SENATE Debates money bill for Hurricane Earl

It got quite heated at times at today’s sitting of the Senate as the senators debated the General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation (2016/2017) (No.3) Bill.  This money bill is for some 9 million dollars  for Hurricane Earl spending and mother’s day cheer. Now, that may seem a bit strange seeing that Hurricane early happened on August 3rd of 2016 and we are now in 2018. This was one of the points of contention today along with accusations that the Finance and Audit Reform Act of 2005 was not being adhered to. Here is a snippet of today’s Senate meeting.

Senator Eamon Courtnay

Mr. President This Senate requires an explanation. More money was spent on cleanup then was spent on repairing homes. There are many other unique and interesting things about this schedule. Mr. President, the Senate should not Approve this Expenditure unless and until we have a proper explanation as to how it is that millions upon millions of dollars apparently spent in 2016 were not dealt with in the 2017- 2018 budget. Mr. President this is a serious matter. Violation of the Finance and Audit Reform Act is a criminal offense.

Senator Mark Lizarraga

 Mr. President’s I am baffled and like my colleague Mr. Courtney I think it’s way time that we get the Financial Secretary to come in here to at least tell us. Maybe we are interpreting the law wrongly. Maybe he knows something that we don’t know. But the way we read 95 of 2010 and Finance and Reform Act of 2005 there is a lot to be desired. There is a whole lot that is not being complied with.

Senator Michael Peyrifitte

There is no secrecy here. There is no side agreement here. You dont have to wonder about what we are doing; it’s right here.  And if you want more go to the Financial Secretary and he will give you more. There is [also] the Freedom of Information Act

Senator Mark Lizarraga

As usual, misinterpretations by… I have a right! I have a right! (Back and forth with AG)

Senator Michael Peyrifitte

I said nothing about what you said.

Senator Mark Lizarraga

Your whole presentation was based upon what I said and it was false. My point was that we have laws in this country that we have to follow.

Senator Michael Peyrifitte

Mr. President He does not get to speak for another 20 minutes

President of Senate Lee Mark Chan

Yes he will continue with his point of Order, Senator Peyrifitte!

Senator Michael Peyrifitte

No No No … he is trying to re explain what is his position!

Senator Mark Lizarraga

Who is the president I do not have to get it under the freedom of information act … President Stands

President of Senate Lee Mark Chan

He also said that as a Senator you can go there to get it. Stop the nitty gritty and let us continue.

Those sentiments were echoed by Senators for the NGOs and unions. After the debate, the Financial Secretary was called in for explanations but he could not provide much and kept responding that he’d get back to the senators with the information they were seeking. The Financial Secretary did take responsibility for the delay in bringing the bill to the House. Following the heated debate, the money bill was passed.“

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