‘Not the bombshell you made it out to be’, Fitz-Henley tells Brown Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Government Senator Abka Fitz-Henley has poured cold water on a suggestion from his Opposition counterpart, Lambert Brown, that the Government might have acted unlawfully in amending the Appropriations Act, telling Brown that the claim “is not the bombshell” revelation that he made it out to be.

Fitz-Henley and Brown sparred during a sitting of the Senate on Friday when the Upper House of Parliament joined the Lower House in amending the Appropriations Bill.

The amendment was to correct what Finance Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, described as an error in transcribing sections of the Appropriations Act.

Brown reasoned that the amendment could run afoul of the constitution of Jamaica.

“I need to be convinced that this does not breach the constitution before I vote. Minister, is there a resignation on the card for this monumental error that the Gleaner calls budget backtrack?” said Brown in taking aim at Clarke.

Senator Lambert Brown

But Fitz-Henley defended Clarke and argued that it is common knowledge that transcribing sections of the budget is not a function of the political directorate.

“It does not surprise me the attempts to denigrate and seek to place the error at the feet of the finance minister who has presented the most comprehensive budget that has been put forward in a long time, one that has positive implications for a wide cross-section of people, and augurs well for our pensioners, our young people, along with low and middle-income earners,” Fitz-Henley commented.

The senator elaborated on why he said he said he was not taken aback that the Opposition sought to blame Clarke for the error.

“The ostensible attack on the finance minister is a testament to the fact that the minister has presented a credible budget that has the Opposition disturbed because every Jamaican can say there is something there for me in this yellow book,” Fitz-Henley continued in reference to the Estimates of Expenditure.

Fitz-Henley ended his presentation by commenting further on arguments by the Opposition that the amendment to the Appropriations Bill, which was approved in the Senate, might be unconstitutional.

“I’ve heard Senator Brown’s submissions concerning the amendment being made to the bill, and it appears to me that due process is being observed. So Senator Brown, let’s be clear, it’s not the bombshell that you make it out to be, it’s not the bombshell, it really is not”, said Fitz-Henley.