Prime Minister Perry Christie.
By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Perry Christie said today’s budget debate will be the most “significant and interesting” debate in his term as leader.
Speaking with the press moments after voting in the constitutional referendum at H O Nash on Tuesday, Mr Christie said to ensure that all the promises in this budget are kept, he has put Permanent Secretary Jack Thompson in charge of overseeing the “execution.”
Mr Christie said the budget debate will move forward in the House of Assembly regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s referendum.
“We start the budget debate tomorrow (Wednesday), so the country has no time to reflect whether in happiness or regret. We have to move on to this very significant debate,” Mr Christie said.
“This is the final budget in my term moving forward and I think it is going to be a very interesting one because we are at the stage where we have made a significant a new paradigm really in some of the commitments we are making. I appointed a permanent secretary, Jack Thompson, to be actually in charge of the execution of what I had promised in this year’s budget so we are going to be seen to be engaged in active delivery in what I have promised as we progress through the year . . . at the end of the day the challenges remain that we must get more people working, we must lessen the impact of crime and the fear of crime and we must move our country forward in a very progressive way.”
Last month, during his nearly four-hour budget communication, Mr Christie praised his government’s ability to secure a “framework agreement” to resume construction efforts at the Baha Mar resort and cut the government’s fiscal borrowing over the course of the next budget cycle.
He also announced a revamped mortgage relief initiative, an apprenticeship programme aimed to reduce youth unemployment, adjustments to customs rates and even minor programmes aimed at spurring economic growth.
Mr Christie also tabled a resolution for the government to borrow just over $99m for expenditure.
This, he said is significantly down from the $543m needed when the Christie administration first took office in 2012.
Mr Christie said that the government is looking to reform recurrent and capital expenditure, enhance recurrent revenue and greatly reduce its borrowing.