Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag butted heads with her opposition counterpart, Ganesh Mahipaul, during the consideration of 2024 allocations for security services.

During the consideration of estimates for ministry in the Committee of Supply, Mahipaul probed extensively about the increase in security expenses which fall under Programme: 133 – Regional Development totalling $110.4M

Mahipaul said, “Out of that sum, we see for the Ministry of Local Government, security services there was a heavy increase; from $8,733,000 in 2023 to $28.5M for 2024.” The opposition parliamentarian asked Parag to provide detailed justification for this massive jump.

Parag said, “I don’t believe an increase, whether massive or minor, is very uncommoin given that in 2015 to 2019, we also had massive increases especially from 2017 to 2018. However, it is due to new rates and locations.”

Unsatisfied with this response, Mahipaul pressed her once more to expound on the security rates and locations. She said there used to be baton security, and now there is armed security.

Mahipaul asked for the old and new rates as well as the name of the security firm being used.

The name for the firm was not provided, but for the rates, she said, “If I can go back to 2017, Mr. Speaker, we had a jump in security costs from $403M to $530M in 2019, so it is not uncommon. However, in this period we have the rate of $1000 per hour for armed security, and baton is $600 to $850 per hour.”

The overall allocation was then passed by the committee.


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