Minister Norton defends budgetary allocation of $3.365B

– National Youth Policy to be operationalized

– synthetic tracks to be completed within six months

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 10, 2018

The Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport which falls under the Ministry of the Presidency saw its 2019 Budgetary allocation of $3.365Billion being approved in the Committee of Supply. However, this was after it was placed under the microscope by Members of the Opposition.

Defending the Department for the consideration of the estimates was Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sports Dr. George Norton. The Department received the sum of $391.5Million for current expenditure and $444.6Million for capital expenditure, bringing it to a total of $836.1Million.

Members of the Opposition questioned how the sum of $350Million budgeted for the Jubilee celebration in 2020 will be spent on the preparations.

Responding, Minister Norton pointed out that the amount of $35Million will be spent in each administrative region for the upgrading of various venues to host the grand celebrations. He added that a detailed breakdown of how, and where the monies will be spent will be delivered to Members of the Opposition in writing as requested.

Cultural Preservation & Conservation was allocated $1.089Billion; $955,566 for current expenditure and $133.672Million for capital expenditure. For the capital allocations the expenditures are as follows:

  • Cultural Centre: $53Million – provision for roof, sound room and theatre Chairs. Phase One was completed and the Phase Two will see the completion of the works in 2019.
  • Institute of Creative Arts: $4.474Million – provision of musical instruments.
  • Castellani House-$8.895Million – rehabilitation of roof.
  • National School of Dance: $2.575Million – for the purchase of furniture and equipment.
  • Museum Development: $3M – provision for museums.
  • Burrows School of Art: $3.39M – purchase of equipment.
  • National Archives: $14.5M – provision for storage facility, digitization project and equipment.
  • National Trust: $42.793M – provision of monuments, heritage sites and payment of retention. However, it was highlighted by the Minister that it also includes the maintenance of heritage sites across the country.

The budgetary allocations for Youth amount to $1.046Billion with current expenditure amounting to $809.192Million and capital expenditure $236.997Million. Minister Norton responding to queries by the opposition on the operationalisation of the National Youth Policy, noted that in 2019, public education on National Youth Policy will be conducted countrywide at a cost of $4Million.

Additionally, $1.229Billion was approved for Sports. Of that amount, $570.393Million has been allocated for current expenditure and $659.4Million for capital. Minister Norton said that a large sum of the capital expenditure will go towards the construction of two synthetic tracks. One will be constructed in Region Six at Burnham Ground in New Amsterdam at a cost of $141Million and the other in Region 10, Linden at a cost of $178Million. Both of the facilities are currently in their third phase and are expected to complete within six months.

Isaiah Braithwaite.

Images: Keno George.