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PM expresses disappointment at secretly recorded meeting with unions


The Prime Minister has expressed disappointment that he was secretly taped during a recent consultation with public sector unions.

Last Tuesday, during a press conference at Cabinet Room, Dr Ralph Gonsalves said it was the first time in his 17 years of public consultations that this has happened.

“Because if somebody tapes it without your knowledge, it means that they are very guarded in what they are going to say. So that the conversation is not honest and open as you must have with consultations…. If I am having a meeting with somebody and I don’t know the meeting is being taped, I will find that what you are saying may not well be your own honest expressions, that you may be speaking for some other ulterior purpose,” Gonsalves said.

The fact that the closed-door meeting had been taped was made public when a local media house said it had obtained a “record” of the meeting and published a story which included direct quotations from the meeting, which was chaired by Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves.

During the meeting, which touched on pension reforms, among other things, there was an exchange of words between the Prime Minister and head of the Police Welfare Association Sergeant Brenton Smith.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Gonsalves, however, said that he did not say anything which was unworthy at the meeting.

He also noted that the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union was not represented at the meeting.

“I spoke what I’ve always said publicly, but we need to observe certain elementary courtesies and protocols,” he said.

Gonsalves said the Government will meet with the unions again and he hopes that the meeting is not secretly taped.(CB)