Pointing the government’s $800,000 home-to-home garbage collection programme, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has accused the Andrew Fahie administration of “recklessly spending money”.
In his latest statement from a series of press releases sent in that last few days, Penn said the garbage collection initiative is “grossly flawed” considering that it is being operated in conjunction with the regular communal bin collection.
He further argued that the sum used for house-to-house garbage collection could have been diverted to other areas such as the parliamentary Opposition’s proposed income support, and work-for-pay programmes.
“At a time when the territory has not seen any revenue for the past three months, the funds currently being spent should have been directed to a stimulus plan to bring relief to the people of the territory,” Penn stated.
Garbage collection not an economic stimulus
This is not the first time a member of the Opposition has criticised the Fahie administration about its house-to-house garbage collection programme, which government said is part of its economic stimulus response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Just last week, senior legislator Julian Fraser argued that the initiative does not meet the criteria to be considered an ‘economic stimulus’.
“[This] has no relevance as far as stimulus is concerned. I talked about the garbage collection, substituting house-to-house collection for bin collection. That’s a trade-off, that’s not a new initiative,” Fraser said at the time.
“This particular item is not new money, this is monies that was being spent to pick up garbage anyway. I am saying that government has not addressed the issue of stimulus for the country, its people and the economy. That has not been addressed, not by what I am looking at here,” the senior legislator further argued.
The first phase of govt’s COVID-19 economic stimulus response
In a seven-point bulletin released recently, government said its economic stimulus plan so far included initiatives such as a $12 million-purchase for medical supplies, $2 million funding for farmers and fisherfolk, the purchasing of food and medication for seniors and needy residents, and the aforementioned $800,000 investment in house-to-house garbage collection.
Premier Fahie said the second phase of his government’s stimulus-response will be outlined in detail on Thursday, May 28.
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