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PM returns ‘hypocritical’ criticism

PM returns  ‘hypocritical’ criticism

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Dr Godwin Friday and the New Democratic Party (NDP) are hypocritical, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday, returning the Opposition’s criticism of him to them.{{more}}

Gonsalves was responding to statements made by NDP Vice President Friday and his party president, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, about the government purchasing $7 million in building material from a Jamaican firm.

Eustace has said the materials should have been spent locally, as an economic stimulus.

Friday said on radio two weeks ago that Gonsalves was hypocritical in calling for a regional commercial bank operating here to reduce its interest rate in St Vincent — as it had done in St Lucia — while his government was buying building materials overseas.

“Well, this is strange coming from a government which never buy material for poor people,” Gonsalves said a at media briefing in Kingstown.

He added that former prime minister and NDP founder Sir James Mitchell “had made it plain and Arnhim had confirmed that they were not in the business of helping people build any house.”

He said that under the NDP, which was in office from 1984 to March 2001, citizens may have got “a few sheets here and there, but nothing like the kind of programmes, which we have been doing.

“But they, they want to advise me now, from who I must buy and I must buy in St Vincent,” Gonsalves said.

“I have no problem with that…” he further stated, but added that his government is buying some galvanise from local companies.

“But we don’t make plywood here. We don’t make the lumber here. We don’t make the cement here.”

He said his government was getting the materials on “good terms”.

“… Who is going to give me seven months credit until ah catch me hand?” added Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.

“But meanwhile, I have to build houses.”

Gonsalves said Eustace was part of the NDP government “that wasn’t interested in poor people housing.

“Ask them, one single house, which they built in 17 years in office…

“Since when they have interest in poor people? They better don’t get me started on this issue this Monday morning. They have done nothing for housing for poor people in this country.”

Gonsalves, in response to Friday’s comment about his lobbying the bank on the interest rate matter, said:

“Will somebody explain to me how it is hypocrisy to ask for a reduction in interest rate and got it and buying materials from overseas cheaper and on better terms.

“Maybe I don’t understand the word hypocrisy. You are hypocritical Dr Friday, because your government, when they were in power for 17 years, and your leader, Arnhim Eustace, never concerned themselves with poor people housing and are hypocritical now to decry the excellent effort, which we are making.”

Gonsalves said the opposition legislators were “so blinded by Ralph, … up to now, neither Mr Eustace or Dr Friday or anybody from the NDP — none of them — has said that we support the prime minister in calling for a reduction in interest rates.

“Any of them has said that? … I haven’t heard one word from them. … And these are people who say they want to be an alternative?

“No wonder a lot of people calling for Arnhim to go, and his friends. Some even calling for them to dissolve themselves. They are not serious people,” the prime minister said. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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