Opposition Member and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser is concerned about some of the allocations that were made in the recovery plan and accused the government of going out to borrow a large loan while planning to spend in excess of that amount.
During a District meeting that was held on 21 February Hon. Fraser questioned the figures allocated to various recovery projects and noted that government did not have enough time to calculate and assess these numbers: “In such short time how could you come up with such figures. Where is the meat behind these figures,” Hon. Fraser asked.
The Opposition Member cautioned that the time for frivolous spending is passed and he said that at this point government should be careful how it spends money: “Let’s get used to the fact that taking money out of your pocket and letting it go cannot continue, we cannot do it anymore…Stop thinking of getting re-elected.”
He noted that some residents of the Territory are also at a juncture where they cannot afford to spend carelessly and this too should be taken into consideration: “I have seen too many people in this place, this country, living from paycheck to paycheck and that paycheck is never enough. In other words they are hand to mouth.”
During the meeting residents concurred with Hon. Fraser’s points about the figures and the manner in which the recovery is being approached. In response to the question from a resident about what should be done Hon. Fraser invited members of the public to speak to elected officials and point out that they have concerns about areas of the recovery plan.
“Tell them just like you are telling me right now…I am hearing you loud. I am hearing you clear and I am not going to stop here and I know that I have people behind me,” he said.
The Third District Representative is also encouraging other Legislators to consult their constituents about the plan: “I would encourage my colleagues to do the same thing I am doing here tonight — have a meeting, have meetings with your constituents. Do not be satisfied with the glossy picture the government has painted when they came out with this document,” Hon. Fraser said.
The Opposition Member also criticized the amount of money that was earmarked for tourism and scoffed that this was not sufficient. He noted that a $3.85M was earmarked and mentioned that it was not enough: “It does not sound like a lot of money for tourism at all. That is our bread and butter, more people benefit directly from tourism than financial services…They might be equal as far as contribution to revenue is concerned not to the economy so to speak but contribution towards revenue. As far as tourism is concerned the contribution to the economy of the Territory tourism is number one,” he explained.
Hon. Fraser also questioned the UK Government involvement with the loan and alleged that this was because of distrust: “I will not be party to any arrangements where the Governor and his people will be controlling monies that we borrowed and have to pay [back]. Then again the reason for that is they don’t trust the government and the reason for that is you know when it comes to money they don’t trust them, but should we be the ones paying for that. We should not be the ones that are paying for that.”
“What we should be doing is getting a government that’s responsible. Therefore we need the opportunity to get that. Don’t squander this money on a government you don’t trust and you are giving up your sovereignty. Don’t do that, and we should not allow ourselves to fall prey to that,” Hon. Fraser told the gathering.