some of the items that the $5 million will be used for.”
The Leader of Government Business had informed the Upper House that the plan is to have activities in every parish, including within the diaspora.
During the debate on the motion in the Lower House, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell spoke of plans to have legacy projects that speak particularly to issues such as education, the teaching of Grenadian history, and the observation and celebration of national heroes.