By KHRISNA VIRGIL
DESPITE comments by the chairman of the PLP, the government has yet to determine a "ball-park figure" of the country's budget deficit, State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
Speaking briefly with The Tribune after the morning session of cabinet, Mr Halkitis said: "We don't know yet, I am going to have to leave that to the Minister of Finance (Prime Minister Perry Christie). Let me leave that to him."
Mr Halkitis" statement follows PLP chairman Bradley Roberts' claims on a popular daytime radio talk show that the Christie administration upon taking office met a $500 million deficit left by the previous FNM government.
Mr Roberts further said that he would be shocked if criminal charges were not brought after an investigation into the management of public funds by the previous government.
When asked yesterday if he was able to substantiate this claim, Mr Roberts said: "You wait until the announcement is made, but Bradley Roberts is not known to make foolish statements."
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Philip "Brave" Davis claimed the former government issued more than 80 contracts worth an estimated $24 million during their election campaign.
Mr Davis told The Tribune: "The very recent contracts, the stuff that was given within the time of the dissolution of Parliament to election day, those are being looked at with a view of determining whether or not they are necessary work at this time and whether the funding is in place for those contracts."
Earlier this month on the campaign trail, Mr Christie accused the former government of using public funds to get votes.
Branding the use of Public Treasury funds during the campaign period as "open bribery", Mr Christie vowed that his party would seek to create legislation that would bar the government from awarding contracts or jobs during the election period.
Yesterday, former Minister of Finance Zhivargo Laing said while he could not confirm or deny the figure stated by Mr Roberts, but said it seemed unlikely.
Mr Laing also called for the details of the contracts Mr Davis mentioned to be made public, as they could include standard government business such as contract renewals. He added that most contracts were signed publicly.