Why PUP accepts Christmas Cheer

Late last week the United Democratic Party took the opportunity to crow about their rivals across the political aisle, who, they contend, have had to swallow their words and accept the “Christmas Cheer” program, despite their aired concerns over issues of accountability and transparency.

On Sunday, while speaking with reporters, Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca stated that this program is better administered in terms of handling and so that is why the PUP is supporting it.

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vlcsnap-2014-12-09-07h05m43s100Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition

We run the risks of looking hypocritical, but we believe that of all the programs funed under the PetroCaribe program, this one in every respect perhaps the most transparent, the most accountable. We receive no monies. We submit an invoice and all the monies are then given directly through the Ministry of Human Development to the supplier of those goods.

Those are the things we were concerned about.  We were concerned about waste.  we were concerned about corruption. We were concerned about the lack of accountability. And those we feel are minimized as it relates to the Christmas Cheer Program.”

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According to Francis Fonseca, the 17 sitting UDP representatives receive – through vouchers from one of the line Ministries – $110,000 each for a total of $1.87 million, while the 14 PUP representatives receive $35,000 for a total of $490,000 – not much comparison. Mr Fonseca says he has told his people not to play favorites with which businesses are used to buy purchases for the program.

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Francis Fonseca

“I’ve explain myself. I’ve given an answer to why we’ve agreed to participate in the program.”

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Reporter

“Yes but you are saying it is transparent because you all are involve. But I am saying for me as a tax payer…”

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Francis Fonseca
“I’m saying it’s transparent because those are the rules set by the financial secretary.”

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Reporter

“But you will agree there is still room for graft.”

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Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
“Not as far as we are concern. We will follow those rules strictly and adhere to them. We certainly expect the government to do the same.

I’m saying it’s a program, the Financial Secretary wrote me and said, ‘These are the guidelines for the program.’  We were satisfied with those guidelines, and we agreed to participate on that basis.”

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In the Freetown division, Francis Fonseca says the most needy, of either party, will benefit.

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Francis Fonseca

“I can speak about Freetown.  We give [to] the most needy people in our division, and those are people who support us and other who have not supported us in the past, but they are the most needy.

That’s the basis on which we give in Freetown. So I can speak categorically about my program in Freetown.  In Freetown, more and more every day, nearly everybody is PUP.”

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