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PM responds to critics

PM responds to critics

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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has responded to critics that have accused him of “begging” for monetary assistance in the wake of the passage of Hurricane Tomas on October 30.{{more}}

Speaking at last Tuesday’s (November 9) sitting of the House of Assembly, PM Gonsalves said that the accusation was ridiculous.

“There are some persons when I set about seeking these monies from overseas, they refer to it as begging,” Gonsalves said.

“It’s a ridiculous accusation when one seeks to do something in solidarity and with dignity,” he added.

“I want to ask the question to those who accuse me of begging, could they please indicate to me what is the alternative?

“Do we have the resources here to address the magnitude of this disaster, particularly in a context where we have had an adverse impact from the fallout of the financial and economic meltdown globally?”

The prime minister presented to the House the final figures of the estimated damage, stating that while the full computation of the damage was yet to be ascertained, he anticipated that the numbers will reach “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

He listed monies that had already been made available in the aftermath of the passage of the hurricane which include EC$33.5 million from the Central Development Bank; a EC$1 million grant from the National Insurance Services (NIS); EC$1.4 million from the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (one half the amount due to this country) and EC$2 million from the European Union.

Gonsalves also identified monies that will be allocated for short to medium term reconstruction efforts.

These include the application made for 30 percent of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines drawing rights at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which amounts to US $4 million (EC$10 million); application for 7.7 million Euros (EC$29.5 million) under the rural transformation grant from the European Union; EC$5.5 million from the CDB’s BNTF programme; an emergency soft loan of US$750,000 (EC$2 million) from the CDB; an application to the World Bank for a sum yet to be decided by the bank and Government of SVG and US$20 million from the Alba Bank. (DD)

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