Environment Fund expected to be main point of discussion in first session of parliamentary season 26 October 2015
Cape Verde’s Parliamentary year, which will be short but likely intense, begins today, October 26. This first session, which is traditionally characterized by the yearly debate on the situation of the justice sector in the country, will also be marked by a series of questions that will be asked to the government regarding the management of the Ecological Tax Fund and the Environment Fund. In the view of the MpD’s parliamentary whip Fernando Elísio Freire, it will also be an opportune moment to demand explanations from the government regarding what he considers to be a clear example of “almost personal use of public money bordering on corruption and disrespect for the Cape Verdean population.” Freire maintained his critical tone with regards to the debater on the state of justice as well, saying that the government is not doing its job, given that the problems faced by the sector remain the same. He also expresses his view that the executive’s investments in the sector have been made in line with the needs of the government rather than those of Cape Verdeans. The PAICV’s parliamentary leader Felisberto Vieira, meanwhile, says that “no one has any doubt that there’s been extraordinary progress in the Cape Verdean judiciary system,” adding that “our justice sector is in proportion to the country’s possibilities.” Vieira also downplayed the debate on the Environment Fund and the Ecological Tax Fund. Also in this month’s session, a total of 18 bills are to be voted, with many of them likely to stir heated debate.
MpD parliamentary leader Fernando Elísio Freire promises that the debate on the Environment Fund will be aimed at “clarifying the situation and holding the government politically accountable for the smorgasbord into which the Environment Fund has been transformed.” With regards to the “almost personal use of public money bordering on corruption and disrespect for the Cape Verdean population,” he will also demand the government take on its responsibilities.
Freire is equally critical of the justice sector: “the problems of recent years have been the same.” As such, Freire concludes that “someone is not resolving them,” adding “it’s not just a matter of means, but of the right investments. However, it’s in the social sphere that justice is not fulfilling its role and is turning into a barrier,” he says, because “adequate investments were not made.”
Freire goes further still, affirming that the PAICV did not make investments in the justice sector in accordance with the country’s needs, but rather in accordance with those of the party. “It’s not because of a lack of public money, which is being used in other less important places. The country is setting the wrong priorities.” He also highlighted the fact that the number of pending cases in courts remains at between 11,000 and 12,000.
For his part, the parliamentary leader of the governing PAICV, Felisberto Vieira, gave an entirely different reading of the situation. Vieira believes that “no one has any doubt that there’s been extraordinary progress in the Cape Verdean judiciary system,” progress that is grounded in a “growing modernization process with major reforms on various levels: the legal and institutional edifice, computerization, and the training and specialization of justice workers,” among others.
Vieira concludes, as such, that the government “has made vital investments in the justice sector in order for it to be able to continue to guarantee quick, fair and effective performance that provides ever greater confidence to Cape Verdean citizens.” Vieira also asked justice sector workers to keep in mind the reality of the country in which they live, and to weigh the pressure of resources, given the existence of other sectors that are equally short of means. Nevertheless, Vieira promises that his party’s portrait of the justice sector will be “realistic, responsible and positive.”
The relatively short parliamentary year stands in contrast to the weighty agenda of its opening session, with 18 bills up for review and approval.