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Caribbean & Central America - January 2019

GUATEMALA: Pockets of fiscal impropriety?

Effective from 1 January, Guatemala has a new public sector budget. Unlike the previous year, when there was a deadlock, this time the budget law was fully debated and approved by congress by the end of November. President Jimmy Morales has hailed it as helping meet five top government priorities, which he says are security and justice, the fight against corruption, health, education, and economic development. But 2019 is also an election year, and critics say the budget contains carefully located “pockets of money” designed to fund various illegitimate vote-buying schemes.

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