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PM hints at elections after airport opens

PM hints at elections after airport opens


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has hinted that general elections will not be held until the international airport at Argyle is completed.{{more}}

He said in Langley Park on Monday that the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is expecting elections soon, because his government has imported building materials.

The materials were imported for disaster relief for Hurricane Tomas and the floods of April 2011, Gonsalves has said.

“I know when all these things are happening and they hear it, they say election coming.

“They expect me to call elections before I land in a 747 at the Argyle international airport?”

Gonsalves has said the airport is due to be completed by late 2013, and become operational by mid-2014.

General elections are constitutionally due by March 2015.

The prime minister futher reiterated that, if God allows, he will contest the next general elections again as leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP).

He had said earlier this year that his party had decided that he should lead them into the next vote.

The 66-year-old politician has contested six national elections, including four as leader of the ULP, and two as prime minister.

Gonsalves in December 2010, secured a historic third consecutive term for a labour government here.

“And we will give them a fourth consecutive defeat,” he said of the Arnhim Eustace-led NDP.

The NDP, which was headed by Sir James Mitchell until October 2000, was in office from 1984 to March 2001.

“We will defeat them, because we have shown our mettle during good times, which we have helped to create, and some difficult times which we did not create. Those difficult times have come on us from outside,” Gonsalves said.

He further said the construction materials would also be used to continue the low income housing projects.

“We have a number of houses which still need some repairs all over this country … We are going to repair 150. We are repairing ten in each of the 13 constituencies here, five on Bequia and five in the Southern Grenadines.

“The other ten which remain you may have a constituency having 12 that will take up about $2 million worth of the material,” he pointed out.

“And then $5 million worth, we are putting into the low income houses. We already build a bridge and a road in Green Hill. In another two or three weeks, we going to start another 20 houses up there.

“We going to build an additional 60, and on each house up there, we intend to employ ten persons, so in them 20 up there, we intend to employ 200 people, tradesmen and casual labour.

“We going to do the same thing down Clare Valley,” he added. “With another 20 though, we are going to build another 60 more down in Clare Valley.

“In a very limited way, some people will get some materials, but these are not material for widespread distribution.”

Currently there are 52 houses in the Clare Valley housing project, and 60 more slated to be constructed. Fifty-six houses have been built in Green Hill.

The prime minister indicated that lands are also slated to be distributed in Colonarie, South Rivers and Barrouallie, in the near future.

“I will get more land, if I have to buy and distribute. And when I buy and distribute, the price which we pay when we buy … we providing a subsidy to the poor,” Gonsalves said.

“This is government which is determined always to assist poor people. Ah taking care of the people all the time,” he added.

Gonsalves was speaking at a ceremony to hand over five homes and 62 house spots to residents in the Langley Park community. (JJ)