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PM will only answer Opposition questions because of obligation

PM will only answer Opposition questions because of obligation


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has said that when Parliament meets tomorrow, the answers he gives to the Opposition’s questions will be superficial.

During his newly established “Parliamentary Question Time – Ask the Prime Minister” call-in radio programme last week, Gonsalves told listeners that he would only answer questions posed to him{{more}} by members of the Opposition, because he is obligated to.

He said that he intends to take this approach with the Opposition members’ questions, based on what he considers their contempt for the House of Assembly.

Over the years, members of the Opposition have, from time to time, stayed away from Parliament, to protest various national issues.

“The Leader of the Opposition has a question on the order paper about Petrocaribe, but I will tell you that I will answer him in a very perfunctory manner because of the manner in which they have disrespected Parliament….

“I will carry out my obligations, my duty to answer questions put to me in Parliament, but I would answer in a perfunctory way,” Gonsalves stated.

In the first question for oral answer on tomorrow’s order paper, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace asks of Gonsalves, as Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, National Security, Legal Affairs and Grenadines Affairs:

“a) Please indicate the level of debt owed by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Venezuela under the Petro Caribe Oil Facility as at June 30th, b) Where is the debt recorded in terms as on the National Debt given its not recorded in the estimates for 2014, c) How much has been paid in interest and principal under the loan facility, and where is that recorded in terms of our national debt records.”

The Prime Minister said that while he would merely give a routine answer in the House, he opted to go into details on the Petro Caribe issue on his radio programme.

Of the 19 questions down to be asked by the Opposition Members of Parliament tomorrow, ten of the questions are being posed to the Gonsalves; three in his capacity as minister of Transport and Works, Urban development and Local Government.

Three questions have been posed to Minister of Housing Montgomery Daniel, two to Minister of Health Clayton Burgin and Minister of Tourism Cecil Mckie, and one each to Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar and Minister of Foreign Affairs Camillo Gonsalves.

Apart from Eustace, those on the Opposition side posing questions include MP for the Northern Grenadines Dr Godwin Friday, MP for Southern Grenadines Terrence Ollivierre, MP for Central Kingstown St Claire Leacock, MP for North Leeward Roland Matthews, South Leeward MP Nigel Stephenson, and senators Vynnette Frederick and Linton Lewis. (JJ)