Tue. 19th Jan., 2010

No. 1 Fifth Session Eighth ParliamentTuesday 19th January, 2010Prayers Proclamation Oath Affirmation Obituaries Congratulatory Remarks Minutes Announcements by the Speaker Statements by Ministers Petitions PapersSAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESTHE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) ADVANCE COPY OFFICIAL REPORTCONTENTS Tuesday 19th January 20101Questions for Oral Answers 28 Orders of the Day 49 Motions 49 Bills 118 Suspension 1192Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, National Security, Grenadines and Legal Affairs Dr. the Honourable Ralph GonsalvesAttorney General Honourable Judith Jones-MorganDeputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Honourable Louis StrakerMinister of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Gender Affairs, Non-Governmental Organisations, Local Government, Persons with Disabilities, Youths and SportsHonourable Michael BrowneMember for Central WindwardMember for Central LeewardMember for West St. GeorgeTHE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATESOFFICIAL REPORTPROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE FIRST MEETING, FIFTH SESSION OF THE EIGHTH PARLIAMENT OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES CONSTITUTED AS SET OUT IN SCHEDULE 2 TO THE SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES ORDER, 1979.FIRST SITTING19th JANUARY 2010HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYThe Honourable House of Assembly met at 9:20 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber, Court House, Kingstown.PRAYERS MR. SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR Honourable Hendrick Alexander PresentMEMBERS OF CABINET3Minister of Education Honourable Girlyn MiguelMinister of Rural Transformation, Information, Postal Service and Ecclesiastical Affairs Honourable Selmon WaltersMinister of Health and the Environment Dr. Douglas SlaterMinister of Urban Development, Culture, Labour and Electoral MattersRene Baptiste Minister of Transport and Works Honourable Clayton BurginMinister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Honourable Montgomery DanielMinister of Telecommunications, Science Technology and Industry Honourable Dr. Jerrol ThompsonMinister of Tourism, Honourable Glen BeacheHonourable Conrad SayersMinister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Physical Planning Lands and Surveys Honourable Saboto CaesarHonourable Julian Francis Honourable Rochelle FordeParliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Honourable Michelle FifeMember for MarriaquaMember for South Central Windward Member for South LeewardMember for West Kingstown Member for East St. GeorgeMember for North WindwardMember for North LeewardMember for South Windward Member for Central KingstownGovernment SenatorGovernment Senator Government Senator/ Deputy SpeakerGovernment Senator4Honourable Arnhim EustaceDr. the Honourable Godwin Friday Terrance Ollivierre Honourable Major St. Claire LeacockHonourable Daniel CummingsLeader of the Opposition Member for East KingstownMember for Northern Grenadines Member for Southern Grenadines Opposition SenatorOpposition SenatorOTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE5SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY TUESDAY 19TH JANUARY 2010 ESTIMATESPRAYERS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Hendrick Alexander, Speaker of the House, readthe prayers of the House.PROCLAMATIONA Proclamation by the Governor General;WHEREAS, by sub-section (1) of section 47 of the Constitution set out in the First Schedule of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution Order, 1979 it is provided that each session of Parliament shall be held at such place within St. Vincent and the Grenadines and shall begin at such time as the Governor General shall appoint by proclamation.AND WHEREAS it is expedient that a session of the said Parliament shall be held at the Court House, Kingstown, and shall begin on Tuesday the 19th day of January, 2010 at 9:00 o’clock in the forenoon.NOW, THEREFORE, I SIR FREDERICK N. BALLANTYNE, G.C.M.G., Governor General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, do hereby appoint the said Court House as the place at which the said session shall be held and Tuesday the 19th day of January, 2010 at 9:00 o’clock in the forenoon as the time at which the said session shall begin.GIVEN under my hand and the Public Seal of St. Vincent and the Grenadines this 11th day of January Two Thousand and Ten and in the Fifty-eighth year of the reign of Her Majesty QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND.GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! OATH/AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCEI Michelle Fife do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to the Law. So Help Me, God.page6image15664 page6image158246OBITUARIESHONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise this morning to pay tribute to Miss Zetilda and Evadnie Jacobs of Lowmans, Mrs. Verena Hamlet of Cane Garden and Mr. Jerome Burke of New Montrose. Most of us would have learnt about the terrible fire that took the lives of two persons at Lowmans Hill. They were unable to get out of the house on time. Miss Zetilda and Evanie Jacobs, her daughter is Evadnie, it was a horrific way we greeted the New Year amount other deaths on the 31st. Zetilda was well known as Mother Jacobs and mother and grandmother and a friend. She has relatives from Bequia as well as in Lowmans Hill, several children, grandchildren, neighbors and particularly the members of the Women’s Ministries of the New Testament Church of God at Lowmans Hill mourn her loss. Very nice soft spoken lady, but even at that age of over 93, she was still able to know what is going on, her house was always filled with barrels of clothing and she will say to her grandchildren, just in case something happened, I have something to give someone. With such a loss she will be sadly missed. The home on Lowmans Hill just at Gumbs Hill there is reputed to be one of the first wall houses in the area. Evadnie was a special child and some of her classmates such as the contractor Mr. O’neal Cruickshank remember that she was just loving and always love to smile a lot. She had quite a large turnout at her funeral. It was such a tragedy, may God have mercy on their soul.I take this opportunity as well, Mr. Speaker, to pay tribute to Jerome Burke, who was a member of this Honourable House 1972 – 1974 as a nominated member and Deputy Speaker, but I know him much more as a founding father of the Credit Union and Cooperative Movement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He was the first President of the Kingstown Cooperative Credit Union. I remember when Mr. Tommy Saunders worked with persons such as deceased Mr. Providence, deceased Calvin Nicholls and they wanted to start one for the Public Servants, Urcelle Cummings deceased, my mother Beryl Baptiste, they were all in the forefront of the Credit Union Movement. Mr. Burke goes back to 1958 or thereabout and when they started trying to get this Credit Union Movement going, it took and caught fire and it is now the second largest local Credit Union Institution, GECCU being the largest of them all.It was also one of the partners that natured the smaller Credit Unions in the outlying areas such as in Marriaqua. The founding fathers of this lending institution for “the poor people” is really something now that we realise that has helped so much in building this country. He was also a Director of Tripple C.U and a Director of now what is called “the World Council of Credit Unions.” As you would know, Mr. Speaker, that I have an intimate knowledge and affection for the Credit Union Movement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, having had the privilege and honour to serve at the highest offices in the land, also he is a fellow mechanic, he was the grand master of the grand united order fought fellows and the grand master of the ancient order foresters and he was also a grand master of the independent order of the mechanics western hemisphere. We use to have a branch here years ago, but that is died out, but our fraternal brothers also mourn his loss and as was reminded that he had started calypso tent in St. Vincent.Sometimes we do not remember the founding people, the pioneers who put such great store in service. It is now fashionable for other reasons, but all the time, all they wanted to do was to serve. I am hoping that like the other pioneers in the Credit Union Movement, his name will be indelibly marked in thepage7image321527history of the movement in this country. Most of us who grew up in the 1960’s must know Burke’s tailoring establishment. The son Jerome was in the Jaycees, one son is in the Cadets and it was very pleasing and fitting that the Honourable Prime Minister as leader of Government business of this Honourable House gave the instructions to the Honourable Speaker and myself and we ensured that he had an official funeral befitting his status in this country. To his relatives and friends, our deepest sympathy and we wish them to continue to trust in the mercy of God.Finally, Mr. Speaker, in relation to Mrs. Verena Hamlet, also I knew her as a young girl going to GHS, her husband was my mother’s boss because he served..., her husband Hugh Hamlet, HH they use to call him affectionately served as auditor, Director of Audit, my mother served 16 years with him and Saville Cummings in the Audit Department of her 34 years in Public Service and it was a family affair. You always knew when sister Verena was going to be around because you got sandwiches, lime balls and sugar cake. She was the mother of Michael Hamlet who served in this Honourable House as a Senator and now deceased and her husband also served in the highest office of this land as Governor General’s Deputy. She was a staunch Anglican Communicant. We missed her this Sunday Morning, the front pew was empty. She was a fixture in the Anglican Church and you could always count on her especially in her stronger years to give a nice cake for the harvest luncheon. Her grandchildren mourn her loss so terribly, they called her mama and her two daughters who are still alive Mrs. Sylvia De Freitas and Mrs. Helen Mc. Lennon, and they were both here. From all of us in this Honourable House I am quite sure, well friends on the Opposite side would also make tribute to her. We know that she is safe in the Saviour’s arms and that the foundation of Christianity which she laid in her family would keep them strong through this period of mourning. May they all rest in peace.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I wish to recognise the passing of Mrs. Hamlet, Virginia Ollivierre and Jerome Burke. It has been..., these last three days have been quite busy attending all these funerals. First of all, let me say that I wish to associate myself to the remarks make by the Honourable Minister with respect to Mrs. Hamlet and Mr. Burke. As far as Mrs. Hamlet is concerned, she was a very close friend of my family. I have known her from..., well all my life, because our families including Mrs. Averil Cato being so close always attended social events including picnics and so on together when I was a little boy and I had the honour to pay tribute to Mr. Hamlet at his funeral. So I have a long relationship with that family and I can attest to the kindness generosity and Mrs. Hamlet’s Christian belief. Her church, the Anglican Church will surely miss her and here again she had a very close relationship. My mother was also a warden at that church. I know the family very well and I am sure as you listened to the grandchildren as they presented the Eulogy, you will see that she had a significant impact on all of their lives.With regards to Mr. Burke whose body lay in State here in the Parliament yesterday, I want to associate myself with the minister’s remark as far as his Credit Union contribution is concerned and also his contribution to politics. I could not help smiling yesterday as the funeral as his son recounted what he described as a joke because Mr. Burke also had a snackette apart from his children establishment and the story goes that one night as he was closing the snackette and we are talking now back in the 60’s about 10 or 11, the French visitors to St. Vincent came to get a meal and he put his staff back into the kitchen at that hour to prepare the meal. But being Frenchmen, they also wanted wine, but snackettes do not8have wine, so Mr. Burke left his snackette, went home and brought back the homemade wine that tells you something about the man and I found that very instructive yesterday at the funeral.Thirdly Mrs. Virginia Ollivierre is the aunt of the representative for the Southern Grenadines. She was buried on Sunday and the representative here delivered the Eulogy. Those of you who know the Canouan Island Council would know that her brother was on the Council and Peter Ollivierre who we know in the shipping business is also her brother and from what we learnt at the funeral, she had a significant impact on the lives of all of her relatives and friends. Indeed, it might be said that without her, Terrance might not have been in this Parliament, really from what all that was said on Sunday, made a significant contribution to her family and to that extent a significant contribution to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. May they all rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister for Central Kingstown.HONOURABLE CONRAD SAYERS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to make my contribution to the..., on the agenda of Obituaries and I would like to associate with the remarks, condolences made on behalf of many of the others, but in particular I want to say a few words on behalf of the passing of Mrs. Verena Hamlet whom I affectionately call, lady Hamlet not only because she was the wife of an Acting Governor General Mr. Hugh Hamlet, but because of her general demeanor and her motherly wisdom and tendency to live and act with dignity and forthrightness. That old lady has made tremendous impact on my life, Mr. Speaker, and I have only come to know her after the passing of her son Michael, but I feel that at a time like this she will need someone who would keep in touch and who would be warm and encouraging towards her and that caused us to develop a very close friendship. In fact, she sometimes referred to me as one of her two friends. I do not know who the other one was, but in fact, I wouldn’t say who the other one was, but that to me was very, very, very uplifting. She will be deeply missed and was given a funeral service that was befitting of her dignity as a person. One special lady refers to her as most beautiful in individual and I have to agree in every way. I will call her to encourage her and she will end up encouraging me, how you doing my boy and would keep saying those wonderful things that make me feel that reaching out to her was worthwhile. The lady of appreciation is a patriot. She said to me one day, Conrad I want to make a contribution to the development of the airport, what can I do about it and I give her advice accordingly. Mr. Speaker, St. Vincent is the poorer of family, is the poorer with the loss of this lady and I wish that her children who are remaining Sylvia and Helen and her seven grandchildren would take comfort in the fact that their grandmother was a woman who has left an indelible mark of impression on the hearts and minds of Vincentians. May she rest in peace Mr. Speaker.Finally, I will like to say a few words of condolences to the relatives of the deceased Molly John of Paul’s Avenue. Molly was one of the closest friends of my mother. They worked together in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Woman’s League and that perhaps is one of the reasons why we became so close, but apart from that they were within the same community and they always shared this warm sense of conversation and confidentiality between them. She has been a woman who was like the matriarch of Paul’s Avenue, she was the mother of Bridget John who is affectionately call Bridgie, Tyrone and Burke and also the step-mother of Kye, the businessman in Paul’s Avenue. So we also share that loss and wish9that the relatives of this lady would be comforted and consoled at a time like this and may she also rest in peace, Mr. Speaker. I thank you.HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my condolences to those persons mentioned by the Minister of Culture, the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Central Kingstown, but in particular, Mr. Speaker, in the Southern Grenadines it was a hard time for us in the month of December and also in January; on the 14th December Mrs. Amushell Adams a pioneer in the hotel and business community in Union Island and should I say in the Southern Grenadines died. She was the mother of the former representative for the Southern Grenadines, the Honourable Stephanie Browne and she was buried on the 22nd December 2009. Indeed, she made her mark in the Southern Grenadines and most people refer to her as the iron lady even after the passing of her husband, she continued in the business field and make sure that the business which they had set up over the years continued to grow and flourish and indeed, we in the Southern Grenadines and in particular Union Island will miss her.Also Mr. Speaker, one of the saddest, more deaths was in Canouan on the 19th December. This lady, all her children from overseas, United States, Canada, Trinidad, Barbados, they were planning this family reunion for months, low and behold when some of the children arrived in St. Vincent the Friday, heading to Canouan with the Barracuda and the Saturday they got the news that their mother, grandmother had died and indeed it was a shock to the community in Canouan. We have missed a community spirited person, she was very much at the centre of all cultural events, help to organise and to make sure that you know some of the cultural aspects of the quadrille, the may pole dancing and all these things you know continued.Also Mr. Speaker, a couple days after that we had the death of Mr. Jarius Stewart, he was 94 years old, he worked as a stevedore in Trinidad and then on national bulk, he...,HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: A Gene Ollivierre previously HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Hello HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You were speaking of a Gene Ollivierre HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: No, Mrs. Rosalind De Roche HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh, ohHONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Sorry, Mrs. Rosalind De Roche. Yes, Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Stewart 94, you know sometimes when you visit him, he was in his full faculty and he had many stories to tell about what transpired during the earlier days in Union Island and he will give you how things were, what they had to do to survive on national bulk and all these stories and Mr. Speaker, once you heard them you know it would enrich your life and it told how the people of the Southern Grenadines had to live and not long after that again, Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Rebecca Noel was 91 years old. She died on the 2nd January and was buried on the 9th January and in fact, it is while at the funeral of Mrs. Noel on the 9th while at the cemetery that I got the news that my aunt Mrs. Virginia Ollivierre had10died. I wish to say that my aunt as we commonly call auntie Virgie, she was the disciplinarian in the family and indeed those who were before me, who did not like school and you know the discipline she put down, I was sure that I did not want to face that, so I like school from early, thanks to auntie Virgie and you know I grew up in an extended family and she was part of the moulding process for my life and I would just like to pay tribute to her and the contribution that she made to those of us who grew up with her. May they rest in peace, thank you Mr. Speaker.CONGRATULATORY REMARKSDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the deaths of the three persons in the road traffic accident at Argyle rocks this nation early in the New Year. I visited the family of Michelle from Chilli and I also met the parents of the young man from Sandy Bay and the young boy from Spring Village, Leeward. It is a terrible tragedy and we are all very saddened and we are hoping that the families who have suffered from the early loss of their loved ones that they will find the strength to go on. It has been a very difficult time I know for Michelle’s boys and for the mothers of, and also for Basil and for the mothers of the young man from Sandy Bay and also the young boy from Spring Village. May their souls rest in peace.Mr. Speaker, I would expect that the first congratulations today to be offered would be the Honourable Senator Michelle Fife, Parliamentary Secretary [applause] in the Office of the Prime Minister and secondly, the Honourable Minister of Housing, Lands, Informal Human Settlement and Local Government, the Honourable Saboto Caesar.Mr. Speaker, the ULP administration from its very inception promotes young people in every single work of life [applause]. We do so in the state administration as you see the number of young persons who are advancing through the public service. We do so through the public enterprises, we see the number of young person’s heading state enterprises or in senior positions or on boards and of course, we see them in the diplomatic field, we see them in this Parliament and in Ministerial portfolios. Never in the history of this country has young people been so appreciated and their work so advanced as under this administration for the last nine years [applause].Mr. Speaker, the examples are legion, but for today I focus on the Honourable Senator Michelle Fife and the Honourable Minister Saboto Caesar. Mr. Speaker, Michelle Fife is one of those blessed human beings. In fact, you ponder as to why Almighty God gives some people such an overflowing and abundance of blessings and others not quite the same amount. It is not for me to divine all of this. I know he gives us all the love and he gives us the opportunities and those of us who take advantage of them, they amount to blessings.Michelle Fife is a beautiful Caribbean young lady inside and outside. She has been moulded by a very strong mother and a loving step-father. A loving father who has made sure that everything should be done to assist her. Her mother has come from the bowels of the working people and farmers in South Rivers. She is a Chewitt, you can see her, she is made of sturdy African stock, powerful woman, apage11image2882411preacher of the gospel at which she excels. The values of hard work and discipline, the virtues of education and above all, the belief in Almighty God inculcated in Michelle, the unwavering view that she is not better than anybody else, but nobody is better than her and that with her wings unclipped she can soar as eagles to the pinnacle, to the highest point that her mind and her effort and her hearts desires and Almighty God’s blessing lead her to.Michelle Fife grew up in England and there and she has been very community spirited, working with the children and the Christian community. She is a lady of sports. When she was at the University of the West Indies in Cave Hill, Barbados doing her honours degree in Law, she made the football team in successive years while she was there, not just a female football team, a football team which is made up of males and females and that there are many a man in St. Vincent and the Grenadines today who as a student who could not make the team even though they tried and Michelle did and when they walk they have to nod. I must say that the second year when she made it Saboto was injured, but he returned in glory in the third year to play alongside Michelle. Now they are on the same team here in the Parliament to serve the people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines [applause]. They were champion debaters, both of them.In fact, from secondary school days, and when she was at the Girls High School she and her teammate and Saboto and his teammate, you know the young men always believe that they are the best and Michelle and her debating partner held them and whipped them soundly and for weeks after they did not know what hit them and then she went on to University. She graduated with honours in Law. She went to the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, she also excelled. When she was applying for her job in the Attorney’s General Chambers, incidentally a job which is not given by this Government but a job which is awarded by the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, headed by the Honourable ChiefJustice,sowhenIwasaskedifmynamecouldgoasoneofherreferees,Isaid,whynot? Itisnot the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which is determining whether she gets the job and I could vouch with a clear heart, with a free spirit and with honesty that she is a wonderful young lady in whom I am most pleased [applause].She worked at the Attorney’s General Chambers and as you would expect, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as Minister of Legal Affairs and as a lawyer myself, I would watch her progress very keenly, because many a person who has lots of blessings, very bright, focused, but when they graduate and come and do law, some of them believe that they already know all the law that there is to know, but the Honourable Michelle Fife said to me in humility that she knew that she had just finished five years of training in law only to learn the law and with that approach she showed herself to be a splendid researcher and a devoted advocate to her cause, but always bearing in mind the overarching issue of justice.I have spoken to lawyers and I have asked Magistrates and Judges before whom she has appeared what is their view of her and universally, they have commended her. Not one professional to whom I have spoken, those supporting the ULP and those who not supporting the ULP and of course the Judges and Magistrates who supports no parties, they themselves give an honest view. I am very pleased that the process of refreshing the Unity Labour Party and refreshing this Government is well on the way and as12we are aware, sometime between now and March 28th 2011 there would be an event called General Elections and I have been advised that Miss Fife is offering herself as a possible candidate for the Unity Labour Party in the Constituency of West Kingstown. Of course, inside of our party from time to time we have competition and she may well face competition, but we handle that within our democratic processes internally. But I predict today that this country would hear a lot more from and about Michelle Fife. She has a wonderful public career ahead of her.I am very pleased that she has agreed to accept the offer of the Prime Minister to become a Senator and she was sworn in on Friday and to take the office of Parliamentary Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister. I wish her well and I wish her success in all her endeavours. She demonstrated, Mr. Speaker, the charm and grace and elegance and sophistication of a Caribbean beauty by walking off with the Miss SVG Beauty Pageant in 2001. So she has been blessed with beauty and grace that is a powerful combination and she was the first awardee of a scholarship for someone who becomes the Miss SVG. I know her mother and her father are most pleased and the rest of her family. I am sure her brother who played professional football for Peterborough would probably say, if my sister who played football in the Caribbean becomes a Member of Parliament, I do not know whether he or others may have their sites in the United Kingdom.In the case of the Honourable Saboto Caesar, as the Honourable Senator Francis his immediate predecessor in that office said at the Swearing In, in his young public political career thus far, the Honourable Saboto Caesar has been at Government House for more Swearing Ins than the Prime Minister. He was there as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and then as Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture in order to get off the ground, the alternatives livelihood project which he has successfully done and now as Minister, full Minister. He is the youngest full Minister in the Government and one of the youngest full Ministers ever in this country [applause].Again, a scholar and Mr. Speaker, if I may say only sotto voce, the women also tell me he is beautiful, handsome, I am sorry, handsome [laughter]. He himself has had a very strong Christian upbringing, focused, bright, hardworking, humble, a number of persons doesn’t know the story that Saboto Caesar having taken his A’ Levels and looking at the situation of bananas in the late 1990’s decided that he was going to..., he had to go and earn a living very quickly before he went off to University to get some money, help the family and lay a little base for himself, enterprising and one of the swiftest ways he thought was to go to work on a cruise ship and had actually gone and signed up with Paldrick Moses, at Campden Park and on the day when he was going down, he was scheduled to go down to pay the balance of the money I have been advised that that is the day when the A’ Level results came out and he was the national scholar, he came first. So he went down to Paldrick to take back the deposit and off he went to University, which shows you that he is not afraid to do things with his hands. Rights, I tell him he will have..., filling the shoes of the Honourable Senator Julian Francis is not easy, because Julian Francis, Mr. Speaker, if I may just simply put it that is a master of organisation and he gets things done.Indeed, his very success brings him enemies, political enemies that is, because as the saying goes boys do not throw stones at green mangoes, you pelt the stone at the juicy mangoes, that is what you do and he has a difficult Ministry, the Honourable Senator Caesar, but I have absolutely no doubt that he will13continue to excel. His contributions in Cabinet have been very insightful and mature, I have listened to him and I tell the people of this country this, having been a university lecturer and then subsequently a visiting professor in the United States, having worked in that capacity for about six seven years, I have been able to assess people and that gift of assessment has been strengthened as a trial lawyer and I watched Saboto Caesar inside out and he is my son in whom I am most pleased.I want the people of South Central Windward to hear that because I have been advised that he has received the blessings of the Honourable Selmon Walters, the current representative and that the Constituency Council of that Constituency has also given him his blessings. I am overjoyed today. We are beginning to see the shaping of the new generation of leadership of the Unity Labour Party and the Government. As some stalwarts recede and provide guidance from behind and I remain with God’s grace for a while to help to provide the leader at the centre, but I hope in time that one of these young persons and those who will come and you will see the slate which we will bring, it will be the dream team, the most exciting one this country has ever seen [applause] there will be freshness, there will be nothing stale, everything will be refreshed and alive. We thank Almighty God for the gifts of his children Michelle and Saboto to us and we pray thank you and God speed [applause].Mr. Speaker, may I also offer my thanks at this moment as part of the congratulations to the Honourables Senator Francis, Senator Williams and the Honourable Conrad Sayers who each of them voluntarily demitted office to facilitate this glorious transition. I want to thank them for their services to this country. They performed well and there are other roles which await them, because we have been promised in my Father’s house there are many mansions and there is a space for everyone.Mr. Speaker, I would like to add the congratulations to a very dear friend of mine the Honourable Roosevelt Skerritt Prime Minister of Dominica [applause], the Leader of the Dominica Labour Party, and fraternal party to the Unity Labour Party. He romp home with 61% of the vote, 18 out of 21 seats and the Opposition even in the face of that is crying foul, but what you will do? I know that my friend the Opposition Leader in Dominica now Edison James has been in touch with the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, I know they hold conversations, compare notes, but no note comparison can stop the forward march of labour, none whatsoever.The same people who came here to support the Opposition in an earlier General Election and who came here at the Referendum time, strategic communications laboratories, they are the ones and their financiers, the financiers who sell passports, they are the ones who organised the campaign against Prime Minister Skerritt in Dominica. They went so far as to make unfounded allegations of corruption against this young man and had posters with his hands in chains as though he is in jail and put up the bars, you go on Facebook you see they do some of the same things with Ralph. I just say to them, when you are digging a hole for somebody dig one for yourself, when you are digging one for somebody, dig one for yourself. Whosoever digeth a pit shall fall in it, shall fall in it. If you are a big tree, we the people, we are a small axe sharpened, ready to cut you down, that is what happened in Dominica and will happen here. Congratulations Roosevelt and the Dominica Labour Party [applause].HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Now I recognise the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, I will take you after.14HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I want to on behalf of the members on this side of the House, I want to offer congratulations to Michelle Fife on her appointment as a Senator in this Honourable House. We always, Mr. Speaker, welcome those who come to this House and greet them with the necessary respect, dignity that is required. Michelle has been in this House on many, many occasions sitting just across there, she has now changed from spectator to participant and I am sure that she has learned during her tenure as a spectator, how this House functions. I wish her well, Mr. Speaker, as a Senator in this House. I would not wish to comment on which seat she may run for that is a matter for the Unity Labour Party. I wish to assure her whichever seat she runs for she will have a formidable opponent.Mr. Speaker, I want to offer my congratulations to Pastor Kennedy and her husband Michelle’s mother and her stepfather. I believe that this morning their hearts are filled with joy and pride to see their daughter rise to this high position in the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I want to congratulate them too, because they would have played a role, a big role in determining what she become, so Michelle, congratulations.I also want to congratulate our new Minister, Saboto Caesar and he is no stranger to the House. He has been making his contribution here already and I look forward to see him performing as a full Minister of Government. As was pointed out, he is a young man with promise and like all of us who enter this House, we will wish you do well and therefore I wish him well.Mr. Speaker, I also want to congratulate Senator Francis on his new role, well not new, new for the next election, I want to congratulate him on his role because it seems to me that he will be supervising, managing the event that will take place sometime between now as the Prime Minister put it and the 28th March, 2011. As was pointed out, a good organiser and very successful of course in East Kingstown and Mr. Speaker, I look forward, because in the changing tide of politics you know we have to expect those changes, Senator our Minister, representative for South Central, he is the slightest that throw in his towel [interjection] well that is all right, that is okay and Mr. Speaker, I listened to the Prime Minister’s words as he look to the future as far as the elections are concerned here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and made comparisons with Dominica. I will only say to that Mr. Speaker, that I want to congratulate the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who voted so overwhelmingly in the Referendum for the No vote, I say no more. I am much obliged.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I could not sit in this Honourable Chamber and resist the urge to speak on behalf of these two young Senators on the Government side of this Honourable House. I am very well acquainted with Miss Michelle Fife. I remember the controversy in 2001 when she hit the stage at Victoria Park as a Christian young woman vying for the crown of Miss SVG, so she is a trail blazer, she is accustomed to winning and therefore she has to work extremely hard on this new stage in order to win and she herself has told me that she loves the challenge and I told her that in the political history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines West Kingstown usually presents many challenges, but I have overcome those that presented themselves to me on both occasions.15I want to thank her parents for sitting with her and helping her through this decision, because it is not an automatic decision. She is very young. There are some persons who could be her parent who may be vying in the constituency. I could be her mother and she has many choices ahead of her. I had the good fortune of having her in my law chambers as pupil, she did her pupilage there and she knows that I am a hard task master even though I was not physically present, but because she requested to spend some time there that she had to prepare and do her work with excellence. She fulfilled that challenge and she did remind Honourable Senator Saboto that she made the team ahead of him for the football so she is accustomed again to winning on the field of play. I wish to congratulate her and her parents and her bothers because I am sure they feel so elated today to see a family member sitting in this chamber as an Honourable Member.For a lot of young people who are aspiring for this office in everything there is a hierarchy. Honourable Saboto Caesar came in as a Senator, Parliamentary Secretary, then Minister of State and now a Minister, so there is one, two, three and she is a Parliamentary Secretary appointed and I wish her all the best and for Saboto Caesar the young man is quite likable, very humble, he is very much aware of his charm, but he has discovered that the women in Cabinet are not bowled over by his charm, the Honourable Attorney General who does that scolding finger and the Honourable Minister of Education who you cannot but mistake the trademark of her profession and he looks across and he says, but Minister you have more years in the profession than I have been alive and I tell him I feel so honoured when I hear that. You know, so honoured. When I see these..., this is the future of the Caribbean we are looking at. All these plans that we make Mr. Speaker, for the OECS Assembly of Parliamentarians, these are the people we want to see there, they have the scholarship to take us there [applause].I also wish to congratulate my good friend Roosevelt Skerritt who is the Prime Minister of Dominica. I had the privilege to address the convention of the Dominica Labour Party under his leadership and it is a remarkable thing to see how well and how well loved he is by his party membership. They embrace him like he is the son of every man and woman, he is the brother of every boy and girl in Dominica of the Labour Party that is the way, the feeling you get when you walk into their councils of the Labour Party in Dominica and I had the good luck to work with Baniss Roberts who was a member of Parliament and made a member of his Cabinet when Honourable of Education and myself did work on mentoring female Parliamentarians. The others were the young lady who is the Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Lucia and Dr. Jockey Quinn of Antigua. And we were very pleased that the young people that we had the opportunity to mentor they are showing their mettle. Dr. Quinn more votes at the last election than did her Prime Minister. It is quite an honour for us the ladies.And finally, Mr. Speaker, to say that when you look at this side of the House you see two elected female MP’s and two nominated female MP’s. We are indeed who we say we are, we reflect the hope of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines [applause] and the Unity Labour Party Administration made a pledge to ensure that who sits in the House reflects the society. The population is about 50/50 so I think the Prime Minister may be in for a shock, he may get 50% women here at the next election. All these words will be recorded in the Hansard, be warned and as I close, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate again the National Nine Mornings Committee for a wonderful Nine Mornings Festival. We are waiting16to see the stay over visitors and even the short stays from Barbados and St. Lucia that came in and enjoy the festival.We tried to do a little survey with people coming by and say they are from Jamaica, Barbados, wherever to see them enjoying our unique Vincentian tradition and arising out of that this year Cabinet agreed with my submission to issue a special series of stamps depicting the unique Vincentian tradition. To honour Mr. Kenneth Ash and his lighted home, the gentleman from Sion Hill pan around the neck, Carlton C.P Hall and the Bowman’s and the communities of Layou, Park Hill, Sion Hill and Rose Hall for the bum drum and the paranging serenaders and the Christmas Angels, Christmas Angels is depiction done by designer Julian “Peling” Pollard. We must honour our own citizens and we do so with a special stamp issue. Congratulations to everyone and good luck to the young Parliamentarians. I expect a great deal from you and I will be watching you, thank you.HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I wish to congratulate Senator Fife, welcome to this Honourable House and also Senator Caesar on your promotion and I also wish to congratulate their families because there is nothing like the support and the love that you can get from your family especially in this field.But Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Caribbean Unsung Hero 2010 Mr. John Roach of Mayreau. I believe it was sometime last year we congratulated him on winning the local leg and he is now the 2010 Caribbean Unsung Hero [applause]. Mr. Roach is indeed an outstanding member of the community of Mayreau. He gives of himself selflessly and have worked in a number of areas, Mr. Speaker, whether it be social work, health, education, construction also and at times without charge, without pay. On a number of occasions, when I was stationed in Mayreau at the school where you had health issues, Mr. Roach sometimes even in the night, even on rough seas would take the speed boat and travel over to Union Island with the sick without any sort of compensation. He is also a religious man and has been working also with the church community in Mayreau in order to help improve that area. So Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate Mr. Roach. He is someone who really cares about his community and has been working hard to ensure its betterment. I wish to take this opportunity to wish him all the best in his endeavours. Thank you.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Mr. Speaker, I think it is only appropriate that I should give response to some of the comments that have been made this morning and to offer congratulations to the new Minister of Housing, Informal Human Settlement, Lands and Surveys, Physical Planning and Local Government. Quite a package and as I have said at Government House on his Swearing In, fortunately he is from similar stock, we both come from San Souci and in fact, I toiled on the soil that he toiled on or still toils on years ago.I stand here before you, Mr. Speaker, and in front of these two young Senators, their joint age is just about my age. When you add Senator Fife’s age and Minister Saboto Caesar’s age 29 plus 29 you get 58 of which I am very pleased to be 58. I think my Maths is correct so that I know I do not look at age, but I am 58 [laughter]. I cannot say the same for other Cabinet colleagues or Parliamentary colleagues, not Cabinet anymore.17Mr. Speaker, they both have a mammoth task and particularly so Minister Caesar, Saboto Scofield Caesar and I want to say in this Honourable House that my experience in that field will be available to you my dear good Minister and I will do whatever I can to take you through the rough patches of those Ministries, very trying Ministries.I want to acknowledge the kind compliments paid by the Honourable Prime Minister, my political leader and I want to say that there are some tasks that you do not ever get away from. In St. Vincent once they find that you are a work horse, they work you to the bone and there is never any rest for the wicket [interjection] wicket, wicket, the wicket because I am now coming to the congratulatory remarks paid to me by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition and I want to thank him most sincerely for realizing and accepting that I have been elevated once again to do the job that I did so very well in 2005 [applause] particularly 2005 because I ran against him in 2005 and he says the only place I cannot win is East Kingstown.But I told him before in this Honourable House, Mr. Speaker, and I will repeat it today, Sir Vincent Ian Beache a former Member of this Parliament and a former political leader of the Unity Labour Party said to me on the date of the announcement of the elections. He says why you want to beat the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in East Kingstown. You are way ahead, let us forget about the battle and concentrate in the war. So I backed off immediately, allow him to win in East Kingstown [laughter] because the whole strategy was, lose the battle and win the war and I want to say to you again sir that the same strategy will apply with more refinements. Because in your congratulatory remarks, I detected a slight, no slight, some trepidation as to you mean, they have really freed him up from being a Minister to go and be campaign manager again in 2010 or 2011 whenever it is, you mean that is the man I still have to face up in the field out there?Well unfortunately Sir, I am there and with the full support of my political leader and the executive of my party, I am still here as a Senator in the House of Parliament and I will continue to do the service that I have committed myself to for this country. I thank you very much Mr. Speaker [applause].HONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I would want to associate myself with the remarks of congratulations and welcome to the two Senators entering the House and to wish them all the best in their career.But I stand on a different note, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the New Grounds Lighting Committee for once again winning this year, the Nine Mornings Lighting Competition [applause]. I notice, Mr. Speaker, that they have once again stamp their authority on that activity. There was a time when a certain member of this House used to come here and brag about Park Hill is unbeatable [laughter] and then another one used to come and say, no it is Sion Hill or Rose Bank, but for the last three or so years Mr. Speaker, it has been New Grounds and with the zeal with which the young men are working out there I believe it will be New Grounds, New Grounds, New Grounds, New Grounds.Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate them the hard work put in by Jason and the other young men on the ground and the support that they got from Senator Caesar and others who give them strong support in bringing that activity off. They have done well; a lot of people came from all over the country and all18over the Caribbean to see what the creativity looks like in putting up those lights at New Grounds. They did well, Mr. Speaker and on behalf of us in this House I want to commend them and may that activity last a long time and may we strengthen the work in all these communities as we every year celebrate not only the birth of Christ, as we bring St. Vincent together as a unit; once again, to them and to the Senators this morning, congratulations and all the best.HONOURABLE GLEN BEACHE: Morning, Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate a special lady from South Windward, depending on who you speak to whether it be, from Peruvian Vale or Yamboo for reaching 100 years of age on the 31st December 2009 [applause]. Mrs. Victoria or Bella Elves Ryan who is originally from New Grounds, it seems as if this is a day for New Grounds, is well loved in South Windward, Mr. Speaker. She is a staunch Methodist for years and years, was married for over 70 years. She is somebody who I treasure from my Constituency Mr. Speaker. When I went away to study in I think was either 1990 or 1991, the only time I came back home was during Summer and every time before I went back to continue my studies in August when I went to see her she would always say, well young man, my lovely young man you know this is the last time you are seeing me, the next time you get back here I would not be here and I always used to tell her, stop talking rubbish please you know, you would be here when I get back and we are now in 2010, Mr. Speaker and she is still here, thank God.I am hoping this is her maiden century and that maybe she can make another one if God so permits it, you know when we look at the elderly, Mr. Speaker and they reach at this age, my grandmother is 98 as a matter of fact, and they reach at this age and you see somebody who is still strong physically and still have all their wits about them you know, it makes you think that they must have done something right and I think when you look at that generation and you look at how they eat and how they behaved and the way they were brought up, it is no wonder that she can reach the age like this. She has six lovely children and all living overseas, there was a church service for her at the end of 2009, but she is truly and dearly a special lady within South Windward and truly loved by all close to her and I want to congratulate her and wish her many, many more birthdays as we continue to visit her and continue to love her in the most cherished way.Mr. Speaker, I will also like to..., I do not think I could sit down without congratulating Senator Fife and Minister Saboto Caesar. When I came in here I was the youngest, I am no longer the youngest, I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I want to congratulate them. I cannot say that I have known Michelle for that long, but in the short time that I have known Senator Fife, I can say, she is a pleasant person to speak to. Truly altogether faithful as a song, let me not say song, but knows the direction she wants to go in and I think that is something that is to be admired especially with the younger generation coming up now that to see somebody at such an age knowing exactly where they want to be and how they want to get there is truly remarkable.Minister Caesar I have known him for quite a while. I think there is not much more I can add on what has already been said but I know he has a very bright political future ahead of him, a bright career ahead of him and I know he would succeed in anything he puts his mind to. So I want to congratulate both of them.19Mr. Speaker, before sitting, I also want to congratulate Raffles Resort in Canouan. In this region where tourism is so important and where there are so many luxury hotels throughout the Caribbean not only English, but Spanish speaking and French speaking Caribbean, it is truly an honour for a property here within St. Vincent and the Grenadines to get the award of best luxury hotel in the Caribbean 2009 from the World Tourism Award [applause]. I want to congratulate them on a job well done. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I rise really to congratulate the Rose Hall Government School in celebration of its 50th Anniversary in existence and it must have been a glorious day 50 years ago in 1960 when the Rose Hall students who use to attend the Troumaca Government School, a time when there was almost 40, 50 students in each class that it was like an emancipation and the school which was actually initially scheduled just to take the first two forms. The parents got together and said all their children had to attend. Notable teachers were those like Annesta Rodney and Robert Providence to name a few, but there were also some notable students like Dr. Daniel Garraway and Mc Carter Robertson the Surveyor and the school has certainly performed well over the years and continues to perform very credibly at the Common Entrance. They will be celebrating a whole year and I certainly want to wish this school every continued success, they and other rules coming out of North Leeward, I will like to congratulate them.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Before we close this part, I will like to welcome and to congratulate..., at least congratulate and welcome the Honourable Michelle Fife to this House. You know since 2001 when I became the Speaker of this House I have grown accustomed and had the good fortune of having as my deputy women and when I got wind that Michelle was going to be in this House I thought well maybe that tradition that custom would have continued, but as I understand and realise, this is about to break, but one not being, I do not like to stand in any way in the way of persons who seem to be progressive and want to move on with their life and therefore, I would humbly submit you know and to the fact that well I would not be having another woman as my Deputy, but I am sure our new Deputy proposed will at least be doing a good job. But Michelle seriously speaking, I want to welcome you to this Honourable House and I trust that as you continue in your career that you would endeavour to do your best and to fulfil your God given duty to God of course and to man and I want to wish you all the best in all your endeavours.I also wish to congratulate the Honourable Saboto Caesar in his continued up rise march. All the best.MINUTESDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, may I crave your indulgence before I move the confirmation of the Minutes. I would like on behalf of my family to express thanks to all those persons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines including Members of this Honourable House and from overseas far and wide who sent messages of concern and support at the moment when my seventeen year old son Storm was involved in a motor cycle accident and was hospitalized. Thank God he was wearing his helmet and the helmet saved him from death and the pole which he hit also savedpage20image2953620him because if he had gone over the bank in all probability he would have broken his neck or his back. We went for him, he is back home now, he would be recuperating for about seven weeks as his friends may want to know and you know he has lost his spleen, he has had to have surgery for that and he has had six breaks on his left hand and two on his right hand and they need seven weeks for full recovery. But he is getting there and he is young and he is strong and he is in good spirits and I want to thank everyone who offered their supports. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that the Minutes of the sitting of this house held on the 23rd October, 2009 be confirmed.The Minutes of the sitting held on 23rd October, 2009, copies of which had been previously circulated were taken as read and confirmed without amendments.ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE SPEAKER HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Nothing, go ahead.STATEMENTS BY MINISTERSDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to speak very briefly on two subjects, Haiti and LIAT, because we have a full debate ahead of us today. Today looks as though it is going to be a long day depending on how many Members would wish to speak today on the Estimates to date.Mr. Speaker, I want to record in this Honourable House our solidarity and our support as a Government and as a people for the Government and people of Haiti. The awesome tragedy which is unfolding in Haiti on our very doorsteps really, because Haiti is a Member country of CARICOM, is something which is most touching and we all have to resolve to do something about it immediately and on an on- going basis. Of course the responsibility for rebuilding their country primarily rests with the Haitian people, but they need our help, they need the help of the world.Mr. Speaker, I do not want to go through some of the details which we are reading about and viewing on television, it is just horrendous. This morning I was reading a summary report with says that it looks [like] you are going to have 200,000 persons dead, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million homeless and the number keeps rising. They have found 70,000 bodies and people are picking up bodies and carrying them at the curbside and hoping that the aid agencies or what semblance of a Government there is would pick them up. People are burning bodies. The stench is awful and everywhere the faces of men and women are strained and anxious. We in CARICOM and in the OECS are doing our part right at this moment yesterday in fact, President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic called a meeting and several leaders from CARICOM were intending including Prime Minister Manning and the Chairman of CARICOM Prime Minister Skerritt.page21image25112 page21image2527221If I may say parenthetically Mr. Speaker, the helicopter which came to pick up to go on his way to Dominica from Trinidad the defence Force Helicopter of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago supposed to have arrived here at 9 o’clock to refuel, I made the arrangements and then it would go to Dominica and come back here at midnight again to refuel to go South. Unfortunately, the helicopter was very late so it got here after 12:30 on its way up and came back on its way down from Dominica at 5:00 a.m. and sadly that was the subject of some discussion on the morning show that I do not know some eagle had landed and brought in all sorts of strange things for the Government and for the ULP, but that is the season in which we have come to.If I may say, Mr. Speaker, CARICOM Leaders sought to go into Haiti first, but they spent two hours circling they could not land because of the congestion at the airport. The Americans are in-charge of the airport at the moment, the American military going in and out because some order has to be put in place. CARICOM itself is seeking to put up a field hospital and there is some coordinating work which is being done from the standpoint of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as I have indicated, we are making food and water available, but the point is this, to get into Haiti the port facilities are currently destroyed and the idea is to use Jamaica’s as a transit point and get them to go over through this Central Bank and the OECS. I took the initiative for us to..., from the OECS to put US$1 million to Haiti and I have spoken to the Governor of the Central Bank and I have spoken to the Director General of the OECS and some of the other Heads, not all of them and just this morning I spoke again to the Governor who called me to finalise the arithmetic for each country within the OECS and I agreed with him on the arithmetic. St. Vincent’s would be about EC$385,000. I want to commend all those persons who have been having radio-a-thons, telethons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the rest of the Caribbean and all the various groups.Minister Daniel told me this morning that WIBDECO is making available 5 empty containers, 40 foot containers in the Windwards to put stuff for transhipment. I have read somewhere that on the Reighter Scale a 7.3 amounts to the release of energy of 400,000 tons of TnT, it is an amazing physical event. But what happens there can happen anywhere as you hear the seismologist saying. We have to be prepared and we have to build our houses stronger, we have to obey the guidelines and they have to be properly implemented, the building guidelines, the building code. Haiti is a country of contrast, immensely talented people, culturally, brilliant intellectuals and novelists and at the same time the tragedy. Arguably the greatest man of African descent and one of the greatest men ever in the Western Hemisphere Toussaint L’Ouverture led the Haitian Revolution and while we do not want to raise all the historical issues at this moment of real sadness and trauma the issue had got to be placed on the agenda about what has been done to Haiti since the founding of the Republic in the early years of the 19th century.A number of persons do not know that after the establishment of the Republic of Haiti and France felt itself stronger again after L’Ouverture, Dessalines Christophe and others had defeated the British, the Spanish, the French and the Republic had been established and France felt itself stronger, France went in and imposed conditions and demanded the payment for the slaves who were freed, they demanded payment for the lands and properties and it was not until the late 1920’s that Haiti finished paying off France. A lot of people do not know this and in fact, they did not finish pay off the debt until 1947,22because even though they finished paying off France at an earlier period, in order to pay off France they took a loan from the United States to pay off France and then they completed the payment in 1947 and we have seen Foreign intervention, we have seen bad Governments supported by foreigners, it is instructive to me that Aristide a popular President who was elected was involuntarily removed and it is not lost on me that he had an application before the French Courts for billions of dollars in reparations and it has not been lost on me either as a lot or two the puppet who succeeded Aristide one month before his departure from office, he unsigned all the instruments regarding the claim of reparations against France.I notice that France is now generously considering giving 55 million pounds sterling in debt relief, pound sterling because I read this on one of the BBC website last this morning. So we have to watch the history of Haiti and what it represents to us. But at this moment, those are some of the questions which we must mull over now and for later work in the rebuilding. But for now we have to do our very best and make contributions for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, very noble people. I am sure I speak on this matter for Members on both sides of the House.Mr. Speaker, if I may just say a few things about LIAT. I attended the quarterly shareholder meeting of the shareholder prime ministers; that is to say of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; under my chairmanship in Barbados on the 16th of January. And the main issues on the agenda were the operational performance, the freight of service and new routes, fleet renewal performance, financial performance for 2009, the Budget issues for 2010, negotiations with the trade unions. But we also invited to that meeting the chairman of Caribbean Airlines, (CAL), Arthur Lok Jack and his team, for us to hold discussions in going forward of a strategic partnership between LIAT and CAL. The regional airline business is really a messy one. We have LIAT, which is a genuinely regional carrier. It operates 1000 flights per week over 22 destinations; it is a very serious operation they are carrying out. Ten of these destinations are to CARICOM countries. Two other CARICOM countries, Haiti and Suriname would like us to go into them, and our current business is 75% Caribbean and 25% connecting tourist business. And of the four other major airlines in the region owned by governments only CAL is “profitable” or breaking even. Air Jamaica, Bahamas Air and Cayman Airways are in financial trouble. And LIAT is also breaking even. Although it is breaking even for different reasons, than Caribbean Airlines is breaking even. Caribbean Airlines is awash with cash from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. They are cash rich.In terms of the issues going forward, Mr. Speaker, the cargo operations which were supposed to commence in late November, early December did not commence, because it was delayed largely by maintenance and late arrival of the... there is a dash-8-100 which is being converted. But the dash-8- 100 which is being converted, but the dash-8-100 is no longer being produced. So they have to get all the various spare parts and everything in place to operate this particular airline. We are hoping that all the technical issues would be solved and it would be up and running in April 2010.As regards the fleet renewal, we are actively considering these matters. There are three sets of aircrafts we can get; either the ATR’S which come from the French/Italian company; a number of refreshed dash- 8-300s because the dash-8-300s are no longer on the production line, but there are some which we can23get refreshed; as well as the new line in the bombardier fleet; the Q-400 which carries 74 passengers; and it is not a jet it is a turbo prop. And then, we have AVIC from The People’s Republic of China. A lot of work is currently being done. One of the issues we would expect which St. Vincent and the Grenadines is concerned about is the suitability of aircraft for the purposes of landing at E.T. Joshua. And that is one of the important things being at the table and being a shareholder in LIAT; because if not shareholders could have made decisions without taking our specific interest to account. And then of course it depends on what happens with CAL. If we have a strategic partnership with CAL and the idea is, is to have one airline with an international division and a regional division. And if there is a regional division, you know, there are certain kinds of decisions which would have to be made in relation to the type of aircraft we are using in the fleet renewal. But before we get to the question of one airline, there are lots of areas of deepening and functional cooperation between LIAT and CAL that we are pursuing.Two thousand and nine was a very challenging year but LIAT performed reasonably well, from a financial standpoint.Revenue and passenger traffic were down by 10%. The average yields declined also by 10% but the lower fuel prices caused an improved financial performance. In 2009, there was a net profit of EC $2.7 million; we did not have any extraordinary costs in 2009. In 2008, we had a net loss of $2.8 million although we had an operating gain of $11.1 million in 2008; but the actual net loss in 2008 was $2.8 million. We are forecasting to break even in 2010. Two thousand and ten it is the industry forecast is that the airline business would lose worldwide US $5.6 billion. We are seeing the fuel prices rising; at the moment it is $86 a barrel but we are Budgeting conservatively for sic $92 a barrel for this year. And this Budget forecast does not assume any increase in salaries and wages, although you are likely to have salaries and wages this year. And the issue with the pilots’ union, that is currently before arbitration. Some of the issues for LIAT’s success in 2009 which we have to work on, we have to hire some additional engineering staff. We have to implement fully the freight of service. We have to manage better the maintenance cost, and reserve claims. We have to improve on time performance, which has been up and down. We have to implement the Trinidad base in accordance with the international trend to reduce travel agency commissions’ rates; and have a phased closure of the city ticket offices throughout the LIAT countries which would save about EC $3 million. And we have to tackle seriously the matter of credit card fraud by implementing a Euro commerce system to make sure that these matters are arrested.I gave that brief summary on LIAT to indicate that clearly the leadership position which we have assumed in LIAT keeps this most important carrier in the air and making our region function properly. I know there are complaints. There are challenges, enormous challenges and 2008 and then into 2009 and as I say we were fortunate about the fuel cost coming down. And in so far as the strategic partnership is concerned one can understand naturally and I most interested in this, to see if we can secure this ahead of the completion of our international airport at Argyle by June 2012. Because when a lot of people speak about these things, they do not see the interconnections between a series of initiatives and it is wise leadership which has to put these things together and look ahead. The reason why we have kept our heads above water in many, many things over the last 16 months is because we are looking ahead and being creative. That is the same thing we are doing with the airline business. The significance of24LIAT is such that I think that it is, ... every time that the shareholders meet that it is my duty, my obligation to report to the nation. Thank you, very, much.PETITIONS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs.HONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I wish to present two petitions to the House this morning. The first is from the Trustees of the Community Baptist Church at Campden Park, they are seeking to be incorporated as a body. The petition is signed here by James Jackson of Arnos Vale, Pastor and Trustee, Alford Collis of Campden Park, he is trustee, Tambour Clarke, Shan Bowens, Theron Providence, also of Campden Park.The second is from the Full in the Spirit Pentecostal Church which is situated at Ottley Hall again they are seeking to be incorporated as a body. Signed by Terron James as Pastor, Hazelene Stapleton, Sandra James, Vasty Stapleton, Delores Chandler, Brian Gordon, Bernard Bublin and Osmond Cameron, also trustees to the Organisation. I wish to present them this morning, Mr. Speaker, to the House for incorporation, body corporate.SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESIN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH TO THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SEEKING INCORPORATION AS A BODY CORPORATE.TO:- THE SPEAKER AND HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESpage25image12688 page25image12848 page25image13008 page25image13168THE HUMBLE PETITION OF:-JAMES JACKSON ARNOS VALE ALFORD COLLIS CAMPDEN PARK TAMBOUR CLARKE CAMPDEN PARK SHAN BOWENS CAMPDEN PARK THERON PROVIDENCE CAMPDEN PARKSHOWETH THAT:-PASTOR/TRUSTEE BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR/TRUSTEETREASURER/ TRUSTEE OFFICER/TRUSTEEOFFICER/TRUSTEEpage25image168561. Your Petitioners are LEADERS of a church called “COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH” Campden Park in the State of Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines, (hereinafter referred to as “the Church”).25 2. In 1990 a Church called the “COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH” was started at Campden Park in the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 3. The said Church continues as established in Campden Park in the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 4. It is the intention of the Church to exist for spiritual edification of its congregants according to the principles of the Holy Bible, and to seek the evangelism of all peoples according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 5. There existing legislation in the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for upholding religion and perpetuating the rights and interests of like bodies, it is the desire of the CHURCH that a private bill, the objects and reasons for which are provided for the incorporation of the said COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH as a corporate aggregate and to effect the above purposes, should be introduced in the House of Assembly. AND YOUR PETITIONERS IN DUTY BOUND WILL EVER PRAYSigned: JAMES JACKSON ALFORD COLLISTAMBOUR CLARKE SHAN BOWENS THERON PROVIDENCEDated at Campden park this tenth day of May in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Nine. James Jackson/Pastor Endorsed as being in accordance with the rules with respect to petitions:Signed: Nicole Herbert Clerk, House of Assembly SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESSAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESIN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE FULL IN THE SPIRIT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH TO THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SEEKING INCORPORATION AS A BODY CORPORATE.TO:- THE SPEAKER AND HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESTHE HUMBLE PETITION OF:-page26image16152 page26image16312 page26image1647226TERRON JAMES HAZELENE STAPLETON SANDRA JAMES VASTY STAPLETON DELORES CHANDLER BRIAN GORDON BERNARD DUBLIN OSMOND CAMERONSHOWETH THAT:-LARGO HEIGHT/PASTOR LARGO HEIGHT/TRUSTEE/SECRETARY LARGO HEIGHT/ TRUSTEELARGO HEIGHT/TRUSTEE OTTLEY HALL/TRUSTEECHAUNCEY/TRUSTEE ROSE PLACE/TRUSTEEARNOS VALE/TRUSTEEpage27image4480 6. Your Petitioners are the members of the Executive Committee of the “FULL IN THE SPIRIT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH” in Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines, (hereinafter referred to as “the Church”). 7. In 2007 a Church called the “FULL IN THE SPIRIT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH” was started at Ottley Hall in the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 8. The said Church has been established at Ottley Hall in the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 9. It is the intention of the Church to serve the entire Vincentian Community. 10. That our Church is active in social as well as religious work. 11.Our Church is dedicated to the growth and survival and strengthening of the Christian community within the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 12. It is essential that the Executive Committee of our Church be created an ecclesiastic corporation under the laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with power to appoint trustees and their successors in office and to own property for the sole use of the FULL IN THE SPIRIT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH. 13. There is existing legislation in the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for upholding religion and perpetuating the rights and interest in like bodies. 14. It is therefore desirable that a private bill, the objects and reasons for which it is to provide for the incorporation of the said “FULL IN THE SPIRIT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH” as a corporate aggregate, and to effect the above purposes should be introduced in the House of Assembly. 27Dated at Kingstown this 4th day of June in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Nine.Signed: TERRON JAMES HAZELENE STAPLETONSANDRA JAMES VASTY STAPLETON DELORES CHANDLER BRIAN GORDON BERNARD DUBLIN OSMOND CAMERONEndorsed as being in accordance with the Rules with regard to petitions. Resubmitted 19th January, 2010.Signed: Nicole Herbert Clerk, House of AssemblyPAPERSDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to lay on the Table of this Honourable House the 2010 Estimates of Saint Vincent and Grenadines which have already been circulated to all Honourable Members. I am obliged.QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 1, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 1 standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Information, Grenadines and Legal Affairs.1. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Information, Grenadines and Legal Affairs:Would the Honourable Prime Minister please indicate the source of funds of the US $1 million deposited in November 2009 at the National Commercial Bank in the Accountant General’s Account.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.page28image1341628DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, in the month of November as in other months several million dollars from several different sources are deposited in the Accountant General’s Account at the National Commercial Bank. It is not a matter which is subject to questions in this House as to which sums of money have been identified and what are their sources. We see that in our estimates and we those things in the reports of all the official arms of the government, including the Director of Audit.Mr. Speaker, I suspect that the Honourable Leader of the Opposition is asking about a million dollars which during the Referendum campaign arose in public discourse as a consequence of an unauthorized disclosure or leak of an alleged deposit. I will not dignify any unauthorized disclosure or leak, the subject which I believe is under criminal investigation in this Honourable House. I can say this however, that this government has never caused to be deposited in its account any money which is tainted. Further to that this is a question relating to money deposited and therefore an allegation which is tied up and surrounded and fraught with mischief. This is not an allegation about money unauthorized withdrawn. We remember under the New Democratic Party administration, $1 million simply left the National Commercial Bank. And I remembered when this issue came to this Honourable House on the 19th of September, 1996 the then Honourable Member for South Windward, Vincent Beache asked the Prime Minister about it and if any lawyers were engaged in this matter involving Adarmis, who they are and the amount of fees and any other circumstances relating to the proceeds of the cheque deposited or cashed by Adarmis and Mr. Mitchell replied:“Mr. Speaker, it is entirely up to the bank to decide on the legal actions it takes to recover outstanding issues.“The Honorable Vincent Beache got up and said:“Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure if the Prime Minister is referring to the question; the question asked if there was a lawyer, non-Vincentian engaged in the affair and the issue about the money.” This is what Sir James said:“I do not get involved in the day to day activities of the bank as Minister of Finance. The bank is taking its own actions and I do not know precisely what they are doing.”There was a supplementary question by the Honourable Vincent Beache, later Sir Vincent.“It is not a matter of the bank alone being involved, this is a matter which the Attorney General of the state is involved and the question that was asked or the information I want to elicit is whether there were any lawyers brought into St. Vincent, non-lawyers, non-Vincentians, to advise the government on this matter. It is plain and simple and it relates to the recovery of this money.”James Mitchell: “Mr. Speaker, the government is not involved; the government is not being advised. It is the bank that is dealing with this matter. I hope the Honourable Member understands.”29Now, Mr. Speaker, this government has done nothing wrong in relation to anything with the National Commercial Bank. And I will not dignify mischief nor unauthorized breaches of confidentially which constitutes criminal offences. Not commenting on any of these matters. Who wish to comment can comment. I am not acknowledging anything about any so-called US $1 million. I would not get involved in this kind of surreptitious attacks. Let them speak on the political platform what they want to speak.Mr. Speaker, I want to say further this government did not have escape from the National Commercial Bank over $46 million between Ottley Hall and Union Island with Dr. Rolla. It is not us who are engaged in the dissipation of $180 million in relation to Ottley Hall. We have no sweetheart mortgages. There is not one member on this Honourable side of the House who has bought one square foot of land in Bequia below the price when they were in a position to get a preferred price. Nobody here on this side got lands in Canouan at 40 cents and 50 cents who are in Parliament or who are associated with parliamentarians. In fact, I have been advised that no one on this side of the House has bought any government lands period, although it is not illegal for any Minister to buy any state land, but if they have to do so they would have to do so with the same transparent way, in which everybody has done it. But this is to say that none has done it. And I have already laid the ground rule at the very beginning, if anyone is to purchase from National Properties or from the state or any other state entity, they will have to inform me as Prime Minister and at the price at which they are buying and the circumstances and to make sure the law of the land is followed. This is a government which operates on a matter of principle and transparency.I want to say further, Mr. Speaker, on this question, that the opposition went up and down the country to ensure that a constitution was not passed which involved giving greater powers to the Leader of the Opposition through an inquisition in the form of the Public Accounts Committee, well what he voted for he gets. I am not going to talk about any issue relating to deposits other than those which are dealt with in the accounts of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to assure this House that nothing, nothing has been done wrong by anyone in this administration. We do not get sweetheart mortgages from the National Commercial Bank and the allegation is not that we took any money out. It is that money was put in. And I am not acknowledging what was put in save and except to say that every single day, monies are put into the National Commercial Bank by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I am obliged.SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary question.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, am I understanding the Prime Minister saying that he not answering any questions in relation to the source of funds, and to ask him to clarify whether his reference to criminal investigation related to someone who is accused of releasing information or whether it is related to the issue of the US $1 million?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I have given my answer full and that is my answer.30HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 2 Honourable Leader of the Opposition.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 2 standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Information, Grenadines and Legal Affairs.2. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Information, Grenadines and Legal Affairs:Would the Honourable Prime Minister please state how many persons have had their electricity disconnected for lack of payment as at November 2009.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, in the month of November 2009, it turns out that there were 29 more persons who got connected than were disconnected. There were net disconnections of 29. I know that in the month of November, I have been advised on the road that a possible candidate, in fact, he has been named by the New Democratic Party, his electricity cut off, or some business using gas was cut off, but that does not mean that because somebody from the NDP gets cut off that the whole country getting cut off with their electricity. No, I am not getting involved into the person’s name. I am just saying what triggers this, at first I thought maybe it was somebody who went up by the Leader of the Opposition from South Leeward and say my electricity got cut off and met somebody from Belair trying to ‘zook’ some money from the Leader of the Opposition, to say well his own too, and they might have passed by me trying to ‘zook’ from me too; they pretend by me that they are red like Labour and up by you they are the other colour, and trying to ‘zook’ you. I mean the fact of the matter is this.In the year ending 1999, 1,529 persons had their electricity disconnected, 1,529 under the NDP. And at that time you had 28,600 people connected. As of December this year gone, you had 39,500 people connected with electricity which shows the remarkable progress in the 10 years for the connection, 11,000 more connections than before. Despite all their talk about nobody doing business, nobody having houses. [Interjection] You ask me about November, net connections over disconnections, 29; there are fewer persons. In fact in that month were the least number of persons who were disconnected. Of course, every month from the time VINLEC was in operation, Senator Leacock knows, he used to work there, there are some people who do not pay their bills and they get disconnected. Some people try to steal electricity, which is a criminal offence and they get disconnected for that. I am not saying that anybody, let me hasten to add who is going to be a candidate stealing electricity. I heard somebody laughing, that is not what I am saying, Senator Cummings when he ran the Water Authority used to fine people up there as though he was a judge, for an illegal water connection. People do that, and people get disconnected for all sorts of reasons. But you ask me for November and I answered you for November.SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION31HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary question.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I should read the question again, I asked what was the situation with disconnection as at the end of November, not for November, as at.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: As at November 2009 beginning at which point? From the time VINLEC started? Ask your question properly, from since VINLEC started, as at November 2009, you will ask me, if you want to ask the question about how many persons were disconnected in the year 2009 at November 2009. Then I would answer you, but you did not say that. You see all you have so much woolly thinking over there; that is how all of you want to run government. You see from now on, you ask me questions I am not going out of it. You ask me something which does not make any sense, and I answer you. I am just telling you about the confusion all you have over there.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 3 Honourable Leader of the Opposition. HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 3 standing in myname of the Honourable Minister of Education.3. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), to ask the Honourable Minister of Education:Would the Honourable Minister please indicate the level of arrears owed by the Government to the University of the West Indies as at December 31st 2009.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, please permit me to remind the Honourable Member that it is the Ministry of Finance that deals with the finances to the University of the West Indies, so I suppose he may redirect his question to the Minister of Finance. I am obliged.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, rather than the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in his cross-talk abuse the Minister about she is playing the fool. Mr. Speaker, all he has to do, he has the estimates in front of him, if he does not have last year’s estimates he has this year’s and it is the same from when he was there, under Minister of Finance, grants and contributions, please I ask him to look at it. I want him to look at the page in this year’s estimates, page 706, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Development, and he will see under the rubric regional and you go down, University of the West Indies $6.5 million. I am the Minister of Finance. It is in the estimates. The accounting officer is the Director General of Finance and Planning. You have been in this business so long and you do not know these elementary things. And you are abusing the Minister. You are abusing the Minister. You asked the question. The Standing Orders require you to ask the question to the Minister who has ministerial responsibility and it is here. And you said you have been Director General of Finance and Minister of Finance; you were sleeping on the job, you do not know these elementary things.32HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, very much. Let me just put the record straight, because this does not need any cross-talk. According to the Rules, the question must be directed to the person who has the responsibility for the particular matter, and not to any other person. Whether the Minister of Education should know, and I believe she does. But the fact that the question has not been properly directed has met with that response from the Minister of Education and we need to understand that. I am not saying, and I will not agree that the Minister is playing the fool, but the Minister is familiar it seems with the Rules, the Standing Orders and therefore would understand that this question is not a question to be answered by her but rather by the Minister of Finance and she so correctly answered. And I believe, honestly I believe Honourable Member I am not going to be advised by anybody on this issue, but I really feel in the light of decency and respect that that statement should really be withdrawn because it is very improper. And Honorable Leader of the Opposition I would humbly submit that you withdraw that kind of remark you made to the Honourable Minister of Education because all she was doing is just indicating properly where the question should be asked. And I really think that you should do that. And I say that, I am not really imposing anything on you, but I said in matter of decency and respect, I think you should do that.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I am not known to breach the Rules of this House. Okay. And I apologize for making that comment.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: But I am talking of the fact, Mr. Speaker, that we are here to glean information. We ask questions to glean information, because all of us are supposed to be interested in the state of affairs of this country.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, very much that is quite correct. Honourable Prime Minister are you...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to answer the question even though I could have said what he used to say, or Sir James or anybody in the old NDP administration; “ask the question properly to the right person.” But I will answer it.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Answer it.DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, our record shows that at December the 31st 2009 an amount of $5.31 million was due to the University of the West Indies by Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As at March 2001 when we took office, the comparative figure was $11.1 million. I want to say further, Mr. Speaker, that when the university was contacted it said the submission which they sent of $11.1 million was in error because they had over billed and that it was $9.1 million. I want to say further, that you now have five times more students at the University of the West Indies than in those days. I want to say further, that the annual contribution then was just over $2 million. If he looks at the estimates, he will see that the annual contribution now to the University of the West Indies is $6.5 million and what we will do, we will pay during this year for this year so that when our new number comes for us, before the next set of students go in September that we clear it off. What33they were talking about is that they had arrears and the university said to me, they wrote, they said that we are not going to accept your students for September 2001 and Mr. Speaker, I made arrangements with the university, I promptly paid $2 million and reduced the arrears and told them that I will stay current while paying off what I called the ‘Eustace debt’ to the university.Mr. Speaker, when I paid it, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition went to the country and said, instead of paying the university he should have taken the $2 million and give people roadwork. In other words, he preferred the children of the working people to go on road to work than to go University of the West Indies; that is a fundamental different between the both governments. And that is the answer.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 4 from the Honourable Member of the Northern Grenadines.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 4 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.4.Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines), to ask the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works:In light of the serious concerns recently raised about road safety throughout the country and given the obvious danger to the public posed by the damaged or unfinished segments of the Friendship main and further, given that the Minister indicted in this Honourable House that the said road would be repaired by the end of the second quarter 2009 and no work has been done will the Minister:a. Give the assurance that this dangerous section of damaged and unfinished road will be repaired urgently before someone is seriously injured as a result of it; andb. State categorically and emphatically when the road will be repaired.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Minister of Transport and WorksHONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, construction works along Friendship main road in the vicinity of Blue Tropic Hotel commenced on the 11th of May, 2009. These works included (1) Rehabilitation of 3000 feet by 11 feet of concrete pavement and the road base has been installed, Mr. Speaker, (2) Construction of 247 feet of box drain and 3. Demolition and reconstruction of 133 feet by 6 feet masonry block retaining wall and these works are completed. The estimated project cost was $128,803.20.Mr. Speaker due to a lack of cement at various points during the year only 40% of the works were assessed to be completed by the contractor. The outstanding works on the project are (1) Cast concrete of 300 feet by 11 feet reinforced concrete roadway; (2) Construct 247 feet by 2 feet box drain. And these works which will commence in the second quarter 2010 will be implemented by BRAGSA.SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION34HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary? DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Honourable Member.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, do I understand the Minister to say that work is going to start again in the second quarter, that the road is going to be left unfinished for that time?HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: These works will commence in the second quarter of 2010, and will be complemented by BRAGSA.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 5 from the Honourable Member of the Northern Grenadines.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 5 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Tourism.5.Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines), to ask the Honourable Minister of Tourism:Regarding the proposed private sector development of villas and hotel at Adam’s Bay in Bequia which the Minister and other members of the government have spoken about publicly, and which project appears to have come to a halt;Will the Minister please state whether the investors are proceeding with the project and, and in general, indicate the status of this potentially important tourism project.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Minister for Tourism.HONOURABLE GLEN BEACHE: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just to indicate first of all this question is also misdirected. I will answer it. But this question really should be posed to the Minister of Finance under which INVEST SVG falls under, and they are responsible for tourism investment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I will answer, Mr. Speaker.Mr. Speaker, this question is one which I really think the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines could have simply called INVEST SVG for a simple answer for this. The name of the developer is FM DEVELOPMENT. Mr. Speaker, they are hoping to start in February of this year.And Mr. Speaker, during our Budget debates I know that the Honourable Member loves to compare St. Vincent and the Grenadines to many other Caribbean countries in terms of our stats and so on, and just to say that during this time in which we know of the economic down turn internationally, in countries like St. Lucia they have had five hotel developments stopped. In Barbados they have had two, and all around the Caribbean they have been many. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Speaker, we are fortunate that in this time Raffles has laid off no one; Mustique has laid off no one; some of the other35hotels within St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Speaker, because of what we have done to help them out in terms of subsidies for electricity and so on, they have either not laid off nobody or gone on a shift system and they have thanked the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for their assistance in which they have been giving. Mr. Speaker, but to also say that this is not the only project that has been postponed to a certain extent If you remember, Mr. Speaker, Isle de Quatre, which is owned by the Mitchell family was postponed. As a matter of fact, we had a bill here named after that. But we know that that development has been put on halt because of what is going on internationally. This is no secret to anybody, and they have been searching for investment and have yet to find it.Now, I am not saying that Mr. Mitchell, former Prime Minister Mitchell has not been doing a good job in trying to get investors. But they have found hardship in getting this, but FM DEVELOPMENT said they would start in February. At present, Mr. Speaker, the first phase will cost approximately US $15 million. Up to this point they are not sure how many people would be employed during that time and they will get back to us, Mr. Speaker. I know the initial cost of this development was $60 million but they will get back to us in terms of what changes they are making in terms of the development of this project to let us know. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 6.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 6 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Urban Development, Culture, Labour and Electoral matters.6.Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines), to ask the Honourable Minister of Urban Development, Culture, Labour and Electoral matters: a. Has the Minister undertaken a review of the conduct of the November 25th 2009 referendum on constitutional change and, in general, is the Minister satisfied with the manner in which the referendum was conducted; and b. How much money did the referendum cost the government, including funds spent by this Administration in campaigning for the proposed new constitution. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Electoral matters.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, a review of the conduct of the referendum was undertaken by the Supervisor of Elections with the returning officers, the presiding officers and poll clerks. The Supervisor of Elections received reports from all the officers and they were discussed at their meetings and she has submitted to me in our meetings, we had our discussions and she has indicated to me that she was satisfied and from reports that I have received, we are satisfied with the conduct of it. I have so far received, Mr. Speaker, and it will come in a global fashion. The report from the OAS which was tabled on the 13th of this month, at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of the American States, and this is what they had to say.36The OAS Observer Mission consisted of 14 observers from 11 different countries, observers were deployed to all parts of St. Vincent and the outlying islands of the Grenadines, observing each of the 225 polling stations in the 15 constituencies of the country, and often returning more than once to a polling station to observe the progress of events throughout the day. They witnessed first-hand the preparations for the referendum, the voting, the counting of the ballots and the transmission of results. It continues, “the environment in which citizens voted was orderly and peaceful. There were no reported instances of violence or intimidation of voters at polling sites or any other serious irregularities. Police were present in all the polling sites and effectively maintained security. There were relatively few areas in which the mission for the referendum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could have been improved. The mission would like to present the following preliminary recommendations; as constitutional reform is being debated throughout the Caribbean. The lessons learnt in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could be applicable to other countries in the region.” Then they spoke about campaign financing as an important challenge in the Caribbean. In St. Vincent electoral authorities, government officials and political party leaders, all acknowledged the voters’ list contained more names than it should. It contains more than 98,000 while the estimated population number about 116,000.It is important to mention however, that the list includes not only persons eligible to vote currently living in the country but all persons eligible to be registered to vote and receive an ID card. By law these names must remain on the voters’ list for up to five years. Before the referendum the Electoral Office had initiated a registration drive that provided for new voter registration cards including enhanced security features, and upon the arrival of the mission the Electoral Office had done so many cards. They are saying that they would encourage the electoral office to redouble its efforts to encourage citizens to apply for and collect the new registration cards before the next elections. Likewise political parties must remain diligent in checking the voters’ list and utilize the claims and objections period to identify and correct anomalies. Polling workers were generally well trained. The vote proceeded smoothly, however greater uniformity and standardization of procedures across polling sites would be desirable. They noticed some variation in instructing voters, but this variation in the view of the mission materially did not affect the outcome of any polling site but the Electoral authority should seek greater consistency in the training. They made recommendations on some polling stations in cramped areas, and may have had difficult access. They recognized the work of the Supervisor of Elections, which I too, would like to endorse of Mrs. Sylvia Findlay-Scrub and the Electoral Office staff which ran the referendum effectively, and they made some observations about the ministerial portfolio that our experience served as an important reference for missions elsewhere.They made mention of the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism and I have in my possession also a copy of their report which was given to me two days ago and these will be laid in the Honourable House so that all members will have copies of it. And they too in their recommendations have said the following about their impression.General conclusion of the monitors was that the referendum process was free and fair. The new ballot boxes were a welcomed innovation in enhancing the entire process because the monitors were well trained, they were able to fulfil their obligations as monitors in a very effective manner. No system is perfect and based on our observations, we wish to make the following recommendations which we think37can further enhance and promote free and fair elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 1. That the security of ballot boxes during and after the voting needs to be re-examined so that persons can understand fully the tamper proof seals. The issue of whether or not the monitors are required to take the oath of secrecy which I am discussing with the Supervisor of Elections now, in my view, I think so. That the monitors be allowed to stay in the polling stations for longer than 15 minutes as is given to candidates. Continuing efforts should be made to make the polling stations more user-friendly and allow for orderly queues. Voter education should be continued in order to maintain free and fair elections and the Supervisor of Elections should continue her efforts to select qualified electoral officers and provide them with training to further enhance and the political parties should be reminded of the need to remove posters and banners within close proximity of polling stations. And their conclusion was that this was free and fair.We have also some recommendations which the Electoral Office will be making to YEN MCM, in relation to its membership, because I see that it has a little overloading.Mr. Speaker, in order to, as he asked about the review and what we have done and these are the reports from objectives observers from outside and in our midst. There are a number of matters which we in the electoral ministry have looked at. They were requests to see the ballot paper before it went to print. Well that was a novel suggestion, which had to be rightfully denied, since I am unaware in any elections ever held in this country that any party saw the ballot paper before it went to print. It is unheard of, so we will remain with the best practice and those matters would remain with the Supervisor of Elections, which is a constitutional office, and not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.In side agents, now in our discussions, I was advised that the ‘Vote No’ campaign sought to have three inside agents. That was novel so I asked presiding officers who served in 1972, 1974, and 1979 and the practice has been one for each party. Which I understand subsisted in 1989, 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2005, and the Supervisor of Elections and I agreed with her resistance to this innovation. I understand that there was so scaremongering, related to ballot box; and I was very concerned because the individual who was identified as speaking about this ballot box relation problem sent an email to the Supervisor of Elections apologizing for having apparently created some mischief. These ballot boxes are international standard issue; we see them every time we turn on the TV, being used in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world. So I think that the Supervisor of Elections and the Electoral Department ought to be given credit for being forward looking in their actions, in modernizing the electoral system.In relation to the legal challenges, Mr. Speaker, you know, we cannot speak about that here, and it led to the delay in the printing of the ballot paper but the judicial system dealt with that issue and I have every confidence in the judicial system. I understand that other matters are pending upon which I do not have the authority in this Chamber to comment upon at this stage. Reports were received that agents of the ‘Vote No’ campaign sought to force inspection of the ballot boxes and ballot paper on the morning of the referendum. I can find no legal or other authority upon which this request could be based. It is totally in my view unwarranted. There were concerns expressed to me that certain individuals took actions which were irregular sometimes arrogant and bombastic and impertinent. I would not comment38on the legality of those issues since I believe reports have been submitted to the Honourable Attorney General for her deliberation and consideration. There was an allegation that a person sought to mark a ballot box. I rest my case. I was also informed that persons went to certain stations and roughed up presiding officers, telling them and I quote: “know yo darm place.” “shut up, stay out of this, ah not speaking to you”.Mr. Speaker, the Supervisor of Elections held her training sections and she was concerned; I am so advised it is a Member of the House. She was concerned and the presiding officers among their reports were concerned that individuals would take this sort of step. Let me be clear, Mr. Speaker, with respect, I cannot understand what could make any individual, especially if you are in the House or seeking to be in this Honourable House, act with such disrespect and dishonour of the process of our electoral machinery. I cannot figure it out. Being an elected member here is not the staircase to heaven. St. Peter ain’t saying because we are in here we are going up there.Mr. Speaker, I was not only disappointed, I was really disappointed because there was some issues that the Supervisor discussed with me and we be having a fewer more meetings as she concludes her report that there were issues of malice; we cannot do that. Furthermore, it is a matter which I intend to report to the Minister of National Security, Electoral Office staff were put under surveillance by persons other than the security forces of this country. I will put it in simpler language. Electoral staff were being watched, in even simpler language, ‘macko’ when they come out from the Electoral Office with materials and the Supervisor of Elections is concerned. People were being followed. Well if that is the action or instructions of any political party, let me make it clear in this Honourable House as long as I have responsibility for the Electoral Office, I will ensure that our security forces become a little more visible in the protection they would provide to the Electoral Office. And anyone other than a stray dog in Kingstown seen outside the Electoral Office or within the vicinity of the Electoral Office so much to make the staff feel unsafe, insecure, frightened, they will be dealt with if they feel threatened. We have a nice old criminal law, you know, I love it.Finally, I want to say that after from those instances that we too were quite pleased at the CARICOM Observation Mission and OECS Mission they have not yet submit their report, they called up to this morning, but the indications are that the reports would be equally favourable as the OAS report and that of the Supervisor of Elections.In relation to question (b) unfortunately I am not in a position to give any information in regards to cost of the referendum, since my ministry does not handle finances whatsoever.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 7. Honourable Member for the Southern Grenadines.HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 7 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.7. Honourable Terrance Ollivierre (Southern Grenadines), to ask the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works:39Some areas of the main road from Clifton to Ashton, Union Island is in state of disrepair; Could the Honourable Minister please state when would this situation be solved.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, several areas along the main road from Clifton to Ashton in Union Island have been identified for repair in 2010. Estimates have been completed by BRAGSA staff for the most critical areas and these works have been given high priority for the year. It is anticipated that work will commence in the first quarter of 2010.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 8 Honourable Member for the Southern Grenadines. HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 8 standing inmy name of the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.8. Honourable Terrance Ollivierre (Southern Grenadines), to ask the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works:Construction of the Union Island Police Station was slated to commence during the later quarter of 2009; Would the Honourable Minister please state: a. When would construction work on this new facility commence; b. Indicate the location of the project; c. Provide the estimated cost of the said project; and d. The name of the construction firm contracted to build the police station. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, firstly I must say that under my ministry we did not see anything for the Union Island to be constructed in that quarter that the representative mentioned. But under the ULP administration, Mr. Speaker, accommodation for police officers have been remarkably enhanced; with the construction of a number of modern police stations and the upgrading of existing station. I would like to list a few of the police stations completed under this administration. Biabou Police Station constructed in 2005 at a cost of EC $2.1 million, they said that is a five star hotel, I do not know. Canouan Police Station completed in 2006 at a cost of EC $1.7 million. Questelles Police Station completed in 2009 at a cost of EC $1.8 million; and Mr. Speaker, for persons on maybe the Windward side, who have not gone down to Questelles and have just seen the Biabou Police Station it is a beautiful police station and as was stated we are building beautiful accommodation for all of our police officers because when you are comfortable you do your work better.40Rehabilitative works were undertaken on the following police stations, six police stations to be exact, Chateaubelair at EC $143,467.00; Barrouallie EC $176,854.00; Layou, $193,773.00; Stubbs, $179,510.00; Mesopotamia, $225,296.00; and Kingstown where the central section housing the fire service $264,630.00; that gives you a total of $1,183,530.00. Sandy Bay Police Station rehabilitated in 2007 in the amount of EC $277,907.90; and furnishing cost $86,000.00 for that station. Rose Hall Police Station $110,000.00. Calliaqua Police Station, restoration work was undertaken in 2007 amounting to EC $30,000.00. A project is being developed, Mr. Speaker, by the Ministry of Transport and Works for the development of a dual complex for use by the Police and Coast Guard in Calliaqua. Mr. Speaker, the design is completed and costing is awaited. And I have a copy of the design so when we do the debate next week, you know, we will talk more about that. Projects on-going: Georgetown Police Station for a contract sum $3.6 million to be completed by the latter half of 2010. To commence in 2010, Spring Village Police Station, designs have been completed and it is estimated to cost $3.8 million. Three motorable police stations costing $428,000.00 is due during the first quarter of 2010, shipping date awaited.The Union Island Police Station; (a) construction works will commence once the Budgetary process is completed. The release of funds realized and the completion of the tender procedure; (b) The project would be located at Clifton Hill next to the hospital. (c) The 2009 estimated cost for the 9,514 square feet building is EC $6,221,554.47. (d) As indicated in (a) the tender procedure will determine the construction firm that is most suited to build the police station in Union Island. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 9 Honourable Member for the Southern Grenadines. HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 9 standing inmy name of the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.9. Honourable Terrance Ollivierre (Southern Grenadines), to ask the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment:There is evidently a shortage of portable water in the Grenadines especially Union Island and Mayreau.Could the Honourable Minister please indicate what measures if any have been put in place to ensure sufficient water supply to the residents of the Grenadines during the dry season.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members. Mr. Speaker, there have been some debate this morning about the questions how they are directed and how they are asked, if I were to respond to this question as asked, I would have a challenge in responding, and I did not know if it were a typo or what but, I do not know the evidence of shortage of portable water, because I41do not know that that concept is. I suspect the Honourable Member may mean potable water, which is usable, fresh water. As far as I am aware and most of us are aware there is a historical shortage of potable water in the Southern Grenadines, and having lived there the Honourable Member would know the residents there have to take special measures in construction of their homes. Nevertheless, and I want to say that this is important, Mr. Speaker, regarding how questions are asked, because there was an emphasis placed in maintaining Her Majesty the Queen as the Head of State of this country, and I think out of respect for Her Majesty we should learn to use her language properly; the Queen’s language. For those of us who wanted certain changes we probably might be excused.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, in response to the question nevertheless, we know that there is a drought. We know that part of the justification of the purchase of the 15,000-gallon water tender, includes the ability to supply water to the Grenadine islands via ships during the dry season.Now, most of us who have been following the news would note that this year has been an unusual year in terms of water during November and December; by just last week you would have noticed in Searchlight Newspaper and you would have heard discussed some incidents about the water being taken around the island. I am pleased to say that the CWSA has made a very good decision, for the first time ever we have invested over $300,000.00 in a water truck, a 15,000-gallon water truck. And Mr. Speaker, you know it is interesting, I have been advised that that was a measure that was suggested before but not taken up under different leadership at the CWSA, and part of the functions of that if deemed necessary, if it really reaches to the point will be to take water from the mainland to the Southern Grenadines.The CWSA will also continue to make water available to all ships travelling to the Grenadines for the customary sale and distribution on these islands. The ability of the truck to visit individual buildings will expedite the delivery of this scarce resource during these critical times, because of the high capital and operational cost, the use of the truck will be however limited to emergency situations including very severe shortages.Mr. Speaker, I would like to add that there are some other questions that would be coming that would be similar in nature and I would like to add that all of us have been educated as to how to conserve water and not only in the Grenadines but also on mainland, we need to take heed that this is the dry season, we need to restrict the use of water, we need to minimize the washing of vehicles with hoses, you should do so with buckets, if you are going to do that. Some simple things, like when you are brushing your teeth, turn off the faucet while you are doing that. When you are showering turn off the faucet, while you soap up. They may sound simple, but they help you conserve thousands of gallons of water. If you have a leak try promptly to resolve the leak, call in a plumber, if you cannot do it yourself and I think, apart from that we all should pray for rain and it was interesting when the question came we had two significant showers and I believe that the good Lord will listen to us who pray despite some of us may... to all of us, because despite some of us may even disturb his activities at times. But I think, the good Lord will listen to us and has been listening to us. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No 10 from the Honourable Opposition Senator.42HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 10 standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Legal and Grenadines Affairs.10. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Legal and Grenadines Affairs: a. Would the Honourable Prime Minister please indicate, since the last credit rating of the country was presented has another been decided; and b. If so, what is the current rating. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the answer is very simple. Nocredit rating has been carried out or decided since the last one, the reason being it is the last one. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 11. Honourable Senator Leacock.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 11 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade.11. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade: a. How many Vincentians are currently serving in the Armed Forces in the United Kingdom; and b. What is the level of government involvement if any in this recruitment exercise. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, the British Army made its first recruitment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2000. This government in coming to office sought to extend the recruitment to other branches of the armed services besides the army though the hard work of His Excellence the High Commissioner Cenio Lewis. Subsequent to that first recruitment branches of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Navy, the Marines and the Army have sent recruitment teams to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on several occasions, the last was 2008. On all these recruitments exercises, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has part-sponsored the operations by paying for the rental of halls, and providing lunches and snacks. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines High Commission in London provides assistance to Vincentians in the Armed Forces by meeting with them and discussing various welfare issues and any concerns which they may have. Also welcome packs are distributed to the recruits by the High Commission when the recruits arrive in the United Kingdom.43Other assistance includes general immigration advice, updates on immigration changes in the United Kingdom and also acquisition of British citizenship for them and their families. Just over 800 nationals have been recruited to serve in the British Armed Forces. Of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is ranked 2nd to Ghana in numbers of Commonwealth citizens serving in the British Armed Forces.I will like to commend the resourcefulness and hard work of our High Commissioner and his staff for the outstanding job that they have been doing, in their negotiating with the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom, and senior officers of the armed services in the United Kingdom. He has developed excellent relationships with them which has and will redound to the favour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade is the focal point for the British Armed Forces recruitment programme. The liaison person is Senior Foreign Service Officer Mr. Earl Painter. The British Armed Forces have given the assurance that St. Vincent and the Grenadines remain a potential future recruitment partner; they have not closed the door on future visits. Due to the world recession, the British Armed Forces did not come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009 for recruitment exercise. However, Vincentians interested in enlisting are invited to the United Kingdom to do the necessary exams. May I add also that a Vincentian national enlisted in the National Army was injured in Afghanistan in December 2009 by flying debris. He is recovering very well in London with his grandmother. I know the young man very well, since he is my neighbour from Rutland Vale. I know his mother, his grandparents were my contemporaries and friends of yesteryear before they migrated to the United Kingdom. High Commissioner Lewis has been in contact with his family and will visit him next week which is this week January 9th to 22nd. His family has requested that his name be withheld from publicity.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary. Question No. 12, then.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 12 standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Legal and Grenadines Affairs.12. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:a. Please indicate the total amount of money disbursed by the International Airport Development Corporation (IADC) on the Argyle International Airport to date; b. Further provide a breakdown of these expenditures as at December 31st 2009; and c. What is the extent of the IADC’s accounts payable to date. 44DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as at the 31st of December 2009, that is to say from the commencement of the project. The International Airport Development Company (the IADC) expended $118.8 million on the Argyle International Airport project. The breakdown expenditure is as follows: site acquisition built properties $49.8 million. Site acquisition vacant lot parcels $12.7 million. Earthworks, site works $22.5 million; land and office building $41.6 million. Heavy equipment and light vehicles, $12 million; furniture and equipment, $0.7 million; access roads, $0.6 million; project management, $13.6 million; loan interest, $5.3 million; $118.8 million.Mr. Speaker, within the area earmarked for the Argyle Airport, there are 134 built properties; to date as I have said the IADC has paid $49.8 million to 120 of these affected home owners, the other 12 properties that have to be bought are estimated in value of $7.8 million, making it a total of $56.6 million for the 134 built properties in the zone. Regarding the site acquisition of vacant parcels land, they are being paid for their lands acquired for the airport. In all there are 370 vacant parcels of various sizes. The estimated value of these land parcels is $56.3 million. Owners of 259 of these parcels have already submitted deeds to the IADC evidence of ownership of the lands. IADC is working in collaboration with the offices of the Chief Survey and the Attorney General and has to date paid $12.7 million to $89 owners of these vacant parcel of land. This year, more persons will be paid for their vacant lands in the first and second kilometre of the runway.The expenditure on heavy equipment, to keep the project on schedule for the June 2012 completion date, IADC has had to enlarge its fleet of heavy equipment. The $12 million spent on heavy equipment was used mainly to acquire $25 pieces of heavy equipment to enable IADC to do more work, the heavy equipment bought was as follows: 17 articulated trucks, 4 from KLECTRIC and 13 from a British firm known as L Jackson and Company; those were the trucks they said were the army trucks, they come here for war. Well the war they come is the war on the earthworks; two motor scrapers, two bulldozers, one D8 and one D9; one caterpillar 345 excavator, and a 330 excavator, caterpillar with hydraulic hammer, one wagon drill and a cob ELCO crane. Some of these items were contributions made for instance the motor scrapers from Austria.In the first quarter of 2010 IADC intends to obtain another 11 pieces of heavy equipment to bolster its fleet. This is necessary to complete the voluminous amount of earthworks on time, but the project to be completed by June 2012. I want to make the point, Mr. Speaker, you see a lot of blasting, and then they had to hold off with the blasting. The reason being there were a lot of stones to move and they just did not have enough of what you call the articulated trucks, these big heavy trucks to move them. That is why we had to get the other trucks and then when that happened you saw a pickup of activity with the movement and therefore more blasting can be done.Since the earthworks began on the 13th of August, 2008 the Chatoyer Chy Contingent has completed 30% of the total amount of earthworks to be done on the project. They did so while using up 461,755 US gallons of fuel and 125,650 cubic metres of explosive. This is an important point I want to make and for the entire country to appreciate, perhaps the most important point that I am making here today on this matter. Over the 16-month period of the earthworks, that is from 13th of August 2008 to the 15th of45December, 2009 IADC spent $22.5 million on earthworks, but the value of the earthworks completed is $81 million. So we spent $22.5 million but the value of the earthworks completed is $81 million.Honourable Members would recall that the estimated cost of the international airport project is $589 million of which the earthworks is valued at $279 million; we have finished 30%, but we have only spent $22.5 million, and one of the reasons is the way in which we are doing it. We have about 120 workers on the site, 47, 48 of them are Cubans and these Cubans are working along with the Vincentians some very long hours, and they do not get overtime; in fact, the work 12-hour days, and they work seven days a week, save and except one Sunday off a month. And certain other things at the normal commercial value would not be like for instance when you get $10 million worth of equipment from Venezuela free to start off, all these would be cost engage in the cost of the earthworks, so it is important to realize this. As the narrative makes clear the assistance which we get from Cuba, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and Austria and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and any other country, we would not have to spend the total of $279 million to complete the earthworks, because you can see the value of work done and the cost of that estimated value.What this means is that because of the help we have received from friendly countries, especially Cuba and Venezuela, we have spent $58.5 million less than that we would otherwise spend to get the earthworks done thus far. This in real terms is the value of the grant of the assistance we have received from Cuba and Venezuela on the earthworks component of the project. To date, when you see inside of the capital Estimates zero for Cuba because there is no quantification of it, it is not brought into account, the $10 million in equipment is not brought into account in the Central Government Estimates but is it is outside their real. This has to be understood by the people, so any formalistic groping as to what is taking place there misses the point completely, and that is why I talk all the time about doing things creatively.The project management expenses relate to the administrative and other costs involving the operations of the IADC and delivery of the project; since IADC has been in operations for four years now that is from September 2005 to the present. It means that on an average the company has incurred operating cost of EC $1.8 million per year. By comparison the Canadian consulting firm Marshall Macklin and Monahan (MMM) estimates that the project management cost would amount to $55 million for the entire project. In other words, (MMM) expects IADC to incur project management cost of about $9.2 million per year. IADC’s annual average costs of $3.4 million is far less than that estimated by the Canadian consultants. And I have addressed the issue of interest already; this interest cost is paid on the bridging loan of $20 million from NIS, which has since been repaired in full and the $30 million loan from the First Caribbean International Bank.What is the extent of IADC’s accounts payable? As at December 31st 2009 accounts payable just under EC $1 million. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 13 Honourable Senator Cummings.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 13 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.4613. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator) to ask the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment: Could the Honourable Minister please state: a. What is the result of the study done by the CWSA with regards to adequate water supplies in the Grenadines; b. When could the study be made available to the public; and c. How soon will the findings of the study be implemented. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, a socio-economic feasibility study for water demand in the Grenadines was conducted by AFD, a group of French consultants and Stewart Engineering in 2006 - 2007 thereabouts. The terms of reference of that study was to analyse the existing data, visit each of the islands and organize on sites surveys. The study did not focus on the technical feasibility of a solution of a water supply in the Grenadines. The consultant presented findings on; 1. Standard of living. 2. Access to other utility services such as electricity and solid waste; 3. Existing means of water supply including existing systems, sources storage, costs, demand and willingness to pay for water. A copy of the study is presently at the CWSA and can be made available to members of the public as long as the persons are prepared to meet the copying expenses. The consultants in their report made no recommendations of a technical or economic nature for implementation by the CWSA and hence nothing has been implemented to date.However, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the Honourable House that there is a project which was indirectly related to the study that is being financed by the Caribbean Climate Change, the World Bank and Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the Paget Farm area. It is a project worth just around $2 million and the intent of the project is to provide potable water for the residents of Paget Farm Bequia. We have had some challenges in implementing the project for many reasons; land ownership access. The project involves the use of renewable energy. We intend to install a desalination plant in Paget Farm using a wind turbine that is a windmill to provide energy to lift the water from the sea, the desalinated water lift it to an elevated point and then use gravity to distribute that water to the residents of Paget Farm. I am hopeful that that project, its full implementation will begin in this year. I have had several meetings with Caribbean Climate Change including a meeting at the World Bank Headquarters and to try and iron some of those issues. We have towards the end of last year been able to address some of the challenges at our end. As I have said before access and some other things with some other agencies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I hope that answers the question. Much obliged.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Is it $2 million EC or US? The Bequia project. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 14, Honourable Senator Cummings.47HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 14 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.14. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator) to ask the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment: Could the Honourable Minister please indicate: a. Whether there is a contingency plan in place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to cope with the severe drought; and b. What alternative sources of water are or would be made available in such an event. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, as I said before, I think my answer to the question to Honourable Member of the Southern Grenadines would indicate that it is basically the same question and it might be useful if the other side were to..., I cannot tell them how to do their business, but it might be useful if you sit together and go through the different questions so it is not repeated.Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, over the past five years an average of 20 inches of rain fell during the months of November and December. This past November and December a total of 7 inches that is only about 35% of the rainfall was recorded. This drastic reduction is a clear indication that the dry season has started very early and can be very intense. The government statutory body responsible for water supply the CWSA and over the past two months its engineers, customer service, and public relations department have been on full alert implementing its dry season contingency plan to ensure a continuous supply of water for most of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.This plan includes: 1. Increased public relation awareness and advisories, 2. Extending operating hours to address the leaks and water shortages especially on the Montreal System, they have been visiting schools and public buildings to identify leaks and thus wastage and do the corrective measures. They have been interlinking sources and systems to allow unaffected systems to augment affected ones. We know that the new system in the Windward Water Project came in quite handy for that. Introduce new source of supply including the new Mammon source which presently augments the Green Hill supply and the imminent Francois source in the Vermont Valley, and most importantly as I mentioned earlier, last year the management of CWSA invested in that $300,000.00 truck a 15,000-gallon water truck, or water tender, and this is part of the response in preparation for severe drought. And I think most persons who followed the news would have seen how useful this was recently in the Richland Park area. And again I want to reiterate that all of us need to do our part in managing our affairs and valuable resource potable water. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER; Question No. 15 it is the final question.48HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 15 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Housing.15. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator) to ask the Honourable Minister of Housing:When would the persons who have been uprooted from their homes to facilitate the Lowmans Leeward Electricity project, and made to pay for alternative lots be afforded the basics of a road and electricity supply to their lots.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Housing.HONOURABLE SABOTO CAESAR: Mr. Speaker, this administration has pursued a policy to regularize informal human settlements throughout the length and breadth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and this is a policy that has been extremely well planned, structured and conceived. The facts in this situation are these, 23 families occupied lands owned by VINLEC and they were relocated to make way for the construction of a modern power plant, so they were not uprooted, they were relocated. Cabinet approved for the sale of land at the price of $1.75 per square foot, and the government as part of the compensation package committed to the payment of six months’ rent while the new houses were constructed. Mr. Speaker, I am advised that the time-table shows that the construction of the road should begin during the first quarter of this year 2010 and that electricity is in very close proximity and will be provided during the first quarter of this year. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary? No. This brings us to the end of question period. It is now 10 minutes to 1. I suppose we are going to take the break, Sir. Maybe I could ask the Deputy Speaker to hold the Chair then for the next five or so minutes, please as we continue. The Leader of the Opposition asked...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: You can talk after lunch; I will speak now. I am speaking now.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes. Senator you will take ... 2010 ESTIMATES OF ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move the following Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.“Whereas Section 70 (1) of the Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines provides that the Minister for the time being responsible for finance shall cause to be prepared and laid before the House of Assemblypage49image2088049before or not later than thirty days after the commencement of each financial year Estimates of the Revenue and Expenditure of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for that financial year;And Whereas Section 70 (2) of the Constitution provides for the approval of the Estimates of Expenditure by the House;And Whereas the Government has additionally decided to prepare Estimates on a triennial basis;Be it resolved that this Honourable House of Assembly do adopt the Estimates for the financial year ending 31st December, 2010.And be it further resolved that this Honourable House notes the projections for the financial year ending 31st December, 2011 and 31st December, 2012.”DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Madam Speaker, Honourable Members, it is my duty first of all to correct a misconception propagated in some circles that these sets of Estimates coming in January is somehow indicative of some delinquency on the part of the Government or indeed that the Government somehow does not have any money and therefore cannot present a Budget. It is that kind of foolish propaganda: false not corrected by persons who should know better frames the debate in some circles on some issues for some people but not for me and that is why I must make the correction.The Constitution of this country makes it plain that within thirty days after the commencement of each financial year you can lay these Estimates; it does not even say that you must pass them; it says you must cause them to be laid. So you can lay them before or you can lay them before the end of January. This is not the first time that we have had to lay the Estimates in January. In 2005, when the elections were on December 7th we had the Estimates laid around this time in 2006 for the year 2006. The reason was very simple then, that you are in the middle of an election campaign; you finished on December 7th you are not going to have all the time to do all the work with all the Ministries and to do the consultations with the various stakeholders so you put it in January. You start the work immediately but you need a little more time so you do it in January; perfectly legal under the Constitution.On this occasion the Referendum was held on the 25th November, I went off to the Heads of Government meeting of the Commonwealth and came back on the Sunday, the Referendum was on the Wednesday and I came back on the Sunday. So you are at the end of December and Christmas is coming on and you want to do all the work so you put it in January, you begin to do the work the follow up of the work which you have started before and that is why we are here. And the Constitution says further in (2) of Section 7 that after they are laid they would be approved but it does not say when you must approve them but other laws would indicate the boundaries because the Financial Administration Act gives you up to four months into the new financial year when you can present your Budget.50You may ask, well what do you do in the month of January in terms of expenditure? Under the law the Minister of Finance signs a warrant authorising expenditure from the Consolidated Fund for the month of January equivalent to one twelfth of the Budget for the previous year and then that said warrant authorises under the hand of the Minister of Finance any Capital Expenditure. So all this brouhaha is about nothing: it is like the helicopter which came just after midnight to refuel to go up to get Skerrit, Prime Minister Skerrit to come back to go to Trinidad and that is ... You know the level of ignorance and the lack of intellectual depth and debate thirty years after independence by some people is just shocking and when I say I am not tolerating it they say Ralph is arrogant. What do you want me to do to lie in bed with ignorance? I would not do that some other people could do it but not me I am not afraid of intelligence; it is ignorance. Mr. Speaker, similarly, I heard it said that these Estimates have come inordinately late. The fact of the matter is that they are two days later than usual under the ULP administration. We normally get them out on the Friday before the Estimates on the Wednesday but because of some difficulties at the Printery members did not get them until Saturday and instead of holding the debate on the Wednesday we have the debate on the Tuesday but with enough time for persons to study the Estimates. Anybody who has been studying other Estimates they can study this one very easily; you do not need more than 24 hours to do it.But I want to say this when I came to this Honourable House I met that they had an unconstitutional practice, it took us three years before we got it change. The then Prime Minister and Minister of Finance used to come on Budget Day the Monday afternoon, he delivers his Budget Speech, well before that the Governor General would deliver the Throne Speech and on that very day we would get from the Opposition the Throne Speech, the Budget Speech just delivered by the Minister of Finance and the Estimates. Yes and when we leave here at 8:00 o’clock the night we had to come back 9:00 o’clock the next morning to debate this plus the Appropriation Bill. We challenged that and showed that it is unconstitutional that you had to put this first, pass this and then later introduced the Appropriation Bill. That is why the discussion on this is about expenditure and we are passing the expenditure here. Now, I regret that from our very high standards matters beyond our control caused the Opposition to get it two days later than usual but do not make a meal about it, let us get on Madam Speaker having dealt with the preliminary issues for us to deal with the hour which l have for this debate.The Estimates of Expenditure for the Fiscal year 2010 amounts to $913,475,489, this represents an increase of 20.5% or $120.5 million when compared to the total Expenditure Estimates for 2009. I repeat the total Estimates for this Fiscal year $913.47 million compared to last year this year is $120.57 million more. The Recurrent Expenditure Estimates inclusive of amortization amounts to $610.17 million. This figure is $54.72 million or 9.9% over the Recurrent Estimates for 2009. The Recurrent Expenditure Budget is comprised as follows: Current Expenditure, $522.95 million; Amortization, $87.22 million; giving a grant total of $610.17 million. The Capital Expenditure Budget for the Fiscal year 2010 is $303,300,615; this represents an increase of 53.7% or $105.99 million over the Capital Budget for 2009. While this is a large increase in planned spending it is not at all unmanageable and I want to make that point. It is not at all unmanageable this Capital Budget, since there are three projects which account in the Capital Budget for $113.1 million or 37.2% of the Capital Budget. I will go into more detail when I speak on the Capital Estimates later in this presentation. As shown in the Financial51Summary found on page ii; there is this year a Current Account Deficit of $20.5 million. This Current Account Deficit is mainly as a result of a weakening of Current Revenue collections in 2009 which dampened revenue growth expectation in the 2010 Fiscal year and new programmes of expenditure Recurrent Expenditure in the 2010 Budget which are absolutely necessary in all the circumstances.The preliminary Public Finance Report for 2009 shows Current Revenue in the sum of $461.28 million, this amount is 5.8% or $28.1 million below the actual 2008 collections and 4.8% below the approved Current Revenue Budget for 2009. Over the last four years 2006-2009 the average Budgeted growth in Current Revenue was 9.1%. In 2010 this Budgeted growth rate of Current Revenue is 3.7% over 5% points below the average growth and we are making a conservative estimate of the extent of the Revenue growth because of the international economic situation. Of course, what I am saying here is only a partial analysis of the factors that led to the Budgeted Current Account deficit in 2010. The other side as I have hinted at is the expenditure analysis. In 2009 the actual Current Expenditure amounted to $465.4 million, while this figure is 8% above the actual current spending in 2008 it is 3.5% below above the approved Budget for 2009. In other words the actual amount spent in 2009 was below the Budget itself. All areas of expenditure except for Transfers and Subsidies were within Budget. Strenuous efforts were made in 2009 to curb spending. The expenditure out turn in 2009 indicates that in the first half of the year Current Expenditure increased by 11.2% however in the second half of the year as the Revenue situation tightened expenditure control measures were also tightened. This resulted in a slowdown of the rate of increase in the spending from 11.2% in the first six months of 2009 to only 5.2% in the second six months. Even as the Government took expenditure reducing measures to moderate the impact of the Revenue decline on the Fiscal situation two factors had to be considered and these must be emphasized.1. The need to provide a much needed stimulus to the economy which had fallen prey to the global economic meltdown.2. The need to enhance social safety nets in an effort to protect the gains made in reducing poverty.These were the economic realities that the Government faced in 2009. Recurrent Estimates of the Revenue; the Current Revenue for the Fiscal year 2010 is estimated at $502.446 million. This figure represents an increase of 3.7% or $17.87 million over the approved Revenue Estimates for 2009. In 2010 Tax Revenue contributes $450.1 million to the public purse, 90% of the revenue will come from [inaudible] sources and [inaudible]. Taxes on Income and Profits will account for $114 million or 22.7% of Revenue collection for 2010. Increases in all tax types under the category are expected to contribute to the 9.1% growth in revenue from this source. Taxes on international trade and transactions continue to be the most important source of government revenue although it is projected to decline modestly by 2.4%; $185.24 million when compared with the approved Estimates for 2009. In 2010, 39.7 cents of every revenue dollar collected is expected to come from these border taxes, the Vat Custom Service Charge and Import Duty are all major contributors in this regard.52In 2010 revenue from taxes on domestic trade and transactions are 3% less than the approved Estimates for 2009. The sum of $119.3 million however is still a significant contribution to the Government inflows. The main sources of the tax from this tax group are as follows:- VAT  Interest levied  Airport Service Charge  Excise$71.5 million $11 million $4.5 million $4.2 millionLicenses are budgeted to yield $28. 8 million in 2010; this figure is 2.9% over the approved Budget for 2009. Revenue from non-tax sources is estimated to increase in the 2010 Fiscal year when compared to the approved Budget for 2009. A total of $52.26 million is expected to be collected from this source; this represents an increase of $15.67 million or 42.8% over the approved 2009 Budget. The following tax types under this category expected to experience increases in the next Fiscal year namely: Fees, Fines and Permits $1.5 million or 7.6%. Other revenue $14.44 million or 182.2% increase. The significant increase in other revenues reflects a $16 million Budget Support Current Grant to be provided by the EU this is the second tranche of the EU Budget Support Grant. The modest growth in revenue for 2010 will be generated; we are projecting principally from improved deficiency in the tax system. The details of the Current Revenue are found on pages 1-12 in the 2010 Estimates. I repeat in going into this year we are being very cautious even more cautious than usual on our Estimates in respect of the revenue given the international situation. As stated earlier the total estimated Recurrent Expenditure for 2009 is $610.17 million, this Budget is $54.72 million or 9.9% over the Recurrent Estimates for 2009. Before I go into the details of the Recurrent Expenditure Budget I would like to highlight the new initiatives contained in the 2010 Estimates; the new recurrent initiatives those are in the Recurrent Budget.The 2010 Expenditure Estimates includes the number of new initiatives aimed at improving the overall work of the Central Government and to expand the services offered to the citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines. These new initiatives are as follows:- 1. A new Budget summary is included on page XVIII that is 18. XV111 to show the Budget by Functional Classification using the classification of government functions COFOG standards: the guidelines for the COFOG are provided on page XVII. This means that the Budget is now using three different classification structures; by Ministry and Department, by Economic Classification and by Functional Classification. Each of these summaries provides a unique insight into the allocation of the resources and should enhance policy and public debate on the Budget. 2. In keeping with the government’s policy to improve the quality of education at the primary level including addressing the matter of remedial education more efficaciously 65 graduate teachers have been created under the Primary Education Programme. Fifty nine of 53these graduate teachers will be allocated to schools with 200 or more students and where a school has 500 or more students an additional graduate will be allocated in a subject area. This is a very important development; these graduate teachers in the primary school will be distributed as follows:-Administration of the schools 25 Subject areas 25 Early Childhood9Madam Speaker these appointments would add a further $2.6 million to the expenditure of the government. When this government came to office there were four graduate teachers in the primary schools. In the primary school system we trained over 300 of them to be university graduates. As the numbers were trained of the 61 primary schools 53 of them are headed by university graduates as Principals. What we are doing now for the school’s 200 students or more we are adding a second university graduate to help them in the management of the schools so that we can better deliver the primary education. And then in subject areas now for those larger schools in 25 of them; the 25 largest schools we are providing an additional graduate teacher in each of those schools so that they can teach the subject areas. And then of course for Early Childhood there are 9 Early Childhood Centers which are currently operational a further 9 will become operational this year as the Estimates go on and we will show that they are going to be headed by a graduate; each of the Early Childhood Centers so that working mothers particularly will be able to have their children get the best Early Childhood Education that can be offered.Mr. Speaker, let me just say this persons may then say; well if you have 50 odd teachers; primary school teachers already as graduates in the primary school system as Principals and you are now appointing 65 more what about the other graduates in the primary school? Well you have about 120 of them who are already in the secondary school system because of Universal Secondary Education: they were transferred into the secondary school system which means in effect you have about 120 or so graduate primary school teachers in the system and 65 of those now are going to be appointed that is to say those who had not been appointed hitherto as Principals or secondary school teachers. This discussion was carried out between the Ministry of Education and the Leadership of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union and they support this particular proposal with enthusiasm, it cost the Treasury an additional $2.6 million.3. Under the Ministry of Transport and Works the Roads and Buildings and General Services Authority has been fully established as Programme 560 on pages 394 and 395. The funds previously allocated to Programmes: 581, 585,586, 589, 590, 591, 592, 593, 594, 595 and 598 have been passed to BRAGSA as a subvention. BRAGSA will now undertake the maintenance of roads and bridges and all the government buildings. A subvention of $19 million has been provided to BRAGSA for this purpose.54I should point out that BRAGSA would have more resources also allocated to them under the Capital Estimates.Seven new recurrent spending programmes have been created in 2010 Estimates in addition to what we are doing there with the personnel and the subventions we have seven new recurrent spending programmes.Despite the fact that things are tight we have to make sure we balance things properly not to hold back the progress of the country, sensibly and creatively in going forward. What are these seven programmes?Programme 211: Internal Audit Department Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, this department is expected to increase independence, capacity and impact of the internal audit activity in order to impose internal audit as a critical component for effective accountability and good governance across the Central Government.The details are to be found on pages 118 to 119.Second of these new programmes: programme 314 The Crisis Center, Ministry of National Mobilisation. The objective of this programme is to provide support to victims of Domestic Violence in the form of short term shelter, counseling and other assistance.See pages 172-173. Are we so poor; are things so tight that we cannot put a programme this year in place for our victims of domestic violence to get short term shelter, counseling and other assistance? Guess some people would say I must not do that well that is the choice the people of this country will have to face in this Budget and as we go forward in this election.Programme 379 Students Support Services, the Ministry of Education, this initiative is required to provide support to the Education Revolution. The unit is designed to assist school youths with behavioural and learning challenges.Pages 230-231 provide more information. We have a lot of students in the Education Revolution who have been having challenges; behavioural challenges; before the Education Revolution but there has not been a focussed approach to it. We are setting up a special student support services and in this year this is going to cost us almost $ 1,991,769 must I short change the students? I cannot short change the women who are subject to domestic violence, I am not going to short change the students either.554. Programme 381: Pre-primary Education Ministry of Education, to provide for the resources for the establishment of 18 Early Childhood Centres within selected primary schools.Page 234 and 235 have the details: $1.31 million that is new. Are things so tight that you want to tell me that we cannot take care of the young ones between 3 to 5: and to allow the mothers to go out to earn bread and to build themselves up? No we are going to do it.Programme 472: Banana Services Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries a sum of $1.88 million is Budgeted to undertake some of the activities previously performed by the Banana Growers Association.The details are found on pages 366-367. Am I being told by people that I must abandon the banana farmers and do not provide the banana unit a new programme with $1.88 million? Those who say so they can say so; but we are holding things tight and going forward.Programme 651: Oxygen Production Plant pages 452-453, Ministry of Health and the Environment. This programme reflects the current cost of operating the Plant which will supply all health facilities with oxygen.We have a shortage of oxygen, a woman the other day coming up on a bus she died from Asthma, what happened? We will produce our own oxygen it cost money in the same way that we are providing resources between the Government and the NIS to bring our own new CT Scan to help to take care of the people of this country. I must not do it because things are tight?Seventh Programme: the Modern Medical Complex pages 487 to 488, Ministry of Health and the Environment. Funds have been provided for the commencement of operations for the Medical Complex at Georgetown from October this year.That is costing almost $400,000 just for those months from October. They say we should not build the hospital up there because it is under Soufriere. What are they going to tell the people from Biabou to Fancy and tell the people from Barrouallie to Fitz Hughes that they should migrate because of Soufriere? We are doing that: things are tight but we can hold things tight while going forward because there is a creative plan inside of these Estimates as would be made absolutely clear when the Budget debates unfolds when all the rationale for everything is laid out more fulsomely. Mr. Speaker, Madam Speaker, I want to speak of one further innovation it concerns the House of Assembly and the office of the Leader of the Opposition.56Hitherto the Leader of the Opposition, the office would be paid for, his office staff, his light and water from an allocation made through the House of Assembly.I do not think the Leader of the Opposition’s office or the Clerk should be burdened with these things in that way. So we have decided to do this differently. We will provide the money which is $149,725.00 we will provide it as a Grant contribution to the Leader of the Opposition and we will deliver that money quarterly, so you will take care of your own business rather than occupying the Clerk’s time with sending this Bill and that Bill it does not make any sense to me and I have been arguing for this change for some time and I insisted on it because I was present with a Special Warrant from the office of the Clerk regarding the office of the Leader of the Opposition and I do not think we should have that particular kind of process regarding the office of the Leader of the Opposition.The Recurrent Budget by Functional Classification is as follows: General Public Services, $211.88 million; Public Order and Safety, $ 56.8 million; Economic Affairs, $87.67 million or 14.4%; Environmental Protection, $8.25 million; Housing and Community Amenities, $7.19 million; Health, $55.47 million or 9.1% of the Recurrent Budget; Recreation Culture, $7.08 million; Education, $115.3 million or 19% of the Recurrent Budget; Social Protection, taking care of the poor and these are only those programmes so put under Social Protection but they are more, $60.5 million or 10%. So anybody listening can see what the focus is; education, health, poverty reduction, economic affairs and making sure that we are safe and well covered that is what the Recurrent Budget is about.The Recurrent Budget by Economic Classification as shown in the Financial Summary page ii indicates that all areas of spending save for goods and services are estimated to increase in 2010 when compared with the approved Budget in 2009. The details of these increases are as follows: Wages and Salaries, an increase of $7.95 million or 3.5%; Transfers up by $29.31 million or 25.2%; Debt Service up by $27.6 million or 22.7%. Madam Speaker, when persons wondering about the transfers, I want them to realize that the increases as a result of tourism Authority being established BRAGSA being established and the Community College integrated which brought in the Nurses into this particular embrace.The summary of the 2010 Recurrent Expenditure Budget by Economic categories is as follows:Wages and Salaries, $237.6 million; Pensions and NIS, $39.2 million; Other Transfers, $16.28 million; Debt Service, $149.1 million; Goods and Services, $77.99 million; give you the total of $610.17 million; Pages II, III, 1V, V and XV111 of these Estimates provide a snapshot for the 2010 Budget. A more detailed overview of these planned expenditures will be undertaken as my presentation unfolds. As I have said the Wages and Salaries Bill is $237.6 million made up of $206.16 million in salaries $14.03 million in allowances and $17.14 million in wages. The increase in the Salary Wage Bill in 2010 is as a consequence of the following four factors. First a provision for salary increase of 3% for all civil servants, teachers, nurses, police officers effective January 1st, 2010. *57In the 2009 Estimates a 12% salary increase was announced and distributed as follows: 4% for 2009; 5% for 2010 and 3% for 2011. However, as a consequence of the prevailing International Economic circumstances and their effect on the revenues you noticed I have been cautious in the estimate of the revenue that led to a tightening of the revenue in 2009 and the implications that that holds for 2010. I met with the Trade Unions and I requested their cooperation regarding accepting the interim 3% increase for 2010 with a possibility for the remaining 2% to be granted retroactively to January once the public finances can accommodate it. The Teachers Union leadership at the time said they found what I was saying quite reasonable and they will put that view to their members. The Police Welfare Association and the Public Service Union said that they are not in a position to give a view they will consult their membership. I know that 35 public servants met in a general meeting and they decided that they would not accept the 3%, they want the 5%.The meeting for the Police Welfare Association they also indicated that they would prefer to have the 5%. The Government is in a position to make the 3% payment if by June the revenue situation picks up we would go from January and pay the whole 5%. So that is one reason for the increase in the Salary Wage Bill. The automatic annual increments to public servants which amount to about 21⁄2% so in addition to the salary increase for those persons who are still in the incremental system and have not reached to the top of their grade their annual increments is about 21⁄2% effectively.A provision for the anticipated increase in wages for the non-established public sector workers and this has been included in the Estimates. The negotiations between the CTAWU and the NWM I expect to be concluded early in 2010.We have created in excess of 117 new positions in various critical areas of public service; Health, Education, National Security and Public Administration are the main beneficiaries. Despite the difficulty in the world economy we have employed more people in the public service in certain areas if we have to deliver certain kinds of services as I have been indicating. For example, in the Ministry of Health and the Environment a total of 13 additional posts were created to strengthen the laboratory and nursing staff at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and if you look for the three months for the Medical Complex at Georgetown, the Modern Medical Complex there are 32 new staff members there.In Education remember I spoke about what is happening about the promotion of persons and the creation of these posts for the graduate primary school teachers. We are having an additional 22 posts allocated across the state to a number of secondary schools, these include also laboratory assistants and technicians for Information Technology Laboratories.In the area of National Security 48 posts were established; 10 at the Coast Guard and 38 within the Police Force. As we will later see we are going to get 3 new Coast Guard vessels for which they would be a Capital Estimate of $19.1 million in the Capital Estimates this year. You have to have additional Coast Guard persons because we have to protect the Yachts; we have to protect our harbours; we have to make sure the big drug traffickers in cocaine that we catch them and we have to make sure that for58search and rescue we take care of our fisher folk and other persons who are engaged in pleasure boat activity.The Ministry of Finance and Economic Activity 10 posts are created, distributed in the Customs and Excise Department and in the new Internal Audit Department to which I referred earlier.In order to cater appropriately for increase in the number of university graduates returning to the Public Service 10 positions of Administrative Officer and 5 Administrative Cadets are provided under the Service Commissions Department.Other Ministries that were granted additional staff like the Ministry of National Mobilisation to staff the Crisis Center and the Ministry of Agriculture to staff the Banana Services Unit.I want to say something specifically to the Teachers, Public Servants and the Police. First the Police: it is the intention of the Government to make the necessary amendment to the law to advance the age of retirement for Corporals from age 50 to age 55. The Police Welfare Association has been asking for this. You know when you reach the stage of age 50 and you are a Corporal you have to leave they say, “No when you go to age 55”; so that is an innovation it will have a financial implication. I know many Corporals will be very happy to hear this and many Constables would be very happy to hear this. Secondly also for the police we are having more and more women inside of the Police Force entirely unacceptable that police women must have only one month maternity leave as a consequence I have given instructions to those who are involved in the negotiations to increase the extent of the maternity leave and to seek to put it as far as possible on parity with other areas in the Public Service. I cannot have our police women giving birth and after 30 days expect to find them walking sentry and having difficulties, I cannot stand that we have to protect our police women. Thirdly the teachers have been granted paternity leave, they do get paternity leave, there is no reason why the policemen should not be granted paternity leave and I have given instructions in that regard though as the head of the Welfare Association says that he would like to have each policeman register only one woman if it is not the wife in relation to whom that paternity leave is available.For the women in the Public Service the same issue arises concerning the extension of maternity leave for the women inside of the Public Service and there is a crying anomaly which has to be corrected and it relates to teachers in the government assisted private schools; the denominational schools, the church schools and private secondary schools. We now pay for all their teachers but those teachers have not been able to get pension benefits for their years, we will make sure that even before the amendment of the Pension Act we will make sure that those persons who are retired and who would have been entitled to a pension if they were appointed originally by the Public Service Commission that we bring a Bill here with an aggregate number of them to ensure that they get their pensions. So all of these things have a cost and I want the police, the teachers and the public servants to appreciate that I do not think that you can expect me to do more than I am trying to do. I am doing all of this, I am improving with the 65 graduate primary school teachers and more will come next year putting all of this together in addition to the 3% salary increase and the 21⁄2% increment as usual and all the additional sets of benefits.59Retiring benefits and NIS in 2010 the amount Budgeted to pay pension to retire civil servants and government’s counterpart contribution to the NIS for civil servants currently employed is $39.2 million. This figure is up $1 million or 10.4% over the approved 2009 Budget. The amount is comprised of retirement benefits $30.7 million; NIS contribution $8.5 million; $39.2 million. The retirement benefits component which increases pensions to retired civil servants continues to be the main cost, the main driver. Over the years this area of public spending has increased rapidly. Other Transfers: transfer payments to local, regional and international organisations and individuals are expected to amount to $106.28 million in 2010; this figure represents an increase of 31.7% or $25.61 million increase over the 2009 approved Budget. The Budgeted transfers are made up as follows: Grants and contributions $28.81 and I want to make the point that in that you will find BRAGSA, Tourism Authority and Community College. In fact if you look at BRAGSA and you check out you will see the $19 million and other monies which are coming in the Capital it will be more than hitherto. Community College is getting $12.5; which is $1.5 more than they got last year because we have an issue with the Community College and I want to make that point here; the Community College is moving towards Associate Degrees and even University Degrees and therefore you have to alter the nature of the staff: their terms of engagement. You cannot have a graduate at the Community College being paid the same as a graduate in the primary school because that is what you have when you have tertiary institution.The proposal which has been put was put late and therefore could not be fully considered, so that in the increased subvention to the integrated Community College is a provision to take care of allowances: additional allowances until we can get a new salary structure put in place for persons at the Community College. I would like myself to meet with them and talk with them and hear some of their concerns. Dr. Warrican who is building up on the work of other leaders like Marcus Caine and Dr. Marks he started to do a fine job and I thank him very much.Grants and Contributions are Budgeted to increase by 39.1% or $23.27 million mainly on account of a 49.8% increase in contributions to local organisations. The subvention to BRAGSA increased by $18.5 million as the full reform of the Public Works Department took effect in these Estimates. Social Welfare payments are estimated to increase by 20.7% as efforts are being made to ensure that more people do not slip into poverty as economic conditions become more challenging and as a consequence of the global recession. For the poor people I say to them we have more money for you in the Estimates.Public Debt: disbursed outstanding debt as at September 30th, 2009 is estimated to have increased by 10.2%: $1.19 billion or 75.4% of GDP at market prices when compared to the year ending December 31st, 2008. The increase in Public Debt is attributed mainly to $90.81 million or 18% increase into domestic debt and to a less extent to $19.27 million or 3.3% increase in external debt. It is estimated that $149.1 million or 30% of the Recurrent Revenue will be required to meet Debt Service Costs in 2010. A summary of the Debt Service Costs are shown in the Estimates: $149.09 million. As the Public Debt profile matures it is expected that Amortization will increase in the medium term; the government’s debt management strategy is crafted to take into account this phenomenon however, even as amortization rises; the effective cost of the debt remains low. In 2009 the effective interest rate on the Public Debt60was 4%; the details of the Public Debt can be found on Appendix 1 on pages 697 to 703 in the Estimates. We should point out that there are some very low cost debts in the Estimates for 2010.Education: in 2010 the education sector will continue to attract a sizeable portion of the national Budget, this sector as defined by the COFOG Classification accounts for 19% of the total Recurrent Budget the planned expenditure in education by function is as follows: pre-primary and primary, $40.5 million; secondary education, $36.7 million; post-secondary, non-tertiary, education $12.5 million; tertiary education, I want the young people who flying to hear this $12.5 million the most money ever in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines for university education. Subsidiary services to education, $4.66 million; other in education, $6.05 million. The 2010 education Budget aims to do the following things:- 1. Consolidate the development of the Community College as a first class tertiary institution. 2. Continue to expand the secondary sector to ensure that adequate teaching and other support resources are available to support universal access at this level. 3. Further enhance the attractiveness of the teaching profession as a viable career option by creating opportunities for upward mobility within the Teaching Service at all levels. This government loves the teaching profession and comrade especially loves the teachers. 4. Encourage excellence in all areas of learning and teaching including remediation. 5. Enhance access to Early Childhood Education. Economic Affairs: On the current side of the recurrent side of the Budget; Economic Affairs accounts for 14.4% or $87.67 million in 2010. Sectors included under this heading are as follows: Tourism $16.86 million.  Transport $27.34 million  Agriculture $16.71 million  General Economic Affairs $12.48 million and  Other $13.27 million. General Public Services account for 34.7% of the Recurrent Budget. This group includes Executive Legislative and Fiscal Affairs $46.24 million.  General Services $13.12 million.  Public Debt $149.09 million.61Public Order and Safety some 9.3% of the 2010 Recurrent Budget is allocated to public order and safety. This functional classification includes:   Police Services $31.88 million.   Law Courts $7.87 million.   Prisons $5.77 million.   Other $8.19 million  The Capital Estimates Expenditure, Honourable Speaker, the Capital Expenditure for the 2010 Fiscal year amounts to $303.30 million, this represents an increase of 53.7% or $105.99 million when compared with the approved Budget for 2009. This indeed is a significant increase in planned Capital Expenditure; however a closer examination of the Capital Budget would reveal that three projects totalling some $113.1 million account for $37.2% of the total Capital Estimates for 2010. What are these three big capital projects? 1. Project No. 201002 - Financial Stablisation Programme in the sum of $40 million. This project is found on pages 642 and 644 of the Capital Estimates under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; this project is required to provide St Vincent and the Grenadines equitable contribution to the proposed regional insurance company as a successor to British American. The financing for this project will come from a domestic loan and an IMF loan. The IMF loan has already been contracted on very favourable terms as follows: the second set of the SDR’s; you know the first set of special drawing rights we got, we put them generally to whatever we wanted to spend it on; the second one is on the same terms insurance rate of 0.5% per annum, a five-year grace period and a ten-year repay period with no conditions that is what you call beautiful money. You cannot get it cheaper than that. Now I want to point out it is totally costing us more than the $40 million because we have already as part of the $50 million which I had received, negotiated for the Currency Union from Prime Minister Manning the US$50 million from the Petroleum facility; $8 million of that would have belonged to St Vincent and the Grenadines if it was not in the common pool which is $20 million which is a Grant could you imagine what we could do in a year like this with the soft loan like we are having from the IMF and the $20 million Grant from the Petroleum facility which is part of the US$50 million that is already at the Central Bank? It is part of the seed capital for the new company imagine what we could do with that? But we have to protect the financial system.We are not the ones who cause the problem in British American but we have to protect the people who have the policies and who invested in British American, we have to protect the financial system and that is why we are putting these resources I would have much prefer to use them elsewhere but we have to take care of the financial system and take care of the people – British American and I want all those policyholders for British American, all those who bought various annuities and other instruments who are listening62to me, they know that I have taken the lead on this question in the OECS and I am trying to get this matter right; just bear with me. I am obliged.2. The Argyle International Airport: $54 millionThis is found on page 56 of the Capital Estimates and this project is financed by a soft loan from the government of Venezuela.3. The project No. 40704: the purchase of Coast Guard vessels $19.1 million.This project is found on page 658 of the Capital Estimates. I should point out that as I revealed in an answer to a question earlier sometime last year that the financing is done with the Malaysian company which is producing these coast guard vessels. So once you take account of these three large projects; the Airport the successor company for British American and the Coast Guard what you have is $190 million for capital spending remaining across the other areas of Central Government and the people of this country will see how we have spread the money out in what are difficult circumstances but they must watch also the creative finance. As stated earlier a new functional classification has been introduced in 2010. The allocation of the Capital Budget by functional classification is as follows:- General Public Services 5.2%.  Public Order and Safety 11.4%.  Economic Affairs 57.2%.Significant for Economic Affairs 57.2%: $173.3 million. Environmental Protection $1 million.  Housing and Community Amenities 7.3% in the Capital Budget $22.1 million.  Health 6.3%: Capital.  Recreation and Culture $1.2%  Education in the Capital Estimates 8.6%:Because of the number of the schools, the big buildings are now tapering off; and Social Protection 2%. The Capital Estimates by functional classification is shown at 635. The main objectives of the 2010Capital Programme are as follows:-1. Stimulate economic growth to the main economic sectors of Financial Services, Transport, Tourism, Agriculture and Construction; 57.2% of the Capital Programme as I have said is allocated to this purpose.632. Stimulate private sector growth. 3. To further strengthen our security through strategic investments in national security assets. Just over 11% of the Capital Budget is allocated to public order and safety. 4. To further enhance the quality of life of citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines by continuing to invest significantly in education, health, housing, poverty reduction and other social sectors and 5. To enhance public sector efficiency and improved service delivery to the citizens. Madam Speaker, a total of $173.37 million has been allocated to Economic Affairs; this means that over 57% of the Budget is earmarked for projects under Agriculture; (Agriculture includes Forestry and Fishing) Transport, Communication, Construction, Tourism, General Economic Affairs and Commercial Affairs.Transport $94.33 million allocated as follows: to airports, $59.83; seaports, $3 million; roads and bridges, $31.5 million. Some of the important projects for the Transport sector are the Argyle International Airport; rehabilitation of the Windward Highway; E.T. Joshua Airport Runway, we have to spend $4 million to fix that up in the meanwhile. Rehabilitation of the Colonarie Bridge, $3.4 million; access roads to tourism sites, $3.77 million; port development, $3 million; feeder road development, $3 million; 2.75% for cross country road; rehabilitation of the Windward Highway at Murray Village, $2 million; rehabilitation of the South Leeward Highway, we are commencing $1.5 million rehabilitation further of the VIGIE Highway, $1.6 million; rehabilitation of the Camarcabou and Lively roads, the people at South Central will be happy to hear $900,000.00.In Agriculture, $7.94 million and we have a series of items there: support to primary agricultural production, $1.8 million. The people in Barrouallie enhancement of the black fish production, $800,000.00; agricultural diversification; Moko disease control; the agricultural training institute; banana revitalization; animal product development; alternative livelihoods; irrigation management and consolidation all those they have numbers listed.Tourism: the Capital Budget allocated to tourism is $9.37 million; however two projects will benefit the tourism sector but they are not classified as tourism sectors using the new functional classification. For instance, the access roads to the tourism sites of $3.77 million you have to add that to it and the Rabacca National Parks Project that is classified under Recreation and Culture but not under the Ministry of Tourism. Further investments in security, health, physical infrastructure, and the airports all go to augment the performance of the tourism sector. In the tourism sector for this year there are two main initiatives $4.35 million for tourism and private sector projects and $800,000.00 of phase 2 of the tourism development project.64General Economic Commercial and Labour Affairs: these [inaudible] are not classified as Agriculture, Tourism or Transport. Information Technology the Center of Excellence, $4 million; private sector development programme, $4 million; Youth Empowerment Service programme, $2.8 million; the Kingstown Bus Terminal redevelopment, I want those at Little Tokyo to hear it, $2.5 million; and if you notice the source of funds that project is starting in this year. Capital subscription to the CDB, the IMF and the World Bank $1.9 million. We have to upgrade the administrative centre, $1.6 million; we have to clean up Kingstown, $1.5 million. The new Minister of Housing and Local Government are getting some monies on his doorstep in the way in which Senator Francis did not get them, I wonder why? It seems as though the Minister of Finance must have preferred the Honourable Senator Caesar to Honourable Senator Francis. Energy Conservation Fund, $1 million; contribution to the Caricom Development Fund, $1 million; Rural Electrification, $.5 million; Public Order and Safety, $34.5 million; Coast Guard Vessels, $19.1 million; Correctional Facility, $4.5; National Security Enhancement, $4 million; Georgetown Police Station, $2 million; Spring Village Police Station ... Advance Coastal Surveillances System, renovation of police stations and purchase of vehicles for national security.Education: the OECS Education Development Project, $9.02 million; that is the project which you are getting the West St George School which is costing $18 million but this is this year’s Budget it is going to finish in June next year, it is costing $18 million nearly $19 million. Improvement in Education through ICT, $6.5 million; Learning Resource Centres, $2.88 million; Basic Education, $2.8 million; European Union Education Support, $1.2 million; for the school children, the Book Loan Scheme, $1.13 million; Expansion of Secondary Schools, $1.5 million; Technical and Vocational Education, $1 million; Upgrading School Premises, $750,000; $22.1 million Madam Speaker or 7.3% of the Capital Programme will be spent on housing and community development initiatives, for these Basic Needs Trust Funds 5 and 6, $8.13 million; the Georgetown Rural Development Facility, $3.45 million; $4 million for land purchase; $1.77 million in one area for Community Poverty Alleviation; Rural Poverty Alleviation, $1.07 million; Gibson Corner Settlement, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition knows about this, $1 million; Housing for the Poor, $750,000 in addition to the project at HLDC financed by the Government of Venezuela; Special Development Projects and Special Works and Services at the office of the Prime Minister together, nearly $1 million; Rural Community Markets, $410,000; Improvement to Informal Human Settlement $50 million.Madam Speaker, if one looks at the Ministry headed by the Honourable Minister the Member for South Central Windward, the Ministry of Social Transformation you will see over $13 million has been assigned to that up from $7 million from last year an important erection for expenditure to take care of rural development and rural poverty in Rural Transformation. In Health $19.1 million will be spent on the Capital side: the main one is the Medical Complex, $19.3 million; HIV AIDS Prevention and Control, $4 million; Oxygen Production Plant, $2.1 million; then we have others: refurbishing the main hospital; purchase of generators; improvement to Primary Health Care; refurbishment of Doctors and Nurses quarters; upgrading of the Mental Health Services and the Lives to Live Programme to address the persons who are physically and mentally disabled.65I am wrapping up Madam Speaker, General Public Services these sectors account for $15.75 million. The main ones here: restructuring of the Customs Headquarters, reconstruction of the Customs Headquarters, $3.7 million; Canouan Administrative Building, $2 million; Calliaqua Town Hall, $1.73; National ID Card System, the Govern PBX, the ICT Center, all those are $1million; modernisation of Customs; upgrading Statistical Office; purchase of printing equipment and $400,000 almost for the renovation of the Registry; and in other groups $2 million for the Social Investment Fund; $1.5 for the National Library Complex and for the Cumberland Playing Field we have $600,000 and a $600,000 for the Community Playing Field.The Capital Budget financing source is as follows:-Domestic ReceiptsLocal Loans Other Capital ReceiptsExternal ReceiptsGrants Loans$ 80.27 m111.75 m64.7 m 154.3 m$ 192.02 m219.01 m$411.03 mpage66image11072 page66image11232 page66image11392 page66image11552Page 7 of these Estimates provides more details on the sources for which financing for the Capital programme for 2010 will arise. Madam Speaker, I am obliged. [Applause]Madam Speaker before we take the break for lunch I beg to move under Standing Order 12 (5) that the proceedings of today’s sitting be exempted from the provision of the Standing Order hours of sitting.Question put and agreed to DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Madam Speaker...HONOURABLE MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister if I may, I saw an indication from the Honourable Minister of Culture.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: I was informed by NEMO that on this Friday Vincentians artiste would be in solidarity with Haiti with a concert in the square opposite Y De Lima and its collections would be by cheques only and they would like everyone to come and show your solidarity with Haiti 4:00 p.m. on Friday. And just two small notes which I did not remember with your indulgence to congratulate Mrs. Slyvia Findley Scrubb on the conduct of the Referendum, her electoral staff, officers and clerks as well as the police.HONOURABLE MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.66DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Madam Speaker it is now 2:10, perhaps we can have lunch for 1hr: 20mins we can come back at 3:30 p.m. I beg to move, Madam Speaker, Honourable Members, that this Honourable House do stand suspended for the luncheon period until 3:40 p.m.Question put and agreed to House suspended at 2:12 p.m. House resumed at 3:54 p.m.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Leader of the Opposition, I think you are slated to make your ...HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, Saturday evening after attending Mrs. Hamlett funeral I had my first opportunity to have a look at the Estimates for 2010 and as usual I go immediately to the Financial Summary because that gives you a broad holistic view of the Estimates themselves what they contain and what they portend for the future financial stability of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Mr. Speaker, as I look at that summary I wondered whether I was seeing right. Mr. Speaker, I wondered whether in fact our country was in anyway affected by the world economic and financial crisis, indeed it seems, Mr. Speaker, that we are immune from the effects of that crisis as we sought once again to increase our expenditure at a faster rate than we are earning revenue and as is usual and I suspect most Members would do that we tend to look to see what sort of surplus if any we have to make a contribution to our capital programme and therefore our economic development.Mr. Speaker, these figures are critical they are important to the wellbeing of our nation and they deal with the year that has just started 2010. I have been in this House since 1998 and I can say unequivocally that this set of Estimates is the worst we have had; it lacks internal consistency and it is very optimistic in terms of expenditure vis à vis revenue. Today we heard in the Prime Minister’s presentation that some of the areas which he thought were important he had to do anyway but, Mr. Speaker, like in all things even a household we have to prioritize and make a determination as to whether we have the necessary resources to carry out all we would wish to do. In this context these Estimates are not sustainable; not sustainable at all and if I could go, Mr. Speaker, straight into the Financial Summary or some aspects of it we intend to spend in 2010 $913 million compromised of $610 million for Recurrent Expenditure and $303 million for Capital Expenditure. This compares with approve Expenditure in 2009 of about $555 million on the Recurrent and $237 on the Capital making a total of about $792 million so the Estimates for 2010 exceeds those of 2009 by approximately $121 million about 15% increase. The Current Expenditure represents 99.9% increase while $66 million on the Capital side represents 27.8% increase.These are large increases, Mr. Speaker, they are large; the question is in the current financial environment do we have the financial capacity to implement what we have here on paper? Categorically, I say no because we are now faced with a situation we are already experiencing decline on the revenue side even in 2009 while our expenditure continues. Mr. Speaker, you have total Recurrent Revenue of $502 million projected for the year 2010 but you expect Recurrent Expenditure including Amortization67and Sinking Fund to be $610 million that is a gap, Mr. Speaker, of a $108 million so while one might want to use the standard international definition and classification in relation to the Counterpart Fund you would say if you had a Counterpart of about $20 million but when you are talking cash, Mr. Speaker, when you are talking cash out of that same Revenue of $502 million we have to take out the money for the Sinking Fund and the money for Amortization. So, in fact you have to take away in money terms about $87 million or so because that will be used from the Revenue because you have to pay it. You have to pay it and therefore the cash requirement, Mr. Speaker, the cash requirement on the expenses side is a $108 million that is how we are starting off the year 2010 on the recurrent side of the Budget which we will hear about next week. Imagine that the cash deficit of $108 million; an economy of the size of St Vincent and the Grenadines.History, Dr. Gonsalves, will not forgive you. Honourable Prime Minister since 2005 you have said in this House from this side of the House that we noted the change in the way the finances of our country were being run in the first few years of the administration much more care was taken on these matters. We did not have this run away expenditure [interjection] [inaudible] you were looking after elections do not bother me; do not bother me. If we continue along this path, Mr. Speaker, if we continue along this path I predict that it will not be long before we find ourselves in the hands of the International Monetary Fund and a structural adjustment programme none of us in this Parliament, Mr. Speaker, would want that not one of us would want that and therefore we have to prioritize and determine mostly what we need rather than what we want; over time we can get what we want. The recovery in the International Community in the United States and Britain and other parts of Europe so far is a stuttering recovery, one is not sure from one day to the other whether you are really moving forward. Just this morning Japan Airlines, the largest airline in Japan went into bankruptcy; thousands of persons put out of work: with our economy and our finances to a large degree dependent on what happens not only from decisions we make but what happens in the international community and that is what is lacking here a sense of the climate in which we now live that is what is missing.[Interjection]I just tell you look after the election; do that. Mr. Speaker, let us look at some of the details of Expenditure on the Recurrent side for 2010: you have Wages and Salaries which is the first item, first category under Recurrent Expenditure and that has gone up from $229.6 million to $237.6 million about 3.5% increase just about $8 million; you have pensions and NIS which according to the table I have and I heard the Prime Minister making a correction to it going up from $35.5 to $39.2 million which is a 10.4% increase; you have Other Transfers which moved from $80.6 million to $106.2 million an increase of 31.1%; you have Interest payments that is the interest we pay on our National Debt, we have Interest Payment of $50 million in 2009 rising to $61.8 million for Interest alone in 2010 that is a 23% increase in Interest payments; you have Goods and Services being reduced by $11 million, from $88 million to $77 million [interjection] I would not bother to answer you. Total Current ...; therefore before Amortization and Sinking Fund is $522.9 million which is 11.5%, which is an 8% increase; Amortization that is payment on the Principal or Debt at $75.2 million up from $65.3 million a single year. So in fact, when you check both the Interest payments and the Amortization that is the payment on the Principal is an increase on what we have to pay on our Debt of $21 million as compared with last year; $21 million and on top of that you have the Sinking Fund where you have money there to meet68payments and bonds and other things and that has gone from $6 million to $12 million and now you have total Recurrent Expenditure therefore of $610 million measured against Revenue of $502: $108 million difference talking in terms of cash that is how we starting out this year.Mr. Speaker, let me say something about some of these categories and I go back to the first category: Expenditure for Wages and Salaries at $237 million for 2010 represents a 3.5% increase, I recall the Prime Minister this morning indicating that in his discussions with the Trade Unions he was proposing a 3% increases instead of 5% if the economy improve then they will get the other 2% later on in the year. He also mentioned that increments, normal annual increments, that civil servants get, it runs about 21⁄2% somewhere between 2 and 3% so at the least in order to cover both the increase and the increments I have expected to see at least the 51⁄2% increase in the amount of money allocated to Wages and Salary. I am aware that under Other Transfers BRAGSA and Tourism Authority are under Transfers but it appears to me that unless we have a very detailed explanation that the provision made of $237 million cannot cover both the increments and the salary increase especially when you add to that the fact that there are another 170 new posts which should have been added to the civil list. I assume with all seriousness that those posts are going to be filled that the Prime Minister is not just talking for talking sake; he gave a justification of having them filled but they contribute to the cost too and I am questioning until I have a very detailed explanation how the increase of 3.5% under Wages and Salary can in fact meet both normal increments and the 3% increase ordered for the public servants.Pensions and NIS: effect a $4 million increase by the Government which is just over 10% this seems a bit high to me and I do not know whether there is going to be any increase in the contribution rates of the NIS so I cannot really comment but that has gone from $35.5 million in 2009 to $39.2 million in 2010. Then we come to Other Transfers and I think the Prime Minister explained quite clearly this morning that under Other Transfers you have payments for BRAGSA, Tourism Authority and maybe there are some other things included there but the increase there was about $26 million and a 31.1% increase. I already said that interest payments have gone from $50 to $61.8 million; the payments on the Debt has jumped by $11.6 million per the year compared with 2009. The increase of $11.6 million is just under $1 million per month that you have to pay extra in interest; just under a $1 million per month extra just to pay interest. Then you have Goods and Services: this includes the various things purchased by Ministries; various goods and services, consulting services job to the hospital and things like that those paid from Goods and Services but what has happened to Goods and Services the amount of money allocated to do those things has been reduced by $11 million for 2010 compared to what it was for 2009 and on what basis is this justified because you want to make some more appointments or you want to make sure that the Hospital or other such institutions get the goods and services they need; is not that a priority too? And since you are bringing in of so many other things that you need to do, why is there a decline of over $11 million in goods and services?You hear the myriads of complaints that we have all the time about the Hospital and so on; lack of drugs and so on; we are decreasing those categories? That has no meaning? $11 million difference: 11.5%; 88.17 is ten point something you know what I mean; you well know. The point remains, Mr. Speaker, I have noted that this is the second year in the life of this administration that we are reducing the amount69of money provided for Good and Services that is no good; that is no good. For the previous years; this administration made significant increases for Goods and Services and all of a sudden as the financial squeeze takes hold and your unwillingness to reduce in other areas you reduce in Goods and Services well that is a crime; that is a crime: look for something else to decrease not that. [Interjection] you are a man who said you do not understand the Estimates you better keep out of thatHONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: I never said so. HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Yea I heard you said so more than once; anyhow[interjection] yeah I know that; I know that. Oh you are putting Goods and Services in Transfers now?HONOURABLE DR. RALPH GONSLAVES: [Inaudible]HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, I am saying you must do the things you need not what you want; yea! There are plenty things like the $4 million you spend on the YES programme like that things like that; that is a need eh? [Interjection] how you mean a Grant? It come from the Recurrent Budget what you are telling me who you are talking to man do what you do man, I am talking about the YES Vote the $4 million for the YES Vote it did not come through the Recurrent Budget, it did not come through the taxpayers of St Vincent or the Recurrent Budget but that is alright.HONOURABLE MR SPEAKER: Let the am ...HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Eh! Mr. Speaker for 2 years in a row; for two years in a row we are decreasing the amount of money provided for the dispensing of Goods and Services; and I want to know what the justification for that is. You know that is one thing I cannot understand at all I can see no rationale in relation to the state of affairs in this country today to reducing the amount of money spent on Goods and Services. The people who are most affected by that are the people who you talk about the most; the poor. The same people who you talking about poverty alleviation programme, they are the ones who are going down to get the drugs at the Hospital but you find the time you find it proper to take $11 million off of that and add it on to the $5 million you took off last year to do that [interjection] I am not bothering with him the $4 million already could have made this put this back to some $7 million cause the $11 million to drop.Mr. Speaker, I go now, Mr. Speaker, to the next category which is Amortization and for Members of the public all Amortization means is the principal you are paying on the loan. You pay your interest every month or quarter and you pay something on the principal at the same time. So when you take a mortgage to buy a house each time you go in the bank to pay at the end of the month part of the money you pay is for the principal to reduce the size of the loan and the other part is the interest and in the case of Amortization this has increased nearly $10 million. So when you take into consideration the interest increase and the principal increase and you also take into account the Sinking Fund increase we have a very serious increase in our Debt payments and our National Debt. So what are we going to be paying70when we put these together? What are we paying on our National Debt in the year 2010? How much money we are going to be paying on our National Debt for 2010? And I want the public you know, I want the public to understand that because sometimes we [inaudible] our National Debt and a lot of people are lost they know you borrow but they do not know how much you paying back every month or every quarter or every six months whatever the time period is for repayment. What we have, Mr. Speaker, in the year 2010; in the year 2010 this year we will be paying a $149 million just to pay our Interest; our principal and our Sinking Fund $149 million that is a lot of money you know. [Interjection] eh! I am coming to that too, coming to that. Mr. Speaker, I am going to break down this payment. I want the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines to understand what it means. I want them to understand in dollars and cents what that payment means of $149 million that we have to pay on our debt in 2010; $149 million means that we are paying $12,416,000.00; $12,416,000.00 on our debt every month; every month of the year for 2010 you will be paying $12,416,000.00 just to pay debt. [Interjection] Mr. Speaker, in the Sinking Fund including the Sinking Fund you know what you are paying on the Debt per week? The month is $12.4 million per week you are paying $3.1 million a week: you paying $3.1 million per week on the Debt in this country. You know how much you are paying every working day? You are paying $620,833.00 every day; every working day on the Debt. I am coming to the minute too not leaving that out; I want people to get an indication some understanding of what these figures mean in ordinary terms but before I leave the working day let me go to the working hour. Every hour working we will be paying $77,604.00 on our Debt. $77,000 per an hour that is what our Debt is costing us in this country and when you talk about debt people do not take you very seriously because they do not have to calculate it but it comes from their pocket it comes from taxes so they are in fact paying the Debt and it comes down to $1,293 per minute. [Interjection] Coming for that too if you want that.Mr. Speaker, I do this very deliberately because it is important that our people understand that when we talk about Debt Service that is what we are talking about we are talking about you have to take taxpayers money every month, every, week, every hour, every day and pay to it. Mr. Speaker, if I recollect I believe I have 45 minutes to speak.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: And you have 11 minutes remaining.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Only that?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Well Mr. Speaker, I would assume that the extra 7 or 8 minutes the Prime Minister got that will be added on to mine.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I am not aware of that because I was not here when the Prime Minister spoke.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I hope you took off that little piece there. Anyhow Mr. Speaker, in the 45 minutes [interjection] yea! And I am going to make use of it too.71HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Inaudible].HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker in the 45 minutes that I have to speak at this time; do you know how much debt we have to pay for this 45 minutes? Fifty-eight thousand two hundred and three dollars; in the 45 minutes that I have to speak here we would have to pay $58,000 on the debt of this country out of taxpayers’ money. So, those who do not understand the debt and what it means I hope they understand now because in addition to that in this year 2010 we are proposing to borrow $230 million and not just borrow but disburse another $230 million plenty progress, progress to the IMF. Mr. Speaker, there was a time when more prudence was exercised by you all. Mr. Speaker, I have to move on quickly since you said that I have less time.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Five minutes. HONOURABLE ARMHIM EUSTACE: I am not disputing. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh!HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I was just indicating that more leeway was given earlier. Mr. Speaker, I want to look briefly at some of the other categories of expenditure and to some degree how they are financed because that is critical. You have a Capital Budget of $303 million being financed by Grants of $64.8 million, External Loans $150.5 million, Local loans $80.2 million and Other Receipts of about $111 million, so we could expect to get some Grants I assume those would come from Venezuela and maybe the [inaudible] support and those are Grants. I have no problem with them more of those we get the better but the External Loans of $150.5 million and the Local Loans of $80.2 million means another $230 million in debt is here added on to the $1.19 million that we have now as at September not December. We could safely say if this were to be achieved that our debt will be $1.430 billion at the end of the 20* century but this cannot be achieved so far. And Mr. Speaker, you know every time we [inaudible] and I know about this I used to be a Minister of Finance; under Other Receipts you do not collect any money you know that; but we all put it in to such an extent that it has become a Cadillac, it is a Cadillac so when somebody put in $5 million you put in $111 I just want to remind you of one thing in the 2007 Estimates you said you will collect $55.5 million under Other Receipts and you collected $3.04 million. You collected about 6 to 7% of the amount but you are telling me that you are going to use that $111 million to finance some of these projects but you are not getting that money you have never been able to get that money in any year you are always far; far; far below and it has gotten worst year after year. You know between 2007 and now you have doubled it? It was $55 million you know you carry it now to $111million.All I want to say, Mr. Speaker, is that you cannot finance the Capital programme that you have set down there because you do not have all of the money. And even the Loans some of which are to be negotiated you have to bring them and actually disburse them in a single year it is not possible; it is not practical. You know it too. [Inaudible] regard these Estimates something like a pack of cards from which a72building is built. The foundation in terms of revenue is not there and it will collapse much like the buildings in Haiti. The foundation is not there, certainly not there. Mr. Speaker, I raised this matter of the Debt you know not trivially, I am not against borrowing and the Prime Minister made an important point when he said the effective interest rate is 4% I am sure that over the years [inaudible]that you have been able to get debt relatively cheap terms you have been able to deal with it, some lower some high but the effective rate the average over the years is 4% and that is good I have no problem; I have no problem and do not assume [inaudible] Mr. Speaker, I have not the time now to go into the some of the individual Capital Projects, I want to give an indication of one project that I support which I believe is extremely important is the money for the Regional Insurance Company. I believe that it is absolutely necessary to have that that I see as a priority; that I see as a need not a want and I gave support to that project. [Interjection] all that is alright; he is saying that every day; all that is alright and therefore, Mr. Speaker, [interruption] eh my son? Oh a son you said! [Interjection] How you mean coming back for me? Take what? [Interjection] you go and ask your people of the NDP they will tell you. Mr. Speaker; Mr. Speaker, you always giving Leacock [inaudible], but Mr. Speaker while I cannot go in now into the Capital Budget with any detail I hear about a lot of projects, I have not gone into them with a lot of details and I do not know if all of them are in the Capital Estimates; it is a lot of things you have to look at but I want to say this and this is something I am ashamed about because of the profligate way you have spent in the last few years this country has lost a level of independence which it had when it made contribution to its projects from its own revenue. We have now become totally dependent on outside sourcesHONOURABLE LOUIS STRAKER: [Inaudible]HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: That is not true, you missed the point; I tell you; you do not understand Estimates. [Interjection] I am saying because we have a deficit in our Recurrent we have no money to contribute to any project that we want to do from our Recurrent Budget that is what I am saying and I am saying that is a loss of a measure of independence for an independent nation of 30 years. You do not understand that that is so hard to understand? Eh! I never signed it. So Mr. Speaker, I regret that I am ashamed about it too you know. I always thought we were on a road because the international institutions from whom we borrow have been trying to reduce the size of their contributions to our projects and in some instances including electricity sometimes they only want to put 60% and have you put 40% what we have to do now since we have no money from our Current Revenue to put to the project we have to go and borrow increase our debt again to make our own counterpart contribution that is a loss of independence; loss of independence and I do not care what other countries do it the facts remains the same, it is a loss of independence. It is true that you are going to put some of the things kind but you always used to be proud if you put some cash from your own Recurrent Budget in order to help in our Capital Programme. We cannot do that we certainly cannot do that under this [interjection] right: [Interjection] you gone to the concept of opportunity cost now? Mr. Speaker, you can tell me how much ...?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Five: so you have to wind up now.73HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I will have to wind up.HONOURABLE MR SPEAKER: You have reached your ... wind down.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Well.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have reached your maximum.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: What Becket said again “Wind down Kingstown”?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Wind down he does not have the physique to do so.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Well do not talk about you when it comes to that. [Laughter] Do not bother even to raise it. [Laughter]DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: [Inaudible] [Laughter] you are the most clumsy person on a dance floor. [Laughter]HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker ... DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I got moves you know. HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker that is not part of my wrap up [interjection]. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I would allow a demonstration of your abilities. [Laughter]HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: You will allow a demonstration? You have music? [Laughter] Yes Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, these Estimates now it is good to have some levity because the amount of pressure this Estimate giving me here I glad to do with little levity I do not like them, I do not like what they stand for they stand for profligate behaviour and they need to be reexamined and make a determination of need as against want so that the people of this country here ... You cannot come with no additional taxes now with this climate; you cannot come with any. All this thing [interjection] I do not hope for that I do not think any Minister of Finance would be so stupid not even the Honourable Minister of Finance we have here. [Interjection] No because that would be bad business, bad economic and bad finance you know. You would be looking to stimulate the economy not to put taxes on people so, Mr. Speaker, I think we need to have another look at this Budget and at these Estimates and I hope that when we meet next Monday and the Prime Minister outlines his Budget we may see something that generates more confidence; confidence not only in the part of those in this Honourable House but confidence in the part of our people and confidence in the part of the private sector.74I notice there is a unit to make oxygen and a hear another just open somewhere out there [interjection] oh for the oxygen I hear about a unit the Government seems to be getting involved in everything they want now to produce oxygen when a new Oxygen Plant is to be opened soon; the Oxygen Plant is to be opened soon to compliment the one that is there already. It hasn’t even opened yet [inaudible interjection] eh you listened to what I just said? I said you have a Plant doing that here already [interjection] I know that and you have a new one by a private sector person too just coming on stream, so what do you need that for? You need to put your resources where they need to go not where you want them to go; where they need to go that is the point I am making you know. [Interjection] You cannot wait? You have to give them the incentive to produce not to go and compete with them. So, Mr. Speaker, I would like really to see a Budget which inspires more confidence than these Estimates here before us for 2010. Thank you very much; much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for North Leeward, I remind you that you have 45 minutes to make your presentation.HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: Forty five. Mr. Speaker. I rise to debate this $913,475,489 Estimate. The Recurrent Estimate we heard is made up of $610.1 million and that is comprised of $522.9 million when Amortization and Sinking Fund is added of $12 million that is where we get this 9.9% increase; the Capital Expenditure that of $303,300,615 is in comparison to that of 2009 also a significant increase. Now, Mr. Speaker, in 2009 we faced as many challenges in terms as the impact of those that we faced from 2001 to 2008. Who will ever forget CLICO, British American ripple effect of what may have happened in Antigua, the global financial crisis and its resultant credit crunch, further attacks on banana both in terms of price and disease, the need for on-going fight against poverty and the demand for infrastructure development to aid the productive sector and so stimulate growth. We have highlighted some of these projects, the Argyle International Airport and of course the whole process of the Education Revolution where we have to educate our people to meet these challenges. Mr. Speaker, both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition would have gone through in some details some of the different elements of the Budget; what has happened with wages which reflects a three percent annual increase as well as some additional things such as the automatic annual increase of a approximately 2.5%, the increase for non-established workers and the additional workers some 117 new positions.Mr. Speaker, we have talked about the Transfers and by this we mean of a $106.3 million or a 25% increase. This really reflects three significant initiatives one debated in this House and had contributions on both sides on the formation of BRAGSA which has $18.5 million, the establishment of the Tourism Authority. With both these we could see the attendant increase in efficiency and effectiveness that these entities will bring and so bring better value for money and then we once again talked about the Community College $12.3 million which was a $1.5 million increase which is clear we are continuing the Education Revolution there is no really rolling back of that and we are pressing on with that to build the capacity of our people to handle the new jobs in the new industries, the new type of professions needed to lift St Vincent into a level of competitiveness. Mr. Speaker, there has been discussion on interest payments and then there has been discussion on Goods and Services. There has been tight75control of Goods and Services which is reduced to $77.9 million or reduction of some $10.14 million and this tight control will and must continue. Mr. Speaker, I was really shocked when I heard the Leader of the Opposition talking about we should be increasing our Goods and Services does anybody knows what the Goods and Services really are? Mr. Speaker in the Estimates this can be seen on Schedule IV: we are talking about utilities. Mr. Speaker, every single Ministry has to see how they can cut the electrical bill and number of years ago we put in energy efficient light bulbs and we now have signed a project where we are doing energy audits on every Government building to see where we could tightened up and save on energy. We have to cut down that energy bill is not that a good thing?Mr. Speaker, I had a meeting this morning with my Ministry before I came to Parliament on telephone bills, there has been a runaway with telephone bills should we increase our telephone bills? Mr. Speaker, I could pledge you this year we are going to reduce the telephone bill of government one way or the other whether it is just the introduction with the PBX or through a diligent control of what is necessary to tighten that Budget. These are goods and services the Leader of the Opposition wants to increase electricity bills and telephone bills but, Mr. Speaker, let us go down. We are talking about rental of assets why do we have to continue renting more assets? Maybe some person would get a nice big deal, nice fat cheque for rental of assets but over a period of time we have to cut this down, we have to reduce this because that is money flowing out taxpayers money going out to rent buildings should not we like to reduce this? Mr. Speaker, there are a host of other things local travel and subsistence. I know the Prime Minister have cautioned me at times I do not travel a great deal but I know that basically over these last few years we have been tightening up on travel I would get a note “See me” or “do we need to really travel”? But that is the type of thing that needs to be done should we increase travel? When I travel and I gone away for one day should I stay for a whole week or two weeks and pay hotel bills and so, so that we could increase the Goods and Services?Mr. Speaker, Grants and Contributions clearly this is something that we may not be able to but we have to look at these things very tightly and see what is the right things and so. Advertisements and promotions these are things we have to look at and go over with a scalpel and even though you cut it by one dollar it is a cut, you must try and do that. So I want to say to the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Speaker, I do not know what he is talking about when he talks about increasing the level of Goods and contributions I suppose that would be debated on various radio stations from now onwards. Mr. Speaker, this Budget in terms of the Capital side is $120,741,164 greater than 2009 a 15% that is a big increase; everyone should know that is a big increase but Mr. Speaker, why is that increase there? The Prime Minister outlined there are three major projects one which is supported by the Leader of the Opposition equivalent to $40 million recapitalisation of British American. There are a number of persons who have approached me and said Dr do you really think the Prime Minister could really bail out and save British American? Do you think he could really do that? I would look at them in the eyes and tell them yes, I believe he can. And the Leader of the Opposition said that he supports this [inaudible] one increase that we need and then we all know that we are looking to sell land to fill the gap for the financing of the Airport and though we have assistance from Cuba, Venezuela, Austria, Taiwan, Trinidad, Mexico all the different countries: coalition of the willing but we needed to put in something ourselves. Land sales have76not been so vibrant everyone knows this we admit this and so basically we are looking to finance $56 million but we are getting it at very concessionary rate.Mr. Speaker, and then the Coast Guard vessels which are so essential and $110 million basically is just $10 million less than what we see in the increase compared to the previous year; but three projects make up $110 million but what about the little things? What about Ashley Mason’s road which cost $40,000 or Diane‘s drain that cost $15,000 a host of little, little things hundreds of little things that we also need to and I will come to those things. Mr. Speaker, in any kind of economic theory there are those who are more socially and people oriented and placing emphasis on the development and both spending and alleviating poverty and facilitating investment and stimulating growth; and then there are those who have a greater focus on debt, they do not have what we call that gumption, Mr. Speaker, they focus on the size or the gross size of the debt and limiting or severely curtailing spending to reduce the debt and deficit. And Mr. Speaker, it is not one or the other it is a balancing of these two approaches. We all know that if we were to come out and announce everybody must cut your spending tighten your belt save for a rainy do not eat out, do not drive down to the Dark View Falls; do not drive down to see Black Point tunnel stay at home. Mr. Speaker, what we are going to see is an invariable government and a country the economy will start to grind to a halt, you will see workers who would be laid off and with the loss of wages and salaries you would see all the goods stay on the shelves and the private sector will also start to cry out too because nobody is buying.Mr. Speaker what has been the international climate? What is happening around the world in the USA? Remember President Bush gave a stimulus package he gave everybody a tax rebate and told them do not save it spend it; Barack Obama has had several stimuli and has been trying to pump money into ... many people may differ with that economy theory but it works and almost every country in the world ... no one is saying other than the Leader of the Opposition you know. Now I want to let ... let me be clear government has a primary responsibility to periodically stimulate the economy and ensure there is growth; there is circulation of money and there is decent growth. Now debt on the other hand is not appropriate or targeted it can mount up to a debt which is difficult to pay, I think that is fairly acceptable. The issue here is not that debt is bad you know; we have gotten thrown into a mind that having debt is bad; no Mr. Speaker, it is if the debt is manageable and the level of interest rate that you get whether it is high or low. Mr. Speaker, you know it is sometimes interesting that you could borrow $25 million at a 2% debt and that may be the same as borrowing $5 million at 10% or 12% debt. If you are able to get low interest rate credit and financing like we use to get twenty, twenty five years ago but we this government has able to find a number of these [inaudible] in a hard guava climate and we are able to get some of these bigger projects done as well as the small and little things that get down to the people. Mr. Speaker, nevertheless significant efforts to curb unnecessary spending or increase the rate of spending let us say in the first half of the year in [inaudible] during the dry season is the type of innovative thinking we want.The reality is that here in St Vincent and the Grenadines we have to keep money in circulation; we have to ride out this recession. The recession in the rest of the world has shown more than green shoots many countries have started to recover however, we know that there is a decrease in Tourist arrivals; we know77there is a decrease in remittances; we know there is a decrease in available credit but we have crafted a number of measures targeting spending geared at providing for the safety net and alleviating poverty and helping the poor, the aged and the downtrodden and also geared at targeting the productive sector: agriculture, tourism and other areas. We have long realised that price is what you pay, value is what you get and we must get value for money; the government of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines must decide. We can also say that economics is the only field in which two persons, two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things and this happened with Mary D’Arlon and Hayek a number of years ago they said two different things and they both got the Nobel Prize which was right: maybe they are both right. But you know Mr. Speaker, I have got to say this a man was walking down the a road in a countryside and he came across a herd of rumina a shepherd and a huge flock of black belly sheep and goats, he tells the shepherd, “I will give you $300.00 against one of your sheep that I could tell you the exact number in your flock”. The shepherd thought it over and he knew it was a big flock and he said, “Okay I take the bet”. And the persons then said, “123” to the man; the shepherd was astonished because that was exactly right and he said to himself, “Ok, I am a man of my word” and he told the visitor, “take the animal” and the man picked up the animal and started to walk away to his car and the shepherd then said, “Wait!, Wait! Wait! Let me have a chance to get even double or nothing, I can guess your exact occupation”, the man turned and said, “Okay, sure”. He said, “You are an economist and you are the first time in the countryside but you work for one of these regional agencies”. The man was amazed and he said, “How did you know that”? He said, “When you put down my dog, I will tell you how I know that”.So, Mr. Speaker that is just a light moment that I want to raise in the sense that in this 2010 Budgetary process what is required is a unique highly customized and well-crafted and tailored set of policies and measures that are geared and directed to this nation called St Vincent and the Grenadines not to Japan or Iceland or Germany it must be directed at the peculiarities of our region, our regional agencies and cognizant of the global economy on one hand there is the whole book theory and a hand me down type of economics that we know some persons always subscribe to and then there is the crafting of activities based on both the harsh realities on the ground and the opportunities that exist particularly tourism and so forth. But Mr. Speaker, you know the most recent Referendum the people spoke [inaudible] and we here on this side heard the people and we listened and analyzed what they had said. They said many things and there was a large group of people who said that the Constitution really was not their priority; they were more interested in the bread and butter issues. They were interested in village roads, Mr. Speaker, farm roads, marketing, crops, farming, playing field, health issues: those are the things some people were interested in and in this Budget, Mr. Speaker, we have heard those cries and we have responded.Mr. Speaker, we have under areas of Economic Affairs, Housing and Community, Amenities, Health, Education and General ... we have a host of things relating in our Capital Expenditure. In the Current Expenditure we have spoken about Transfers, we have spoken about BRAGSA; we have spoken about the Community College and so forth. Mr. Speaker, going specifically into some areas that touch on my own constituency: I am really pleased with the fact that I am seeing things like Cocoa Valley Road, Antoine, Jack Hill and Copeland and many of the village roads that we have been struggling to do over a78period of time that these things now; the people said they want these things we are going to get them done. A new LRC (Learning Resource Center) Troumaca but Mr. Speaker I want to also say that you have to give Jack his jacket: the Prime Minister has done remarkably well as a Minister of Finance a regional spokesman on finance, you know, not only did he stood up to things like West LB but you know we will eventually touch on a lot of these things during the Budgetary process. Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Inaudible]THE HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I was a little surprised that the Leader of the Opposition is in touch with some of his usual topic and so I would save some of the things for the actual Budgetary debate which I am sure he will still bring out but [interjection] [laughs] but you know, Mr. Speaker, I tell you I have been quite disappointed, you know I remember listening to the Leader of the Opposition ranting that St Vincent had performed the worst in the OECS and he was reading from a document National Accounts and Statistics but the interesting thing is that I had attended Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner and the guest speaker was there and Mr. Antoine and one of the regional ... and pronounced that St Vincent had performed the very best and so when I heard the Leader of the Opposition speaking on the radio I was tempted to call in I picked up the phone but I said, you know I will ... but what I do not quite understand is how could somebody read some figures and say, “Oh my Lord! I was in shock that St Vincent had a 0.2% contraction growth when in the same paper he read it showed that all the other countries had a worst situation St Lucia -4%; Grenada -6%; St Kitts and Antigua -8% and he did not mention any of these things, Mr. Speaker, and almost on every platform the Leader of the Opposition sounded this during the Referendum: but Mr. Speaker, I will talk little more on that.Mr. Speaker, I have been impressed with what has been going on in a number of other areas in government that of Education, expenditure on Education totaled $$104.2 million, this is actually a jump from $79.3 million that not only reflects the cost of staffing it also includes $26.1 million in Capital Expenditure. Mr. Speaker, we have seen over the years a number of the various World Bank [inaudible] projects now most of them have been completed or near completion and the Education Revolution rolls on. Mr. Speaker, in the Estimates I really want to note that the National ICT Project in Education I am sure will be discussed and highlighted this has been almost a $48 million project over 3 years and it is getting off the ground; fully off the ground this year putting computers and teacher training in not only the primary schools and secondary schools but making sure the Community College is an institution where you just do not have computers but they are using ICT in order to teach and to learn with Distance Learning and all these other modalities. Mr. Speaker, a major initiative that you have heard about is the improved capacity to manage the schools with the appointments of senior teachers and graduates; additionally the Early Childhood Education Programme and the figures have been outlined to giving the kids a head start, however there has been much debate over the performance of some students who are still struggling with reading and writing. Mr. Speaker, I have always said you know, you know how they talk about the glass being half filled or half empty and what is often talked about is that some people79look only at the glass as being half empty and that means you are a certain type of person and others talk about the glass being half full.But Mr. Speaker I can tell you what is happening in Education, I believe in Education we do not as yet have a full glass we may not necessarily be able to achieve it but there are still some persons who only focus on this narrow band of individuals whether it is 15, 20 or 25% but a lot of information have been coming to light about learning disability, about dyslexia and believe it or not in many societies there is at least 10% of every society that has dyslexia and other ... . Dyslexia is not an illness or a disease or anything like that but I am really happy that this year the Ministry of Education is going to be putting some additional focus on it; but I am even more impressed in terms of what they have been doing over the last year and a half in terms of reading, in terms of the sort of efforts that they have been making, the studies that have been done and this is a story that has not really been told. This is a story that has not been told there are persons who have come here and assessed various schools and have seen the significant jump in performance at various schools I would not mention any of those schools here but there is a lot that is taking place in education that is really ... so we can focus on just those individuals. I am really impressed with all those young persons who are now doing much, much, much better than they used to. When I was at the Grammar School, Mr. Speaker, I remember I got a couple of A’s my grades weren’t really that super great today you see performing with three A’s and they are doing excellently. We are generating a society that is really enlightened; I think we should applaud this type of effort as opposed to crying down that only there are persons going through school who may not be able to perform we have to focus on them and there is $1 million I believe in this upcoming Budget to really deal with it.Mr. Speaker, in addition in relation to my own Ministry and some of the measures there; my Ministry along with the Ministry responsible for Economic Development under the Prime Minister we have been focusing a lot on the private sector, we have completed private sector policy in the last set of Estimates and so and this year, Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things taking place to consolidate on all those measures. I know through SVG Invest we have consolidated we are really doing the final touches to what we had as the draft export strategies in terms of the concept of strategic alliances. We are doing more work on this sector of the Ministry; through the Centre of Economic Development the substantial funding for these agencies. Mr. Speaker, we are also refurbishing industrial space so that other small businesses could utilize the space. You know, we have developed incubators where we are incubating businesses to grow. We have identified a number of companies we are looking to help and as the Leader of the Opposition rightly said we are facilitating the Private Sector and significant work is being done in this regard, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am particularly impressed with what is going to take place at the Bureau of Standards there is going to be a little grace period of about 3 months but the Bureau of Standards is now truly going out and being equipped with all the different resources and the administrative structures and its co-operative structure too to get its work done. In today’s world of trade a Bureau of Standard, an efficient effective Bureau of Standard is important.Mr. Speaker, around this world there are some products that are coming in to our region that can kill, that are deadly and the surveillance and the efforts to make sure that these things do not reach the80consumers has to continue and be stepped up and the Bureau of Standards had been charged along with all the other agencies, the Ministry of Public Health and so forth to make sure that our consumers are protected. Whether it is toothpaste that is laced with this or lead paint all we know is that this surveillance has to be continual and there is no letting up because there are people elsewhere who want to make a fast buck in foreign countries and they would stop at nothing to put toxic substance into these particular things. Mr. Speaker, coming up we are now forging a great relationship... continuing to build that relationship with the Republic of China and Taiwan. We know the agriculture mission that the Ministry of Agriculture deals with, we are having ICT Mission an ICT Centre where a number of experts are coming here teaming up with some of our experts to create that kind of synergy and I am excited by this and I am certain before the midyear you will start to see the whole impact of this ICT Center which is geared at making sure that E Government and all ... but this is going to complement a fairly good E what you call a E Grip project regional as we move towards integration we have to make sure that we use ICT to integrate with St Lucia, Grenada, St Kitts, Antigua and that particular project is all well on the way; I am excited by that too.The PBX we are going to get it done this year. Mr. Speaker, we have to cut costs we cannot go like the Leader of the Opposition saying that increase costs, increase spending on those types of goods and services that do not make no sense, Mr. Speaker, so I certainly hope that he backtracks on that. And Mr. Speaker, the Centre of Excellence $3.5 million out of Diamond is actually going to be right next to my colleague’s Hospitality Institute [inaudible] I am sure when he gets a chance to talk about that or in the Budget but these two entities are going to complement each other in terms of services and so forth. And then there is a whole realm of ICT training and I mention ICT in Education and so forth. I am really quite happy with how this particular Budget has been crafted in view of the challenges, there are going to be some persons who are going to try to scare the people and scare you.I remember meeting a farmer in Rose Hall who was told to go and take a loan so he could farm up his land and somebody went and told him boy you are going to put yourself into debt and he decided he was not going to do it; someone else did and was able to farm and produce and excel and sometimes we get bad advice and this nation cannot afford to get bad advice from persons who should understand that this particular Budget there are challenges and at this particular point and time we have to do targeted well- crafted spending that is geared towards achieving our national objective. Geared towards alleviating poverty and helping the poor, the aged and the downtrodden as well as stimulating the economy and making sure that the Private Sector is buoyant and that they feel that okay I could take some risk and as soon as we start to come out of the recession it will serve as a spring board which we could takeoff as opposed to that tightening, that slow down, that old economic approach as always been touted here in this particular parliament nothing that is innovative; the same old thing. I have the speech from the Estimates from last year and Mr. Speaker, I could read some of it but we have heard it before it is the same thing coming over there must be ... Alan Greenspan, Mr. Speaker said, “He did not realize all this would happen all the economics of the 90’s Reaganomics and Thatchanomics all that is gone it may come back but not now.81The thing about it Mr. Speaker is that this has to be crafted and tailored for St Vincent and the Grenadines and I certainly want to applaud the efforts made. We certainly have challenges, we are not out of any woods I do not want to give anybody the impression that St Vincent is you know milk and honey and the good times are going to roll again. Times are tough and it must be said but we are steering the ship well and I will do it later but I really want to applaud the Prime Minister for his efforts whether it is West LB; whether it is all the efforts with the blacklist; whether it is efforts with CLICO; whether it is efforts with British American; whether it is the Monetary Council his Leadership there and certainly his leadership in this particular country Prime Minister gets unfortunately I think a bad rap he could defend himself he does not need me to do it. But I find sometimes people go down too low and I think people have to look and give Jack his jacket and realise that this is something that [laughs] let me repeat we have to give Jack his jacket and we have to give Ralph his robe [laughs] but I think that you know, coming from all the efforts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism, from the Housing Sector and particularly the Ministry of Education what we are seeing today: Rural Transformation and Construction and Transport and Works we are doing okay, we are doing well and we have to instil that confidence and there again would be persons who will try and spell doom and tell you things are going to go bust, “take your money out of the bank”, they will tell you, “do not do this, do not do that we cannot afford that kind of approach”. Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to the Debate on the Budget, I have left back a number of things that I really want to say but I am sure it would be a spirited; I am ready and I am looking forward to debating the Budget and hearing the other submissions further. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Debate on the Budget Honourable Senator Leacock.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you very, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to make my contribution to this important exercise with respect to the Estimates for the year (excuse me my voice is a little husky) 2010. Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing that we can all agree upon in this Honourable House is that these Estimates come at a most challenging time. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we could choose our own context for these Estimates and our own sets of challenges; we can choose to identify the economic issues and address the Estimates from our own projects of external shocks; our own domestic management of the economy; it is also possible, Mr. Speaker, that we may ignore that and whether you are government or opposition and I speak now from in anticipation of a government that they could also address the issues from the point of view of a government that is coming to the end of a term looking down the gun of a barrel following the Referendum exercise and produce Estimates ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Barrel of a gun.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: And produce Estimates in that regard. Whatever is the chosen approach, Mr. Speaker, there is an objective reality from which we cannot escape ultimately everything comes down to dollars and cents especially, Mr. Speaker, where the constraints are real not contrived or imagined and this is so, Mr. Speaker, because as much as we may want to put our chest forward and exercise our sovereignty we are not a law on to ourselves. As was said before, Mr. Speaker,82we are in fact living and existing [according to]the rules of the world and in our own St Vincent situation out of a set of concentric circles OECS CARICOM and wider a field.Mr. Speaker, in this regard the Estimates before us as a strategy or a policy of a government could choose to adopt an austerity approach in which they try to keep a steady keel on the ship of state or they may want to be more adventurous and go the route of prosperity growing the national cake against the external challenges. Mr. Speaker, let us be real they may even choose self-preservation and go for straight outright electioneering so we can examine the Estimates and see whether any of these elements are present an to which extent that best interest of St Vincent and the Grenadines is served in the approach.Mr. Speaker, let me therefore for a minute join the Honourable Leader of the Opposition Member for East Kingstown and I think the Honourable Member for North Leeward also so did revisit the Financial Summary for some quick guidance because, Mr. Speaker, even though the Honourable Member for East Kingstown the Leader of the Opposition dealt with some detail with this Financial Summary one gets the impression listening to the last speaker, Minister of Telecoms, that we could brush those observations and concerns aside and move on apace without an awareness of the consequence of what is being said. The harsh reality of the fact, Mr. Speaker, is that what the Financial Summary says is that as a country we are brokes the long and short of it: we are brokes and when you are brokes you are no different to anyone else and that is exactly when you are brokes you cannot spend; but that is the privilege only governments are able to do. You cannot look at your Recurrent Budget which says that you have less money than is your expenditure and bury your head in the sand.The fact is the Government does not have enough money projected in the Current Revenue side to pay for the Wages and Salaries of his nation, Pension and NIS, Transfers and let us look at the Transfers because we are putting in all kinds of language, because if it was not Transfer it would be somewhere there up in the Wages and Salary section; it is there that is a real expense and interest payments as well as Goods and Services we cannot pay for them from the money that is coming in now. It is like a person going to a shop paying for the loaf of bread that you had yesterday trusting two today going back to the shop the next day paying for the two you had the day before and taking three and going on in that kind of equation to the extent that it can contain you to get credit from the shopkeeper but a day does come when the shopkeeper says I am not giving you anymore credit and you have to deal with the reality. You must either pay him or look for another shop that you can do the same thing.Now governments could get away with that because government comes and governments go and when you chalk up a debt you cannot pay it somebody else would have to pay for it. But the harsh reality is that the Honourable Prime Minister and cabinet are going to have serious nightmares and will be pulling their hair out of their heads this year to meet the Recurrent Expenditure of the country. And so you were quite right Minister Thompson when you said, or echoed the sentiment of the Prime Minister that there would have to be contained with better tightening. I think the Prime Minister’s favourite statement is that “It is not a walk in the park”. He could have used stronger language than that which is not allowed to speak in a parliament like this. But the reality is that things are tight and is going to require the most83careful of management to see us through. We have no fat absolutely no fat and we have to find ways to deal with that situation. So, I go back, Mr. Speaker, to the details of that Current Revenue to make a point and the Honourable Minister of Commerce must take this on board and I will speak more to that when we get to the Budgetary exercise [interjection] of Industry; Minister of Industry. You do not have much to do you only have $60,000 in your Budget for Capital, so, you would much prefer that I do not address your Ministry [interjection] well we would come to yours, yours are more than belt tight you need to drop your pants [laughs] I take that back because it may be wrongly interpreted.Mr. Speaker, on the Tax Revenue side which is the main source of the Revenue the Honourable Member made the point that we cannot tax this country anymore I think we are pretty close now to the International guidelines of 30 to 40% of our GDP should not be in taxes so we probably cannot go much more there and even from a politic point of view in an election year you would not want it to be seen you are taxing the people who are already overtaxed but you look at the movement between ’09 and this year is a near $3 million and what is suggested is that we ought to be emphasizing not just a matter of tax efficiency in collection which is quite right and which has to be supported but we have to be doing things in the productive Ministries that more people and perhaps to be more precise more enterprises are in the tax fold so that we can move this figure and give us some more of the breathing space that is something we need to see and therefore we need to look into the Estimates and make a determination through the appropriate Ministries to see how much of that has been allocated to stimulate the economy to create new and more enterprise so that we can take care of our Recurrent [inaudible] but Mr. Speaker, the same Financial Summary that I speak to also speaks to the Capital Receipts and also speaks about our Capital Expenditure $303 million and Mr. Speaker, as we speak about that Capital projection it brings me to ask whether or not ... whether we can take these Estimates very serious. Put another way do we have a credibility gap; a credibility gap why do I say that, Mr. Speaker? Mr. Speaker, I go to the Audit Report for 2004 and 2005 where the Auditor General is speaking, I want to tell you what he says on that question because this has been a recurring decimal in this parliament year in year out where we are just putting in figures to balance the book. He said:-“Over the last 6 years the actual outturn of Capital Revenue has shown that financing for Capital works was not always forthcoming. This meant that adequate funds were not raised to finance and execute a number of projects included in the Capital Budget for the financial years”.He is speaking for years 1,2,3,4, 5; 2001, 2, 3, 4, 5; and basically what he is saying stop this nonsense. And this is what he goes on to advise the Government:-“The Government should consider reviewing the total Estimates for Capital Expenditure since these large shortfalls in Capital Revenue have implications for the credibility of the Capital Budget”.In short, Mr. Speaker, it is not only that we are going to have problems on the Recurrent side but we have sufficient evidence on our history that there would be problems on the Capital side we are not84going to realize it. I had placed a question previously for this question of the House as to how much we had spent on the Capital programme for this year and I do not know because I think earlier in this year in one of these sessions we were about $44 to $50 million and if we got up to $100 million by the end of this year we would have done well [interjection] perhaps we have; over $115? So, credit to you. So, if we could spend $115 again this year we may have done well. If we can do $115 a year we may have done well. The fact is however, we are getting only about 60% of the provisions; only about 60%. So we almost know for certain; we almost know for certain that several of the programmes identified through the Estimates would not be realized that is what I want to say.Mr. Speaker, let me return to some sectoral issues and go to the Summary of Total Expenditure III, I think it is. Mr. Speaker, when we look at the Summary of Total Expenditure and I will go through them or some that are important to me:- Ministry of Finance, $288 million; that is for a hell of lot of activities, Mr. Speaker. Ministry of National Mobilisation, $29 million $29.6; Ministry of Education, $129 million; National Security, $153 million pretty huge sum; Ministry of Agriculture, productive Ministry compared to the police and other things $24 million; now I will think with Moko and Black Sigatoka and all of the marketing problems we could do something more ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If my Honourable friend would just give way over one matter which he is reading incorrectly. The figure in relation to when it is mentioned National Security is National Security Airports and Seaports so included in that is $54 million immediately for the International Airport I raised that money is there for the ports and so forth. I put that in the mix in addition of course the salaries you have to pay for the police and the $19 million for the Coast Guard. I just ... let’s ... you know we could have difference in opinions but let us have the factual statements.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: It is obvious; it is obvious Mr. Speaker, I just truncated it is written here, Ministry of National Security etcetera that is understood. In fact I will come to Airports and other aspects later in my presentation. I am not going to square off with the Prime Minister this year on any matter whatsoever you know, I am breathing hard and focusing keeping my eyes on the target. [Knocking of desk]DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Linton on your steps.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Linton is more than deserving to be on my steps. He has all the attributes required to be inside of this House and to play a leading role in this country and he would have my support.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Rural Transformation, $17 million and in that regard let me say I am encouraged by some of the direction I have been seeing that has been emerging with that Ministry to take more of the development of the country outside of the city centres and when I was looking at constituency development, I looked to see some of the things that were being targeted so you have support for that; but I want to say that these are Ministries that have to become more robust and active in our estimates and economic life in this country; but let me just in the interest of time speed, on Mr. Speaker. The Ministry of Urban Development, $585million I mean this is no disrespect for the competence of the Minister but at $5 million we really need to see whether that Ministry cannot be merged, incorporated or given more to do in this country because for the overheads to carry that Ministry we can get more bang for the buck you know. The Permanent Secretary, Senior Administrative Officer and so many technical people it has more senior people than junior staff in that Ministry, $5 million. I simply want to say we are not looking at the soft issues that are critical to the country going forward. Ministry of Telecommunications, $17 million; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs $10 million; point I wanted to make is that the Ministries I believe can do more for job creation activities and for growing the national cake are once again those Ministries that are least financed. So it begs the question to what extent our Estimates would get us out of this crisis, are we going to go round in circles, in circles, in circles, in circles because once we could put our heads down and rest well at nights and we are safe and secure never mind we are hungry bellied all is well? That is the question I am asking.Mr. Speaker, I made a statement on Transfers earlier and I made the point that government indeed is a unique animal: a special financial body perhaps it is the only one that really does not have a balance sheet you know. You know nobody knows how rich the government is, I mean. You go to any business place in town you have an idea of its worth not so with governments you know; not so with governments and that is why I provoked the question earlier today about our credit ratings because it gives one some idea of how the international community sees you; not just in terms of what you are doing and your ability to service the debt but what is your worth and the fact that we have chosen not to go back and to come and brandish one more time the credit ratings it tells me we are not so sure we can withstand the international scrutiny, so I did not respond when my question was brushed aside today. But I said that to make the point, Mr. Speaker, I said that to make the point, Mr. Speaker, one of the features of this government has been the creation of institutions after institutions after institutions the latest of them is BRAGSA which we had our fair say in this parliament before; but you know what is my concern, Mr. Speaker, is that too many of these institutions that have been created developed to be albatrosses around the neck of the national government. We could list a whole load of them and all of them are functioning on some sorts of ridiculous overdraft and therefore there is an extent, Mr. Speaker, to which the Estimates all so does not capture the real cost of government doing its business because much of it is ciphered off outside the immediate oversight of the parliament of St Vincent and the Grenadines. I did not say the parliament; I said the immediate.But Mr. Speaker, I want to divert a little from the economic band go back to the political context that I alluded to earlier because I do not know where I misplaced or if in fact I have so misplaced it, I may be corrected and I would be the first to apologized but coming not long after the Referendum, Mr. Speaker, I thought we had some unfinished governance issues that would have been reflected in the year 2010 given the sort of urgency that were highlighted in those debates of a few weeks and months ago. I thought we were sold for example on the need for doing something more directly for constituency development in fact I noted for even Dominica who was just praised this morning has introduced a Ministry for Constituency I do not remember what the other ... it is Constituency Affairs or whatever it is that they too have seen the light of going in that regard. I do not see anything in the Estimates, Mr. Speaker, for Local Government provisions for 2010. I do not see anything Mr. Speaker ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: You vote no.86HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: You do not have to have a Referendum to have Local Government; do not come and tell me we vote no; stop talking nonsense that is the problem.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: [Inaudible].HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: You do not have to have a Referendum for the Estimates to reflect you will have Integrity Legislation and Integrity Commission coming into being. You can begin to walk the talk now; you do not have to have a Referendum to have the Human Rights Commission coming into being and the Ombudsman coming into being but they are not captured in the legislative regime projected for this year; your falsehood, misrepresentation and deception that is what I am speaking to; that is what I am speaking to [interjections] that is what I am speaking to [interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members. HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: You should have voted yes. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members. HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: I see, Mr. Speaker, in the Estimates no provisions, [interjections].HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I am not [inaudible] and it is something that we are using all the time at each other and I find that in the House of Assemblies insulting to tell somebody you are talking nonsense that is not one of the parliamentary language that we encourage in here and we have to be very careful. Sometimes I would think that if a lot of these cross-talks are ignored we do better in our debate and I noticed that the Leader of the Opposition had 45 minutes in almost perfect silence and those are 45 minutes that went, I mean he could not believe that he was so far gone because we are accustomed to interrupting and interrupting and interrupting that sometimes it delays the time. So maybe we should just ignore the cross-talks, we know they would come but just ignore them and go on with the point you are making if you think it is an important and or relevant point just go on with it.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, in support of you the Rules actually said that the speaker must be heard in silence. I said that in support of you and that is why I listened to all of the Members before me in silence that is actually the ruling Mr. Speaker and so if they are respectful of you and the House Rules they would so listen to me in silence.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Inaudible].HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, quite so, Mr. Speaker, quite so, thank you, Mr. Speaker and you have my support. I was simply making the point that I saw no provisions for these lofty ideals. But Mr. Speaker, what I did see in the Estimates on a number of occasions was the word ‘review’ is the word Mr. Speaker that is the new vernacular; no stadium for the young people it would be reviewed. I would not go back to the speeches I have them here I would leave them for the Budget in the interest of time. No87ambassador’s residence for $4 million Minister Straker; to be reviewed; no National Productivity Center, to be reviewed; no Workers Institute, to be reviewed [laughs]; Mr. Speaker, is this review a tongue in cheek acceptance of a new reality check?Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, in contrast to the appearance of the word review; review; review; and I am glad you know because in a sense the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs quite rightfully acknowledged in this guava crop to proceed with a $4 million investment for residence in Washington or in New York when we need pressure tablets and all sorts of things in the hospital would not make much sense especially in an election year but I cannot make the same excuse; I cannot make the same excuse for reviewing the establishment of a National Productivity Center; in fact we should be speeding up our input output relationship because that is precisely what we need and now we need it more than ever. So if it is that the Honourable Minister does not have support for it in her Ministry I am supporting her; we need it now more than ever so even in the Public Service this Estimate speaks to that because my suspicion is that we could have a compounded outcome of result and with that 3% that we are paying instead of 5% it would de- motivate the Public Service and rather than things getting better sooner it gets worse before it gets better.Mr. Speaker, how many times did we hear jobs, jobs, jobs; Investment, investment, investment to any of the Estimates provisions? We certainly did not hear that echoing in the presentation of the Honourable prime Minister maybe it is inferred but I will tell you from what I hear on the ground is that the number one pride of people in St Vincent and the Grenadines is for the opportunity to help themselves and provide for themselves and certainly they are looking forward in the provision of these Estimates and in the Budget to come to see what we in this parliament are doing to great greater job opportunities for them and certainly that would have my support 100%. Mr. Speaker, I was struck by the Estimates when I saw we had brought on show now the Airport with a $55 or is it $54 or $57? Fifty Four million dollars loan from the Government of Venezuela. Now, I always have heard, (Honourable Senator Francis taking his maybe even his nap) said that at the time this Airport is concluded we would have no debt that has been said emphatically; emphatically we would have no debt. Mr. Speaker, the 2008 Budget Report of the Honourable Prime Minister I want to go back to page 26 of his report because I have to address this $54 million loan in this context and I am going to read what it says:-Government has been successful in putting in place a coalition of the willing to assist the financing of the Airport; apart from government’s commitment to meeting the cost of property acquisition and project management totalling EC $163 million we have now received from our coalition partners Grants, cash and pledged Grant totalling $388 million from our coalition partners grants cash and pledged grants totaling $388 million as follows:And it is broken down, we have now received, now someone said earlier we must speak the Queen’s English, well this is the Queen’s English, we have now received $388 million, where the money gone, where is it? I know I will get an answer. I know I will get an answer. But we also heard in this House that to date, we have not received a single cent of monies from Venezuela towards the international airport that has been pledged. That was given as an answer here, and rather than receiving and putting88here that we are receiving monies that are outstanding for us we are representing in the estimates a loan. I would have ever expected next week in the Budget to hear we are finally received $360,000.00 times ‘x’ months that we have been holding the forth for Venezuela have finally been refunded to us; not a loan. So who is fooling whom? Well let me read back the rubbish as the Prime Minister has just described it, because it is your handwriting, it is your words, that you would describe it as rubbish, now the Speaker cannot come at me, because the Honourable Speaker said he did not like the idea of rubbish...Mr. Speaker, you are going to ask him in the light of what he said before to stop. May be I should you know, because it is not too long ago that we said we must stop insinuating... Mr. Speaker, let me read the rubbish. Government has been successful in putting in place a coalition of the willing to assist, this is the Prime Minister speaking in 2008, in putting in place a coalition of the willing to assist in the financing of the airport apart from government’s commitment to meeting the cost of property acquisition and project management total EC $163 million, we have now received from our coalition partners grants, cash and pledged grants, have now received, you know, totalling $388 million.Mr. Speaker, this morning in response to a question we were told that we have spent one hundred and something million dollars on the airport thus far I would have expected, I am dismissing what was said to us this morning, you know, about this new Sucre accounting, Sucre currency and that we must not mix up cash with this. I do not know since when the airport gone on a cash basis accounting, maybe fool ah talk but not fool ah listen.Mr. Speaker, [Interjection] Well, it seems that is the new currency to account for St. Vincent airport, because that is the only way....DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, if my Honourable friend will give way. I mean, we have to be careful that we are not demagogic when we are discussing important matters. The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has made a commitment to take care of the project management and we are taking care of the properties. We are proceeding on that basis. I want to find out how $54 million have become $163 million. I also would like to find out, Mr. Speaker, what does a virtual currency between some other countries, that is to say the Sucre, has to do with this. And we have spoken that repeatedly. It is either we are going to have a debate based on facts or that when Senator Leacock is speaking, that everybody simply lock their ears because it has no relation to any reality whatsoever. That is why you can never, ever, I will do everything...HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: You just out of place! You are out of your place to say that I am not worthy. There is nothing about you that makes you more worthy...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator! HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: But Mr. Speaker, you cannot allow him to say that to me!89HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute! You are not directing this show. And you cannot tell me what I must, when I must come in when I must not come in. I am the Speaker here and I will determine when I come in. I sit and I listen to all ah you, you know. I am not saying that his comment may not be correct, that is the point that I am pressing, but you do not try to determine when I must deal with an issue and when I must not deal with an issue. I have just made the point that I would not want any sorts of insults during these debates to be traded across the floor. I have made that point, and you cannot determine when I must deal or must not deal with an issue. I am the one who is speaking here. If I am to deal with every issue when I should deal with them, many of you, I would have to ask you to sit down. It is either you continue the debate or you discontinue.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I chose to terminate my debate at this time. Thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Too many people are trying to tell me, ... this morning there was an issue here where people are trying to tell me when I must, what I must say and what I must not, and I made that point this morning that nobody must tell me how to do my thing.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: May I address you, Mr. Speaker? Mr. Speaker, I want to raise as I have raised with you before the continued insult of the Honourable Prime Minister which he went to another level today; not only that once he is Prime Minister I will never be elected into this Parliament, but for him to say that I am unworthy, unworthy to hold parliamentary office; Mr. Speaker, is going too far.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute. Honourable Prime Minister sit down. The thing about it is this, the Rules indicate if somebody makes a statement to which you object, the Rule indicates how you must deal with that question, I am saying you cannot want me to address a question when both persons as it were have been cursing across the floor.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: I was not.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: But you were actually challenging him and telling him that he cannot make that statement. All you have to do is to make your objections, and I will deal with the issue, and that is how I want the Parliament to run. If something is said that you do not agree with it, it is not for you to fire back at the person, you make your objection, let me deal with the issue and so on, that is how I intend the Parliament to work. But the moment he made the statement, instead of raising an objection you went across and directly attacking him.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: I listened in silence. I attacked him? I defended myself.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well whatever you called it. Whatever tactical way you want to use, method you want to use.90HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: I defended myself.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well, I am saying, I am the one who will deal with those issues and you make your objections according to the Rules. I cannot have mayhem and chaos in the House of Assembly. And it is not going to happen during these debates. And I would say and this would also be addressing the Honourable Prime Minister that we need to exercise some method of decorum and as it were commonsense as we deal with these matters. I know that there are issues that are going to come out that are going to come out that may not be necessarily pleasing to many of us but therefore we have a responsibility. We are not only addressing one another in this House but we are addressing the nation and further afield and we need to ensure that what we say and how we respond to issues that are in keeping with the Rules and the conduct that is expected in this Honourable House. Right, further debate.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, may I crave your indulgence. If my friend the Senator considers the comment unworthy of being an elected member here, that is not referring to his character at all. I was not addressing his character at all. In fact, I am addressing... he is worthy to be here as a Senator, no character issues involved. I am speaking about when he goes on the ‘hustens’ to get votes to come here, he would be unworthy of coming here and I have said so, in the light of exchange that we had about the Sucre and about certain factual matters. That is the point. I was not making any issues about his character.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Any further debate? Honourable Member for... and again I am charging members of this House, I would rather, and I see to me it makes better sense, let the person debate. I mean obviously if violate the rules one must raise the objection under the Rules of the House, and I believe we will spend less time debating here in this House if we would just allow people to make their contributions to the debate and they must do so in honesty. That is very important. Please do so in honesty. Let us continue with the debate. Honourable Member for Northern Grenadines.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Honourable Senator Leacock for his absolutely splendid presentation here this evening. I listened to what he was saying with rapt attention and I am sure members outside of this Honourable House did. Persons who were listening on the radio and he brought to this debate, Mr. Speaker, a depth of analysis that you do not find very often in the estimates debate. You get them in the debates on the Budget because it is a difficult subject to debate. And I thought, Mr. Speaker, that as I listened that I learnt a lot from what he was saying and I am sure that members on the other side did. More importantly, Mr. Speaker, these debates are broadcast live and there are persons who come home and they listen to the debate and they wanted to hear, I am sure what Senator Leacock had to say in the conclusion of his debate. I am saddened by the fact that it was terminated in circumstances, Mr. Speaker, which gives the impression that he is at fault... I got that impressionHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, who gave him that impression? DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I got that impression.91HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: What was done...DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Because of all of your comments...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute please, I am asking you a question just sit and let me... I am asking you a question. Who gave you the chance or the opportunity to get that impression, or the basis on which you formed that impression?DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: The words that you used, Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: And what were those words?DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: The words that you used, Mr. Speaker, gave me that impression.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: What are those words? DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: If I am wrong, I do not have the verbatim response.But I sat here, Mr. Speaker...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Kindly discontinue that type of debate and go on with the Estimates. Right. If you cannot say what I said to give you that impression, a couple three minutes ago, kindly continue with...DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: You want me to repeat every word that you said? HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: If you could.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: No, I am just asking you if that is what you want me to do.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well, I would like to know how did I make the ... DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Okay, Mr. Speaker, I cannot. Okay. I am not thatgood at recollection to repeat every word that you say.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members [gravel thumping] could you continue your debate please.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the point I wish to reiterate the point that Senator Leacock made that there is a serious credibility gap in these Estimates. You listen to the figures, you read the figures as they are presented and quite rightly as the92Honourable Leader of the Opposition pointed out, it became evident, that where there is a funding discrepancy in the Capital Estimates, it is put under other funding. And Senator Leacock pointed out from his reading of the Audit Report that it is not just the Members of this Honourable House who regard this as a serious matter for the presentation of the Estimates and the Budget.Mr. Speaker, I have had a chance to look through various aspects of the document, and I wish to comment on just a few things that struck me because if the truth be told I did not have sufficient time to go through it in the usual detail that we have done in the past. The essential point that seems to have got everybody’s attention on the other side that Senator Leacock made is that when we spoke, or when the Prime Minister spoke about the conceptualization of the Argyle International Airport. Senator Francis spoke about it in this Honourable House, he spoke about the brilliant solution to the funding problem, to sell off all the crown lands and build a debt-free airport. And Senator Leacock is absolutely correct that the reality is quite different. We get a soft loan, yes, of $50 million but it is still $50 million to be re-paid with interest. You would recall when the J.F. Mitchell Airport was built in Bequia that was built with a grant from the European Economic Community. Union Island Airport was financed by the Taiwanese, Mr. Speaker.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If my Honourable friend would give way. Mr. Speaker, it is untrue that the James Mitchell Airport was built entirely by grant funds. There is a substantial amount of other monies which was put by St. Vincent and the Grenadines to that particular project a project incidentally which I supported. I was not in the House.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I am aware the way funding is done, the land is provided by the national government. That was done. This is a matter of public record, so I do not have to defend it here. It is also a matter of public record, Mr. Speaker, that this government must have had very, very serious difficulty in attracting the same kind of financing as has been done in previous airport development project. And that will continue to be a problem, Mr. Speaker, in the construction of the airport.Do not forget there is another flagship project, that was started early in the life of this administration. I speak of the cross-country road; that project, Mr. Speaker, now is in the current estimates and if we look at what it says on page 385, it says, it is under Ministry of Transport and Works, cross-country Road Phase III, the result indicators for 2009, (a) Complete detailed engineering designs, the comment; detailed Designs not started, dependant on the completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment. Point (b), Complete Environmental Impact Assessment; comment, Environmental Impact Assessment commenced but was delayed (due to a lack of funding.) Point letter (c) Complete Environmental Management Plan, comment, this will follow the completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment. Point (d), complete contract negotiations for construction works, comment, this will follow the completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment.My understanding of an Environmental Impact Assessment, Mr. Speaker, is that if it is to be done with integrity it has to be completely open. That is if you determine that the damage to the environment is93too severe then you have to make a decision as to whether you have to mitigate or you have to terminate. So in a sense we do not yet know what is happening with phase III of the Cross-Country Road. Maybe it is time, Mr. Speaker, that we face up to reality and say that this project simply is not going anywhere. Another $2.7 million have been allocated in the capital estimates towards it, but it has been eight years, Mr. Speaker, longer than the projected completion date for the international airport, and this adds seriously to the credibility gap that Senator Leacock talked about.Mr. Speaker, couple of other points I want to mention in the Ministry of Transport and Works, I see in the estimates again, we have allocations for learning resource centres, my understanding is that these centres are funded by the Taiwanese and the idea is that you would have one centre at least in each constituency. I might have taken the former Minister at his word if he was still in portfolio but evidently, Mr. Speaker, my pleas have gone on deaf ears, because over the last three years at least, I have raised this issue in this Honourable House because you have a learning resource centre in Central Leeward, in fact, there might be two, right, Sir Louis. I am asking. I think there might be two in Central Leeward, one in South Leeward, building one in West Kingstown, one in Central Kingstown. I mean if these things were to be planned properly, Mr. Speaker, you would have a more even distribution and then you fill in the gaps as you go along, because I am sure the people in West Kingstown can sometimes use the one in East Kingstown and so on, you do not have to have a passport, or you do not have to pay a dollar tax to go from one to the other. But, you know, people having any kind of activity in my constituency, you have to have meetings outside on the hard court. At one time the secondary school that used to be available as a community centre of sorts was not available, you had to go and beg for the key. The Clive Tannis Playing Field which at one time was serviceable is now becoming a hazard.So again, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to see that the progress of these projects, they can be useful facilities if properly employed in the various constituencies. I have my serious doubts about how they are being used currently but thanks to the Taiwanese, but if Mr. Speaker, serious attention is to be paid to it a centre is desperately needed in the Northern Grenadines, in the Port Elizabeth area or Hamilton. [Interjection] After the next general election, that is right, because I will build it myself.Mr. Speaker, there is another issue on page 672, there is a project or programme for the development of sea walls. I noticed that this has been discontinued. This ought to be an on-going project, Mr. Speaker, because I can only speak about the areas that I am familiar with, as my own constituency, but I am sure that there are other places throughout the country, in the Southern Grenadines and on the mainland where such a programme would be of tremendous benefit. Two examples, one I have raised in this Honourable House before, the walkway at Belmont which is essential to tourism in Port Elizabeth which was destroyed by hurricane Omar, which I believe was in October 2008, it is in urgent need of attention. A few months ago, ... it is hazard, people fall their all the time. This is urgent, a few weeks ago, a month ago or thereabouts, there was a tourist that came in, the very first day he arrived, he tried to walk down there he fell and broke his ankle, it is a hazard to everybody who used that facility. So this is a programme, Mr. Speaker, that needs some attention. In Paget Farm the main road is under threat all the94time from the waves, and a similar type of facility like you have in Layou for example, I think would be extremely useful and it is something that I think ought to be reinstated and given needed funds.Mr. Speaker, I suppose the Honourable Member is probably had a weight lifted off his shoulder in a way because this is ‘swan song’. Mr. Speaker, I have had several calls recently, and emails from concerned persons, in fact, just last Sunday I spoke with a tourist from Canada who has been complaining about the dilapidation of Port Elizabeth, which in this tourist season really is a sight to behold. The gutters sometimes you can smell from 500 yards off. The median in the middle of the harbour which is intended to look, you plant beautiful flowers and it is just weeds growing there. And this person was basically remarking on that, how can you be seriously talking about tourism when your community members... I have done it shall myself, several times cleaning up the... not just the harbour, all the beaches, I may have to. But if that is the Honourable Member’s sense of the responsibility of government and how you allocate scarce resources then there is no wonder we are in the predicament we are in. This might be a joke; everything in this House is a joke to some people. But, Mr. Speaker, it is true, this is just an isolated case in my constituency, but I am sure again that it is not unique but I can only talk about my constituency, I like to talk from evidence not just from hearsay, and this is something that has been brought to my attention at least four times within the last two weeks. And it needs urgent attention.I see in the estimates there is talk about a plan for development of Port Elizabeth, the Prime Minister sometimes refer to as the ‘Belmar Plan’. I do not care what name he gives it, but there is no allocation in the estimates for the development. There is talk about it on page 250 under recurrent expenditure but nothing put in the capital estimates for the development of it. So again we see the yawning credibility gap, developing in this exercise.Mr. Speaker, it is with considerable concern that I have followed the course of development in the tourism sector. This is supposed to be an area we look to as a future economy, yet we hear of decline in the yachting sector, break-ins of yachts all across the country, even close to the coastguard base in Calliaqua, Port Elizabeth, Southern Grenadines and the Leeward Coast of the mainland.Mr. Speaker, we cannot continue like this, just drifting along. Last year, according to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank figures, the yachting subsector declined by I think somewhere around 60%, 2008, and we have had a steady decline since 2001 in this very important sector of our economy. Again the ECCB in its earlier publications indicated that this is an important part of the economy because it is a lot that trickle down, there are a lot of spin offs that come from it. And I think that it is time that the urgency be given to it, that the serious problem of lack of security on the water be given some attention.I asked in this Honourable House, you know, earlier last year what happened to the Customs boat that has been moored in the harbour, which could be used for patrols; and the Honourable Prime Minister said that it had been brought up here to the mainland for regular maintenance; but it has not returned, and Mr. Speaker, something needs to be done. Because here is how it works. If the yachts come in, no matter their numbers and 6 o’clock everybody goes back on board, the restaurants do not get any business. The taxi drivers do not get much business. The vendors on the street do not get much business,95the bars do not get any business; because they buy their bottle of wine or they bring it from Martinique or they cook and drink on board and when they ready they pull up anchor and they go. We are a hospitable people, Mr. Speaker, but I do not think we put our investment in the yachting industry just simply to be good hosts. We do it also because we want to make money and because it is an important part of our tourism sector. Years and years ago, you know, back in the 1990’s I hear people talked about this because in 2001, 2002 still you had a lot of chandlery businesses in Bequia. Very few of them remain or they have shrunken to little corner shops. Something seriously has happened over the past ten years, Mr. Speaker, and we have to reverse it, otherwise having beautiful waters in the Grenadines, the Tobago Cays which we are trying to make an international heritage site, we have all the tools Mr. Speaker, but we have to employ them. And I do not think that all the pleas that have been made, not just from me, because I know other persons have done so, have had any effect in addressing these very, very serious problems.Another subject, Mr. Speaker, which I think every member in this Honourable House, has a keen understanding of and readily identifies with and that is what is happening with our sporting facilities. We talk about providing opportunities for our youth. We talk about wellness revolution, about furthering the wellness programmes and every time I listen to the radio programmes, Mr. Speaker, you hear complaints about the lack of facilities or facilities you know, that are kept under tight lock and key, that they are kept like precious artifacts not to be used by the community.In this House, the Honourable Minister of Sports , every time we ask him a question about various facilities there is some review or programme going on to deal with it. It says here at page 144 of the Estimates, that the 2009 indicators that they would embark on a comprehensive programme to maintain and upgrade the sporting facilities. In the comments section, it says that the sports council is dealing with it. Well the Sport Council in its grants in Appendix II, the grant that was given to the Sports Council this year, Mr. Speaker, is $710,000.00. I suspect last year it was probably less, but I do not see how the Sports Council with $710,000.00 with all the other stuff they have to do can look after the maintenance and upgrading of sporting facilities, hard courts, playing fields and so on throughout the country. Mr. Speaker, this is something that can be of such beneficial impact in the community. I see it all the time, it is one of the most... any community that you go in, it is one of the most used public facility. You use it for carnival events, you use it for religious events, you use it for sporting events. I see people going now and just walking and trying to get some exercise. These are small investments that could have such tremendous return in cultural development, in wellness, in taking the pressure off our health care system; in helping our young children to grow up in programmes that can mould them into good athletes first, but more importantly into good citizens. A stitch in time saves nine, Mr. Speaker. Nine stitches.Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I was at the Clive Tannis Playing Field, and you have heard me complaining in this Honourable House about the deterioration of that facility. I have seen it also at Campden Park, and thankfully, there was a long piece of galvanize that had been slapping in the wind, it was there for the last six months, it is over six feet long and it was on the ground and I said thank God it maybe fell in the night. But there are others that are doing the same thing, Mr. Speaker, every Saturday morning there is a programme there for the kids, between 40 and 50 kids between the age of 6 and 13 playing soccer, if96another piece falls at the wrong time, it could cause serious injury. [Interjection] It cannot. It has gone beyond that. Joke again, joke again. Mr. Speaker, this is something that needs some attention. I said as well, what I would like to see in the Estimates, is more allocation specifically to developing regional playing fields, installing lights in regional playing fields, Mespo, North Leeward, North Windward, Northern Grenadines Southern Grenadines.Mr. Speaker, you go to Barbados, Antigua, any of those places, you fly out, you see playing fields right next to each other with lights. What is so difficult about that? You had $4 million to campaign in a referendum you could not win, why not allocate those funds there, it is all a matter of priority, Mr. Speaker. And the priorities have to be with the people who put us in this Honourable House, Mr. Speaker, not with our own personal agendas. And I will hope that the promise that the Honourable Minister of Sports made last year in the House even though it is not reflected in these Estimates, maybe you could have a special warrant to carry out the programme that he says that he would do, which is to upgrade and improve the sporting facilities throughout the country. It is needed. Simple, simple things like cutting the grass, Mr. Speaker, I know of footballers who came up from Bequia to compete in a competition and could not play because the grass was not cut, the game had to be cancelled at Campden Park. Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Member is saying that I am a liar.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: He never said so. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: He is saying I am a liar. He is saying that it is nottrue. Well, he needs to take that back, I will sit down.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Saying it is untrue is a parliamentary accepted. You know that. Untrue is parliamentary accepted. It is your interpretation.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Well, I think the Honourable Member has apologized, Mr. Speaker. And I accept it. Mr. Speaker, it is really a matter for governments to turn their attention to priorities of the people. There are small things that could make so much difference in people’s lives in various communities. We do not have to centralize everything in Kingstown and in Arnos Vale. We have to go where the people live and provide the services that they need in those communities. I am sure that when the Budget is presented on Monday that some of these matters hopefully will be addressed, you still have time to rewrite it Prime Minister. And if they are not, Mr. Speaker, obviously you will hear from us on this side of the House.Mr. Speaker, I just have one point that I want to address, which I meant to deal with a little earlier on...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: And you have ten minutes to deal with that one.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I would not need all of that. Mr. Speaker, I remember several, about three or four years ago now, there were meetings conducted by persons in the water taxi business in Bequia. And I think they did the same in the Southern Grenadines where they had97had an interest in regularizing the business and the use of moorings and the services that are provided by them to the yachting community. Something, Mr. Speaker, that can have tremendous benefit, both in terms of the services provided to the yachts and of course as a business to the persons who operate in that industry. And I see reference to it here again on page 605 of the Estimates. I attended a couple of those meetings. I remember one was down at Lower Bay at the Rotary Centre, there was another meeting at one time at I think it was at Whale Boner, in Belmont, and it might have been Frangipani. I cannot remember exactly. The point is that there were persons who were in this business who wanted to be able to put their businesses on a more respected and regular footing. And a lot of talk was exchanged at those meetings and subsequently, I am sure and nothing has been done, and it is taking far too long, and I am sure that the persons who were initially interested may not be interested anymore because they have seen it come and go and nothing has changed. But hope springs eternal in the human breast I suppose. On page 605 will give some hope to those persons who want to see something done, and I would implore the Minister responsible, which would be the Honourable Prime Minister to do something about improving the situation, with respect to the water taxis and what in the Estimates here are referred to as boat boys issues throughout the country, not just in Bequia, but I know it is in the Southern Grenadines and elsewhere as well.These Mr. Speaker, are things that matter to people on the ground, and it does not take a lot of money. All it takes is some thought and the follow through to see that they are executed because, so often we have all these glorious plans, you know and everything is neat and fine on paper, but the personnel and the commitment to carry them through is often lacking and this is something that needs to be changed. We are entering a new decade now, 2010, significant dates like that, you know people make resolutions and say well I will try to be different, I will try to be better. Well let us all do so, Mr. Speaker, and aspire to doing that as Members of this Honourable House and as members of government and serve with the humility and the attention to the needs of our constituents who put us here and what they expect of us. I will have more to say, next week, Mr. Speaker, on the debate of the Budget. Thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate? Honourable Minister of Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, Estimates 2010 supports the activities which we must continue throughout this year. Mr. Speaker, as I sit on this side and I heard Honourable Members speaker, I had to reflect on what we would have undergone in coming to these figures, and for the ordinary man out there listening to us might think that our government just sat and put some figures on a paper, but it is not so. Mr. Speaker, the technical officers within our ministries, and they are permanent secretaries, have done a great amount of work in forging the way forward. Since last year we have been hearing that this year would not be a walk in the park. We have been hearing get the small things right. We have been asked in other words to adhere to prudential standards, to make sure that we do not waste. To make sure that we take care of all the resources that are given to us.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I want before I go any further to focus a little on my own ministry. This year the gains in education were consolidated. Last year during the debates, I stood up and I gave details about what we plan to do within the year. The following programmes have been established and98this so even when we faced the constraints imposed by the global economic crisis. I want to state clearly that we in the Ministry of Education are delivering where it matters most.For programmes 381 on page 235 there is a caption there, “Free Primary Education Programme”. Never before have there been so much emphasis on early childhood care and development. The literature has also indicated the importance of the early years. We are in 2010 putting the structures in place. A new programme is being created to deal with this matter and I would like before I move on any further, to say to those persons, those persons who have their private pre-schools to say thank you, because government was not able to do it all. The government recognizing that early childhood education can minimize disparities between children as they enter the formal education system is saying thank you once again.However, when a needs analysis was conducted in 2006 it was discovered that there was widespread disparity between the privately operated schools with regard to physical conditions, quality of staff, administrative practices, accountability and access to centres. It was also found that 41.6% of the nation’s 3-5 year olds were not enrolled in pre-schools, and Mr. Speaker, may I cite the following that we found. We found that fees ranged from $25 to $280 per month. We found that teachers and caregivers were inadequately trained. Learning resource centres were not provided in many centres. There was high turnover of staff due to poor wage structure and lack of incentives. Children were denied access when parents were unable to pay. So government determined to improve access and quality in the education sector plan, it recognized the pre-primary service as the foundation for lifelong learning and set about to ensure the implementation of a proper monitoring system and regulations to strengthen and support the pre-primary sector. So in 2009 we started with nine early childhood centres and these are located now in Owia, Langley Park, Peruvian Vale, Marriaqua, Cane End, Fair Hall, Troumaca, Bequia and Edinboro. Provision was made initially for 37 teachers in those centres and for an adequate number of attendants who will be available to take care of children from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on page 235 we see an amount of $1,308,846.00.Mr. Speaker, I want to look at the caption student support services programme on page 231. I mentioned before that we in education are delivering where it matters most. Over the years the School for Children with Special Needs, operated from Kingstown, Georgetown and Bequia, and I am pleased to say that during this year we had some persons coming from England and they were partnering with us to help out with the school in Bequia, the Sunshine School. So, with the implementation of universal secondary education we saw the need for support for children considered to be at risk. We have now created what we call the student support services.Mr. Speaker, 30 teachers received specialized training in assessment and intervention strategies as part of our consultancy to establish a diagnostic system to detect learning disabilities and I did here Minister Thompson made reference to it. A total of 15 positions have been established to assist in taking care of these students. Among the 15 positions we have the services of a psychologist, three counselors and other trained staff to meet the needs of our children. And this additional cost to the consolidated fund will be $991,769.00 as is shown on page 235.99I come to another critical juncture and it is called appointment of graduates in our primary school. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as is evident 65 graduates will be appointed in primary schools. We have in the past few years focused on training of teachers. Many of them have gotten their Bachelor’s degrees under various programmes. Under our various projects 42 principals and senior teachers graduated with degrees; thirty-two in Education Administration and 10 in early childhood education. Forty-five principals and senior teachers of primary schools completed Bachelor’s degrees in leadership and management. Five completed degrees in guidance and counseling. Thirty-one completed programmes in literacy. In addition, persons have completed Bachelor’s degrees on their own. These appointments will amount to an approximate sum of $200,000.00 being spent on the service. And I can ask you to refer to page 196.Mr. Speaker, the following capital projects will continue for us for this year. The secondary school expansion, the allocation of $1.5 million will be spent in completing the expansion programme in 2010; Thomas Saunders Secondary, George Stevens Secondary, Troumaca Secondary, Sandy Bay Secondary, Buccament Bay Secondary, all this is shown on page 652.The book loan scheme which provides for students in the secondary school will be funded by $1.125 million as is shown on page 650. The continuation of the Technical Vocational Education project in the sum of $1 million, aimed at improving the delivery of technical and vocational education.Increase in programmes generally, in primary education we have been allocated an increase of $1.8 million as is shown on page 196. We must particularly note that all head teachers who are graduates will be appointed as such. The number of graduate head-teachers therefore moved to 55, from the 41 that we had in 2009. And this is shown on page 197. In secondary education a total increase in the sum of $1.2 million is shown on page 204.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we are consolidating. We must get the small things right. On page 222, an increase of $254,249.00 is given in the school feeding programme, to cater for increasing prices and the addition of the Early Childhood Centres that have been established. Mr. Speaker, we are talking care of our people. We are taking care of the poor and who will speak if we in the government do not, nobody else will. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the government is clear when we thought of doing this that nutrition is important and so we made this provision. Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but say, long live the Education Revolution. The only and truest way out of poverty we must educate our people.Mr. Speaker, cannot help but ask us to refer to page 366 and where I see banana services unit, coming from the Valley, Mr. Speaker, from time to time I see acres lying fallow because of the fact that we had had the Moko disease and we cannot do anything until after 18 months. But we are going to soldier on, we are going to continue and a wise government has put $1.8 million there to help with banana services unit. So the people in the banana business can expect that we are going to move on. Our poor people must live and there is a biblical verse which says; “Seest a man diligent in his ways he shall stand before kings.” And we have to be diligent in the things that we do, we must feed ourselves and we must be able to live.100Mr. Speaker, one of our past Governors, Governor General Sir David Jack, I remembering him saying that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines we must have health care for all by the year 2000, but it did not happen for the people in Evesham and I am saying thanks today that I see improvement of primary health care in phase II, on page 678 that those improvements will be made and in particular for the people of Evesham who would have had it extremely hard that their hopes can be alive. From time to time, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, brothers and sisters in this country, big ones, little ones, will come to the Ministry. I see people with huge goiters people will tell me of cancer in various parts of their bodies, they are begging for money to go overseas. How do we help them, we are trying to get our modern medical complex and despite all of the criticisms that have been given I am very grateful that I see $9.3 million on page 680. I visited down on the Leeward coast and we were really in a team looking to see a good place where we can have the oxygen production plant. Mr. Speaker, from time to time, in our schools I remember when I was principal, I had to buy extra clothing to keep for children, especially when they got wet that I had to keep them dry. And oxygen is very important. I was at the Levi Latham Health Centre just recently and oh the nurse really worked hard, because there were so many people there waiting to have oxygen. The oxygen is very important. And here again we are coming to the rescue of our people.Our Centre of Excellence, as we move on, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we have our curriculum. We have a unit with personnel who we expect to go out to the schools and make sure that it is implemented. And Mr. Speaker, we are striving for excellence in the business of education. I see something that I had been looking at myself on page 692, access roads to tourism sites, $565,000.00 to have those access roads upgraded.Mr. Speaker, there is much more that I can offer but I want to say to us this evening that we need to heed the call of our leader. We get the small things right but that we try our best to adhere to prudential standards. We must be excellent in the way that we handle the affairs of our country. These are hard economic times, not only with St. Vincent and the Grenadines but throughout the entire world. And I want to end again by saying to those who are listening, this government did not just sit and put figures on a page but we worked hard with the technical officers, within the ministries, the various ministries and we came up with this. We had to give the whys and the wherefores, of the projects that we were asked to have and if you could not have a good reason why you asked for that project it was dismissed, and it was after a long time, many deliberations that we happened to come up with the figure on our paper here today. Mr. Speaker, I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate. Honourable Senator I think at this time we recognize you but we will take the suspension break for refreshment at this time.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, we suspend until 7:30 p.m. perhaps.101Question put and agreed to. House suspended at 7:00 p.m. House resumed at 7:40 p.m.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members we resume the debate on the Estimates, and we recognize at our break the Honourable Senator Cummings whom we now invite to debate.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I am going to spend just a few minutes to make some observation on the estimates 2010 which has been said by Members in this Honourable House, was received not too long ago by ourselves.Mr. Speaker, firstly, I spent some time perusing the document, paying particular attention to the capital side of things. And I wish to reinforce point made by my colleague Senator Leacock about the veracity and the seriousness or lack thereof in this document. I find it difficult to rationalize whether or not the document was still in the incubation period and it had to be rushed to us, because I see so many errors that cry out for serious explanation, I am amazed, I cannot begin to follow what it is all about.I wish to start, Mr. Speaker, with the rehabilitation of the Vigie Highway, a project which is estimated to cost $29.1 million to end in 2015, page 674, 675. I see that in the year 2000 the revised expenditure is zero, we have $1.6 million estimated to be spent in 2010, 43.5 to be spent in 2011, and $8 million in 2012. Item No. 551001, rehabilitation of the Vigie Highway, the sum total, the estimated project cost, I do not know whether Vigie is in St. Lucia, but I cannot understand what Vigie Highway we are talking about here, $29.1 million it is estimated for.Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate if other members when they have their time could make some sense...HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Just to ..., if you would give way just to elucidate for him, which is allowed under the rules...HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I wish the Honourable Member could do so on his own time. I wish to simple proceed with my presentation. And then in due course you could explain what it is about.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Let me just explain to the Honourable Member, what this is about. The thing is you can either give way to him, or he can move on a Point of Order which means, that you would have to sit down while we deal with the point of order, so it is either you want to give way, unless you just want to leave it at that.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Mr. Speaker, just for elucidation, the Vigie Highway according to the Ministry of Transport and Works and Minister will deal with it substantially stretches from the Roundabout to Peruvian Vale. Thank you. That is in the Ministry of Transport and Works; I do not want the Senator to go off too much on that. Okay, that is the entire Vigie Highway.102HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay, thank you.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: What a definition. Nothing was spent in 2009 on that project, according to this document. Very strange Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that in 2009 a portion of what we know as a Vigie Highway was resurfaced. But we said it is from the Roundabout, is not it included. I am saying that in document there is no expenditure in 2009, are we talking about the same thing again. Okay.Now, Mr. Speaker, I move on, the simple reality is that something needs to be corrected quite clearly and again, I am just making some observations, you know. Mr. Speaker, similarly on page 600...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: May, I help, because I can understand... what happen is this, the European Union Money which was available for spending on Windward Highway and that is the part between Rabacca and Sandy Bay. Under the European Rules for particular pieces of projects, because of all the delays with engineering preparation by the consultants and the like, the time span for that money under that particular project had come to an end, and the European Union said look, we cannot spend the money there but we will spend it somewhere else with the same contractor. You spend your own money there. So that money that which is spent on that part of the Windward Highway was outside of the definition of the Vigie Highway. That is what happened. There is no mystery about it. But the remarks in the column, cannot explain every single thing, although what I have said here, I had made public in a statement and so to had the Minister of Transport and Works.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am saying on page 680, the Oxygen Plant and bulk storage, the 2010 estimated expenditure is two point something million dollars. But we have an estimated project cost of $638,000.00. I am just confused.Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Senator Leacock pointed to the source of funds, the type of funds to be used on the airport at Argyle correctly pointed out the significant change from grants to loans. I have to observe, Mr. Speaker, under the capital expenditure grants we have a project estimated at $116.2 million to be completed in 2014, and I speak of the Cross-Country Road; 672 the Cross-Country Road under capital expenditure grant. Mr. Speaker, much has been said about this elusive project. Earlier today, the Honourable Minister of Health indicated that there are currently minor problems, relatively minor problems with respect to the supply of water in this country, and indeed the purchase of water tender is one of the mechanisms for alleviating this. Mr. Speaker, I simple want our people to understand and appreciate that in the distribution of approximately $6 to $8 million gallons of water per day the use of a 15,000 gallon capacity storage tank is the proverbial drop in the ocean. It is intended merely for extreme emergency.Mr. Speaker in this country we rely exclusively for potable water supply on the rain. In the process the protection of our forest is the most critical component to the sustainability of this type of supply. And103one would hope that in the planning to deal with the eventual drought, and Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, one does not want to attempt to be soothsayer, but in the natural processes, there is a cycle when these things occur. Our country has not experienced a severe drought in a very long time. Haiti had not experienced a severe earthquake for some time. The simple reality is Mr. Speaker, a serious drought not unlike the kind that is affecting Venezuela in a very severe way can and is likely to occur not only here in St. Vincent but in other islands of the Caribbean and sometime in the future, and we need very seriously to begin to address mitigating measures.Mr. Speaker, when one looks at what happened at Montreal within the first couple of months of drought, that supply almost goes to zero. Majorca drops off next, followed by Dallaway and so forth. One of the things that CWSA ought to look at seriously is first of all, as I said the protection of the catchments, because a well-protected catchment serves as a buffer and can help us to endure longer periods of drought. But in addition to that, we must be in a position to utilize all available sources of water, and in such a dire situation the Cumberland River system which includes hydroelectricity and potable water supply is one of the larger catchment and is likely to be able to have some residual flows for longer periods of time. Therefore, part of the relief mechanisms must include our ability to extend water supply from that side of the island to interconnect with all of the other existing systems. The question of trying to use truck borne water in these dire circumstances I say again is not a solution. It is not nearly a solution.And again, Mr. Speaker, I leave that for what it I worth. But then, Mr. Speaker, the cross-country road, no matter where it is built is going to have impact on these same catchments we are talking about. And when we have the opportunity for such relatively large sums of grant money one would hope, for obvious reasons that such funds will be challenged to projects that can bring benefits to the people of this country. Not pose a potential threat to the way of life as we know it. Not very many sources of grant funds are available today. We have seen the dwindling of our ability to utilize grant money available through the EU, through STABEX, et cetera. And we know, Mr. Speaker, that one of, not the only, that one of the dilemmas of this process is the lack of institutional capacity to manage effectively, the projects within the ever tightening requirements of the EU and indeed other agencies. So until and unless we attempt to seriously address the institutional gap, whether it be in the EDF project management unit or other institution the sources of funds will remain but green. In other words, we would not be able to realize it, and given the fiscal outlook within this document, Mr. Speaker, where we are seriously in the deficit, one would have hoped that more serious attempt be used to make more efficient use of grant fund. And in the case of the cross-country road, I am ashamed to say it really baffles the mind why we are continuing to even talk about this project, given all that is evident. Dr. Godwin Friday pointed to the comparative, strange statements in relation to this cross-country road Where we are in terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment. Yet we are talking about building a road and completing it by... now I see it is extended to 2014. So Mr. Speaker, one really is at a loss to understand what is the intent of this document in terms of use of funds and whether we are serious or not.104I want also, Mr. Speaker, to make another observation. The Honourable Prime Minister in speaking of the transfers that is monies that Central Government pays to other agencies with respect to the payments for salaries et cetera, the Honourable Prime Minister referred to the need to make adjustment in the benefits to graduate teachers who are teaching in the... I used to say the A’ Level College, it is called the Community College, I believe, and Mr. Speaker, this begs the question, very seriously, where are we, with respect to the reclassification exercise. The reason why I raise this strong red flag, Mr. Speaker, is that my understanding is, very red flag, very dangerous red flag, very deliberate, when one conducts a reclassification exercise, it is precisely to make arrangements to deal with these kinds of consequential decisions. One has to be very careful with tinkering with the grade system, et cetera. And indeed I was looking at the appendix, at the back of this document and I counted one hundred and thirty something job positions with an asterisk and a note tells me that these represents positions that were not yet evaluated, or are being reviewed; and that tells me, Mr. Speaker, quite fairly that the reclassification exercise is anything but complete. I reiterate the very reason for the reclassification exercise is to juxtapose one’s job in relation to the other. If you move one without adjusting the others, you need to do the whole exercise all over again. That is the whole... you put them in groups, in categories with commonality. So when you are going to tinker with the exercise again, you are adding confusion.Mr. Speaker, we really need... we have invested substantial sums of money; brought in consultants to do this and let me make the point, we have always said that we understand and appreciate the serious work involved. It is not an easy exercise, it is a very serious exercise, but if you are doing it, for heaven sake do it and do it properly. Do it. Complete it, so that you do not have to be juggling, these are some of the issues that can be resolved. Mr. Speaker, I speak from experience on this subject. I participated fully, albeit in a much smaller institution at every stage over a number of years and I understand the depth of the work but I also appreciate the value of doing the work correctly, because you make allowances for changes as you go along. If you begin to adjust individual job positions without taking into account how it relates to the others then the whole exercise is wasted. And one really hopes and pray, Mr. Speaker, that that job evaluation and reclassification exercise which was started will be completed so that all positions could be weighed in relation to one another, so that nobody would feel that they are being favoured at the expense of other people who all have to contribute to national development.Mr. Speaker, there are a number of other matters which stand out like sore thumb in this document. But as I said the purpose of making a presentation tonight is to raise just a few observation, and therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would reserve my other comments for discussion of the Budget and I thank you, very much.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate? Honourable Minister of Transport.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, in my brief presentation I want to congratulate the Prime Minister and his ministry for coming up with these estimates where all the various ministries and departments would have had their part to play in this process.105Mr. Speaker, when one looks at the Capital Estimates for the year 2010, one would see that the various ministries and sectors have their share of events and activities within the capital programme. A number of the capital projects, Mr. Speaker, will be completed during 2010 as is projected in the Estimates, while others would continue towards their targeted date.Mr. Speaker, earlier on the Member for the Northern Grenadines he belaboured the point on learning resource centre which is an innovation by the Unity Labour Party administration. He tried to change the concept by stating that Taiwan funded it, yes, they did but if this administration, did not have the foresight to see that we put structures, edifices in place, different than what you used to be before, where you used to have just four walls, what we used to call community centres, without all the other aesthetics to them we would not have had these beautiful learning resource centres and something that they had criticized earlier on and I see that he is asking for one such centre in Hamilton or Port Elizabeth.But, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to him that, we are doing these things by a plan and programme and not everyone will get theirs at the same time. I noticed he mentioned that some communities have to. I have none. [Interjection] Well, the Learning Resource Centre at the Community College which is a national facility, but it is different than those we have in the constituencies, but what is happening in East St. George is that, we reconstruct the Calliaqua Town Hall and that would accommodate a number of various sectors and that would act as a learning resource centre in itself. And I would have thought that you would have stated, when you mentioned you have to ask for the key to get use of the school for certain activities, you would have commended the Ministry of Education and the government for giving you such a beautiful primary school in Bequia. You could have mentioned that. You do have a beautiful primary school. You could have asked, the Minister of Education would have allowed you to use that facility. It is there for Vincentians so just apply.Mr. Speaker, these capital projects that we would be embarking on in 2010, would be of immense socio- economic benefit to this country. Work will be created. Conditions of living for people will be improved and the general outlook of the communities within St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be enhanced.A while ago, Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Senator Cummings mentioned about the Vigie Highway, and Senator Francis gave him an explanation as to where the Vigie Highway starts and where it ends. And he pointed [out] that the programme or the project is slated to be completed in 2015. Mr. speaker, the coming on-stream by the international airport by 2012 would see that route being used more often than not by persons below Kingstown going out to the airport. And so we would have to improve the roads there, widen it in places, different service to really accommodate the travelling public, not only going towards the airport but also those who traverse the other side of the country, thus easing the pressure on one road and transferring some of the heavy traffic that we have in St. Vincent on other roads. That is why we are rehabilitating a number of our roads, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and improving them.Mr. Speaker, I always stated that many of the roads were not built to accommodate the volume of traffic and the weight of the vehicles and so on, and that is why a number of our roads are deteriorating thus106far. But, I would hasten to say that since we came into office previously under the first Minister of Transport and Works 2001, the Honourable Julian Francis, we have been doing what is necessary on our roads so that they can take the impact and the volume of traffic and the weight of traffic. And we really have done a good job I must dear say during that time. We will still have the complaint about various roads in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. So Mr. Speaker, we have rehabilitation of a number of roads within St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Congo Valley Road, the Kama Kaba Road, those are roads that have started and we are hoping to complete them within 2010. And these are important roads, Mr. Speaker, for the people in those communities, the residents and farmers because when these roads are properly fixed and maintained, it is easier for the farmers to get out their produce and to have quality produce to take to the market.Mr. Speaker, we have within our Ministry of Transport and Works renovation of government buildings, we have to look after the government buildings and ensure that they are in good conditions; rehabilitation of the South Leeward Highway that is another capital project that would enhance the quality of the road service within South Leeward. Money is earmarked for that completion of the reconstruction of the Town Hall as I mentioned a while ago. We want to do some work on the Registry. Mr. Speaker, we still have to rehabilitate the Windward Highway, we have some retention to do and some final payments there. There is a road up in Diamonds that we have to deal with called Lively Road. That is a very important road for the farmers and other villagers within the South Central Windward constituency.Construction Mr. Speaker, of the Cumberland Sporting facility, these are capital projects within my ministry. And this is an ongoing project. Certain aspects of that project were completed in 2009. We have the major work still to be done on that project. And I am not going to say much about that because on Tuesday or Wednesday next week Parliamentary Representative for North Leeward would talk more about that, so when there is a project that comes into a constituency, I just mention it, but I do not go into detail, I allow the representative to deal with it.There is the rehabilitation of the Colonaire Bridge and work is in progress, Mr. Speaker, on the Bailey Bridge at Colonaire Bridge. And the Prime Minister would have explained on many occasions, either in the House or on radio and I would have done the same thing about the Bailey Bridge. Now, we have to put in the Bailey Bridge, so that there is an access for the people, so that when they reach to Colonaire and they turn up at the Prime Minister’s mother residence there across to the Catholic Church they can get over on the other side while we fix... I am just telling folks where it would be, so that you are going to the country, you do not have to go all up into South Rivers, what is the area called, Prime Minister, Ma Krackin, yes, you do not have to use that one, that is why we have to move swiftly with that, because the bridge.. (The route to Dondoe Holel) just a two-minute detour. Yes. Because the original Colonaire Bridge I think if most of us who are here were to go and peep under it, you would not want to drive over it, so sometimes they say what heart doesn’t see, or way eye ain’t see heart nah grieve. So you better not see underneath it really because you would not want to drive over there. So we do not want that bridge to collapse and you have to go all the way around to Mac Krackin and you have to come around to Three Rivers. So the Bailey Bridge at present is being constructed to take the traffic107while we start construction on the Colonaire Bridge that would accommodate heavy traffic going towards the Windward side because there are certain places in St. Vincent, Mr. Speaker, either the Windward or the Leeward side, if certain part of the road is cut off it is very difficult to commute elsewhere.The cross-country road, Mr. Speaker, I could remember, if my memory serves me right that in the 2001 manifesto of the NDP they had something of a trans-island, trans-insular road, so I am wondering where were they going to construct that road? Now we are hearing, well you would not find out because the Unity Labour Party would construct the cross-country road and when that is completed there would be no need for what you were proposing because if you were to...you have a lot of concern about the water catchment, and the forest and other things but then your Party had a trans-insular road across St. Vincent in 2001 manifesto; so I want to know where were you going to construct that road...the same place? And all the mitigating things the consultant say would be done, would be done that is why we have consultancy and they are looking at the various things and tell you well you may have to shift from one route that you propose and that is why the detailed design is not completed yet. We did a design, the consultant they had to look at it going up into the forest and it is not an easy task, you know. So we propose that we will do all these work and by early 2011 we start the actual physical bulldozing where they say we have to do that road. So this is a project that is dear to the heart of the people and the Unity Labour Party and we ask the persons to vote for the Unity Labour Party in 2001 and 2005 on this and they did so we have to carry out 2001, 2009, we did not have a General Election and ask them about...and we have no need to ask them again because it is in progress....HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: [Inaudible]HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, we also have rehabilitation of bridges, rehabilitation improvements in the feeder roads, river defenses, some of the other capital projects that are under my ministry, rehabilitation of the Customs and Excise building. Under health, it was mentioned, Mr. Speaker, about the Modern Medical Complex and the Minister of Education dealt with that, the Prime Minister in his opening remarks and this morning when the question and this facility, Mr. Speaker, which is located in Georgetown as we all know, something that the NDP and their followers claim should not be built there because of Soufriere and the Prime Minister gave all the explanations so there is no need for me to go into that again. But this would benefit the people from the Central, or the entire nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines but more so the people from Central and the Northeastern end of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and when the cross-country road is completed it would be easy access for the North west as well you know. This is a facility that, Mr. Speaker, I would tell you that whether the folks in South Windward and South Central and North Windward and North Central, its closer to them but I would venture to say that the folks from Fitz Hughes would bypass Kingstown and go to that facility there because it would be such a modern facility and even to get to Argyle from Rose Hall when the cross-country road is finished. Right.So Mr. Speaker, so the proximity of the Modern Medical Complex which we are hoping to complete early...well maybe in the third quarter of this year Prime Minister we are hoping to...yes so that is when108we are hoping to open this beautiful facility and we would invite...these things when we invite we invite the whole of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. So my good friends on the other side there your invitation is given very early but the Prime Minister would send a special [interruption] red, no you wear any colour you want but if you wear red your constituents will wonder what is happening, yes.Mr. Speaker, then under our ministry, under the Ministry of Health there is the Oxygen Storage Plant and we heard all about that with the problem with asthma and those sorts of things. Then there is the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project and part of this project is the completion of the Stubbs Clinic, which is being modernised at the moment. Dr. Slater would talk more about that and Minister Beache from South Windward when they make their presentations.Mr. Speaker under the Ministry of National Mobilisation, is the YES Program, a program that provides training, opportunity and job experience for nearly about 500, I think, Minister of National Mobilisation you have about 500 persons on that programme at the moment? Yes and this programme, we have heard it before but the nation those who did not hear it before was voted as a model programme within the Americas and this is a programme, Mr. Speaker that was criticised daily by the NDP but I would not go into that in details, others would talk about that. Then there is the Social Investment Fund, upgrading of community playing fields and hard courts and I heard the Member from the Northern Grenadines talking about the funding that is earmarked for that.One of the things that was amazing Mr. Speaker, throughout the day is that the Leader of the Opposition and also Senator Leacock stated that some of these capital projects would not be completed or would not start and we are overloading the capital side. But as I listened I heard they mentioned numerous things that they want to add to it so I am wondering you know, what are they really saying, and they did not say what to leave out and put in what they are thinking. So they are saying that we have too much capital projects but yet still they are naming others where you may have a zero or a ten and saying that these should be in place. So you have to make up your mind what it is you want.Minister of Education mentioned all about the Education Programme, the OECS Education Project so I would not detailed you no more with that.Under the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Speaker, there would be the repairs to the ET Joshua Runway, the Georgetown Police Station, I mentioned that earlier on, answering the question, Port Development Project, the Argyle International Airport or the Argyle Airport Development Project and much have been said about that. The Canouan Administrative Building, Purchase of coastguards and those where mentioned to show where you had the I think it is $4 million under National Security that Senator Leacock mentioned.In the Ministry of Agriculture, we have the Agriculture Diversification Programme the enhancement of the Blackfish Production Facility in Barrouallie, money earmarked for the control of the Moko disease for banana and support to Primary Agricultural Production and alternative livelihood. And Mr. Speaker there are many more under these programs that are earmarked capital programmes to enhance the lives109of the Vincentian people, the working class people and the entire society of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.And under the Ministry of Rural Transformation there is rural development of community infrastructure which I must commend the Minister of Rural Transformation, you know doing a very wonderful job in putting down the facilities and is in progress. Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme is another one, rural electrification.Under the Ministry of Housing, you have the Kingstown clean up improve programme, this is to improve the aesthetic of Kingstown and to legitimize commercial activities in Kingstown and there is money earmarked for land purchasing for various developmental purposes, Mr. Speaker. The Kingstown Bus Terminal and Housing, the Ministers next week would deal with those more.Under the Ministry of Urban Development, there is the National ID Card System Programme so Mr. Speaker, I think that a lot of thought went into providing us with this estimate and I am fully supporting the programmes that we have here because these programmes and projects would enhance the lives of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Vincentian population and all concerned. So, Mr. Speaker, I am much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate? No further debate, Honourable Prime Minister. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, it is my dutyto thank all Honourable Members....Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I know the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines doesn’t like to see me on my feet, he would wish if I am not here, unfortunately he will have to put up with me God willing as Head of Government for another five years plus so that, just get accustomed to it, for the last nine years and with more time ahead still.Mr. Speaker, I find the Opposition response to these Estimates to be lackluster, confusing, contradictory and really they are not on top of their game. They have adopted a demagogic scattershot approach, fire shots all over the place and hope that something would stick without any central focus or theme to face these challenging times in which we will find ourselves, no creativity, just more of the same staleness. I sat here very, very disappointed there is certainly a deficit in creative thought which frankly speaking is extremely difficult to correct at this late stage. It is always much easier to correct a deficit on a current account which you have purposefully decided that you would put there in these challenging times to ensure that your nation which you love bounce out of the difficulties and to protect itself even more than we have done over the last 16 months.The last 16 months have shown that we have insulated this country to a considerable degree, not that we are immune from the international economic crisis, not that we are resistant to this crisis completely, it is the worst economic recession in 80 years and people go about this country pretty much as though there110is no crisis overseas. They see it on television, they see it on CNN and FOX and they say wait how all these terrible things are happening in the United States. In California, if it were an independent country would have been the sixth or seventh largest economy in the world and you have in certain areas in California unemployment rate of 20%, the Government, Governor Schwarzenegger cannot pay salaries they have to issue IOUs paper hoping that the banks would accept them so that people who work can eat and can pay their bills.Now it has not been a walk in the park, but we have made it look fairly easy and we have challenges from outside and we have had challenges from the region, particularly in the meltdown in the financial sector particularly the area of insurance. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I have a list here of new programmes and with the salary increases and the new posts and the additional transfers, we could have taken the decision that we go along with none of these and there would have been no deficit on the Current Account, none whatsoever, in fact we could have run a surplus on the Current Account but we would not have been responding on the recurrent side of the Budget to the needs of the people and we would not have been holding things together and moving forward.For example, I have a list here, Mr. Speaker, in excess of $25 million, are those on the Opposition saying, Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Members, that we should not have put in the Ministry of Finance internal audit unit to strengthen capacity which is one of the demands of the Honourable Senator Cummings, that in the Ministry of Education we should not have spent nearly a million dollars on students support services so that when a child has a behavioural problem the single mother is working very hard or a single father and is not home as often and as early as he or she should be and the child develops behavioural problems, should we not have an institution called the Student Support Services to channel the creativity and the intelligence and the goodness of that child. Should we say because there is a meltdown on Wall Street, there should be a meltdown on Main Street in St. Vincent? No, so we put $991,000 there.Pre-Primary Education, the Budget provides $1.3 million for 18 early childhood centers. The research shows the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines following on what we have been saying, says that the research indicates that when you have good early childhood education you provide a solid base for the children for a lifetime. Ages three to five, there are so many single mothers who want to go to work, if they have no where to send their children of real quality they are not able to go to work because in Detroit you have Ford Motors close for a while and Chrysler is in difficulty, that the single mothers should stay at home and the children should not be given an opportunity, no, we say $1.3 million for them in those 18 centers.What about the women who are being battered, what about the crisis center, $288,000, should not we spend the money there? Oh, the banana unit, what would they like us to do, throw our hands up in the air and say no? Europe and the United States have conspired to subvert the banana industry and Europe has sold out. We must do nothing? No, we have responded, we responded with a banana unit on the recurrent side of$1.887 million, take over the operations as far as some of the functions are concerned111from the Banana Growers Association and the Capital Budget we have a $500,000 for a Banana Rehabilitation Programme for their replanting. But I am sticking now to the new programmes on the recurrent side to address the issue of the Current Account deficit.Then the Oxygen Production Plant, the recurrent side here $66,000 plus, on the capital side there is over $2 million, but you need to have certain recurrent expenses being paid because we need to have a good cheap regular supply of oxygen. The Leader of the Opposition would wish to privatize the treatment of asthma. That what’s he has reached now, he has gone way back to Reagan and Thatcher, privatize the treatment of asthma, let them pay, let the poor and the working people pay for the oxygen, ha, or die. If you born with a silver spoon in your mouth and motor car dropping you at Primary School and Secondary School, it is easy to talk that. You do not understand the struggles of the people, that is why the Leader of the Opposition can speak in this manner which is callous and uncaring.Should we not have a programme to start the medical Complex at Georgetown; it would be completed, should we lock it up? No, we put enough monies there for 32 members of staff and with some supplies to operate it for October, November, December and I keep my fingers crossed that those who are engaged would get it completed by that time so that we can have it started up before the end of this year.Those new programmes cost $5.185 million. Then look at some transfers, I am talking about transfers as a category in the Budget, not transfer of persons but of resources. Social Welfare; an additional $2.646 million. Should we allow the poor to suffer because JP Morgan Chase have difficulties, or because AIG have some ridiculous bonuses? We have to take care of the poor and that is what we are doing here.We spent an additional $3.7 million in retirement benefits. Should we tell the Public Servants who are retired, oh no you cannot get your retirement benefits, you cannot get them at all because do not you see what George Bush did in the United States of America and what Obama has to do? Is that what we want?And an additional $1 million for the University of the West Indies as our contribution as we have more and more students going there. Should our young people not aspire to fly like eagles with their wings unclipped? Should I not put those monies in? I want to get the answer from the Opposition.Then, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, and additional $1 million, altering the nature and character of the college lifting it, it involves now the nurses. Should I say to the nurses, no we cannot take in 100 a year anymore and spent $41⁄2 million on you, that is completely out of order, we have to cut back, its austerity time. Is that what they want us to do? So that the young woman in Mayreau or in Union Island or in Port Elizabeth or in Colonarie or in Fitz Hughes or Marriaqua, say to them you cannot become a nurse because in London Gordon Browne says that things are tight.And then the salary increase of 3%, should we not give it? Should we not give it? We would be profligate if we do it, yes but you heard the explanation. Should we not put it there for $6 million?112The Graduate Teachers in the Primary Schools, where we appoint now 65 of them costing an additional $2.6 million. Should we not lift them up? Not for themselves but we have to find pathways for their careers but we have to strengthen the Primary School education as we deepen and extend further the Education Revolution.All of those Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, all that I have just read out would cost together $22.34 million. If I had said no to all of those we would have had a surplus of $1.5 million on the Current Account and then of course the new post in the Registry Department, Service Commission Department, Audit Department, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of Education, Police, Coast Guard, Legal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Housing and Health, should not we have more nurses at the Hospital, should we not have 38 more policemen and 10 more Coast Guard persons to help the Honourable Member in the Northern Grenadines with the yachts? Are you now saying that no, should I not do that; because all of those things which I have read out for the new posts will cost $2.8 million.In short, had I not done any of these things, $25.17 million, we would have a surplus on the Current Account of $5 million and then the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines would have been the poorer for it and this country would have been suffering and we would have been in great difficulty. They wanted austerity. Senator Leacock before he started talking some politics in order to see if he can bolster his own stocks in side of his party said austerity or prosperity. We are going for prosperity in the wellbeing of our people. His Leader wanted us to go for a mean a scrooge like austerity to take us further down in the hole.In the Budget I will address the question of the countercyclical fiscal policy of this Government and its role especially in this period. I have the sheets here. But I have said Mr. Speaker, we have confusion, the Honourable Senator Leacock is saying, ‘ah why are you spending so much on National Security, look at what is happening in the economic side’, but we are spending 57% of the capital Budget on what will be called economic related matters. 57% Tourism, Transport, Agriculture, other Economic Affairs Activities, ICT but at the same time the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines would wish me to have more Police and Coast Guards in Bequia. And then he asked what about the boat, the Customs Boat? Well I am not just having the Customs Boat; we are buying three Coast Guard vessels, $19.1 million to help that, to help the tourism sector and to protect the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines from the scrooge of trafficking in drugs. I know particularly cocaine, I know that some in the Opposition, I am not saying all of them have some extremely cozy relationship with some of the big cocaine traffickers and money launderers in this country, not saying any Member in this Honourable House, but I can speak authoritatively on the subject. I make that point and I move on, less anyone challenges me and wish...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You wish to move on a point of order. DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Ah yes, a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Well theHonourable Member has given way so it is a matter of correction. The Opposition is the Members who113are sitting here Mr. Speaker, so when he refers to the Opposition he is referring to the Members on this side of the House.DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: [inaudible]. DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Well then that is not the Opposition; the Oppositionis in the House....DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: [inaudible].DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Yes that is what it is. The Leader of the Opposition is the Leader of the Opposition on this side of the House. I am not talking to you by the way I am talking to Mr. Speaker and the point is this when you make those kinds of assertions, people would think you talking about the Members on this side of the House. So Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should be very careful when he talks about Members of the Opposition having cozy relationship with drugs barons.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: But did not he clarify that he wasn’t referring to you. DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Well then do not use the term Members of theOpposition. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well in what context do we see the Opposition as ...DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Well if he knows who they are let him talk about who they are but I mean do not talk about Members of the Opposition.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Hold on, hold on, do we see the Opposition as the New Democratic Party or we just see it as those who only are in the House or the Parliamentary Opposition? Is that just the Opposition?DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: [Inaudible].HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: That is what it refers to. Oh I see.DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I have taught for many years at the level of University and I know the difference between the Parliamentary Opposition and the Opposition simpliciter. If I wanted to speak about the Parliamentary Opposition I would put the adjective Parliamentary before it. So please you are a student in these matters, learn from me and have a little modesty when you are about the subject. [Thumping on desk]Now precisely people...114HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No, I think we are still getting the thing confused because I think I heard distinctly the Honourable Prime Minister saying, “ I’m not referring to any Members sitting in this House”, so I do not see how people out there could be confused about that if they are listening. [Interruption] No I thought he was speaking as Members of... I think this is...this is a lot of simplicity...no its really...this is really simplicity and we are going too far with simplicity. Honourable Prime Minister, continue with the debate, I do not [see us] getting anywhere with this discussion.DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I hear all this talk about what is happening with the capital estimates. Every single year other than the first year and maybe the second year we have been in office, we have spent in excess of $100 million in capital spending, $115, 120, 130. Last year which was a challenging year without matters coming into account all the matters, the number is $115 million and that does not include the expenditure on the largest capital project, the International Airport because of the nature and its character and the matters have come into account into the Central Government funding.I am asking the people of this country not to listen to the musings of the Members of the Parliamentary Opposition. I am not asking them to listen to the high flown rhetoric by the Members of the Parliamentary Opposition, no, I am asking the people to look with their own eyes not what they hearing, what they are seeing. What do they see in Kingstown with the capital project? Refurbished Peace Memorial Hall; a brand new curriculum Unit; Thomas Saunders Secondary School; a modern Library costing over $20 million; the Archives and Documentation Centre; the API building; the NIS building; the Reigate building; the refurbished and rehabilitated Administration building, which houses the Post Office; the two bridges on Bay Street; the Customs building; the National Lotteries Headquarters; the Housing and Land Development Cooperation Building, which has been renovated; Intermediate High School; the Kingstown Technical Institute; the NEMO building; the bridge near to NEMO, the renovated Parliament, the Leeward Bus Terminal, the Lodge Village School extension; the George Mc Intosh Community Market and moving all those shacks on the street there; the Edinboro Secondary School; the Forensic Lab at the Hospital; the Low Income Houses at Green Hill, 60 odd of them and that is only some of them. Do not listen to the musings, look at your eyes, look at the eyes. These are the facts before us in the city, we do not have the time to look at the other things.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, you have 10 minutes to...DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I am obliged, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the Honourable Leader of the Opposition because I made in my introductory statement here in my winding up that they are getting loose and careless and not looking at things, he said. “How do you account for a fall in supplies in goods and services of $11 million?” The Honourable Minister of Technology and Industry answers it in so far as electricity and telephone and the internet services and so on alike. But Mr. Speaker, if one looks at the accounts which have been transferred from Public Works to BRAGSA and I’ll just name a few, the Supplies and Material Account, and you can look at them, they are all 350 sub accounts. Under the accounts maintenance of schools and buildings,115   supplies and material   maintenance and upkeep of Government Building   maintenance of the hospital and clinics $653,000 $610,000 $206,000I am rounding it.   Maintenance and improvements of roads and drains $3.98 million   The BNTF and CDB roads $381,000 Those are goods, goods, the reason is, is that there has been a lot of transfer. When you move over the Community College, when you move certain things from BRAGSA, there is a different accounting which takes place and from that he jumps to the conclusion very careless, I do not know what is happening to the Leader of the Opposition, I do not know where he...how he can be so in one make so many errors. No wonder his leadership is coming into question. He says for instance, he makes the error in relation to the classification first of all, comes to the wrong conclusion and then even when the Honourable Minister Francis, sorry Honourable Senator Francis was seeking to correct him, he say, “wey you talking about”. And he was just left alone to continue with what was entirely a wrongheaded approach and he deduced from his wrong factual assertion, a further factual error. He said that is why people do not get medicines at the hospital; you have reduced the amount of money for drugs. Well actually in the estimates, these estimates, medical stores, supplies and materials, the estimates last year 2009 was $5.9 million this is $6.9 million, an increase of a million dollars. What do I do? I did not have to do that, we could have added it to the recurrent surplus, you do not want the medicine, you do not want the headache tablets, the pressure tablets? We have to provide those for the poor people in this country, you can go the pharmacy but we have to provide it there. The Milton Cato Memorial Hospitals supplies, there has been no reduction from supplies and materials , you do the same thing at the Lewis Punnett Home and so on, the Mental Health Center, et cetera et cetera. We must not have this looseness this lack of care in addressing the public’s business. You see when they are on radio alone and nobody contradicts them they have an echo chamber but they cannot in the broad light of day when you have someone on the other side to question what they are talking about, you see its expose its fraught, it is nothing. Mr. Speaker on the issue of sports, it is not someone derisively refers to some of the sporting allocations; $750,000 is the subvention for salaries and the like and one or two other things with the National Sports Council. But for specific playing fields there are specific sums of money, like for Cumberland, $600,000, generally for some specified playing fields another $600,000 and under the capital estimates in the Ministry of Rural Transformation several of the community projects involve playing field. In Park Hill, in South Rivers, in Mt Grenan, one of the problems, I said this before and the reason why the Member for the Southern Grenadines has more things coming his way in the Southern Grenadines, he has the humility to make telephone calls and ask questions and sometimes writes letters but not the Member for the Northern Grenadines. He feels when he comes here and he pontificates in some hostile 116way that that is representation of the people. You have to stoop a little bit to conquer, get a little humility in you. For instance...yes I am a humble person, I am a humble person because you see you confuse two things, you confuse strength of character with a lack of humility. You confuse and... a reluctance and avoidance of encouraging ignorance with an absence of humility...no...Bequia just got a school of about $3 million to build and equip magnificent school.For years Sir James represented that constituency from 1966 to 2001 and out of those 40 years sorry 35 years he was a minister or a Head of Government, he was a head of Government for 191⁄2 years, but what happen there the school which was built in the late 30’s or 40’s was dab, dirt, clay, covered by cement with outside toilet. You think that could be in my constituency if I represented for two years? ... Ah that is an entirely different issue, but the point is this you may address the question of the lack of poverty in Bequia relative to some other places for other but that you are now justifying that because people in Bequia are better off than those on the mainland or mainland communities that they must have a dab and an outside toilet. Is that what you are saying and you are their representative? For that alone they should vote you off.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, could you please.... DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: For that alone they should vote you off. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Could you please wind up?DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the point about it is this I am not...it is very interesting you talk about yourself and then talk about Sir James, you are holding on to his tattered old coattails. Any day of the week he can say he wants it back or he can put his daughter there and that is the end of you. That is the end of you, either himself, you may laugh nervously any day of the week, any...I’m not worried about that, I’m not worried about that, I’m not worried about that at all. I’m not worried, you are the one, in fact the Mitchell family doesn’t like you, they do not like you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, could you please wind up your debate. DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: They do not like you and you know that theconstituents’ likes you until Sir James says stop liking them. DR THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: [Inaudible].DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Love you, that is not what I heard in Bequia, they barely tolerate you.Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we have provided here a set of estimates to continue to chart the course forward, for continued progress of this country and particularly to focus on the nation as a whole and on the poor and the working people in particular.117I thank my colleagues for their support and on Monday the entire intellectual basis for this magnificent set of estimates would be provided in detail for the people to elaborate.Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, the operational part of this motion, please resolve that this Honourable House of Assembly do adopt the estimates for the financial year ended December 31st 2010 and be it further resolved that this Honourable House note the projections for the financial years ending December 31st 2011 and December 31st 2012. I so move.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members, the question is and I again I’ll read the operational part of the motion.Be it resolved that this Honourable House of Assembly do adopt the estimates for the financial year ended 31st December 2010.And be it further resolved that this Honourable House note the projections for the financial years ending 31st December 2011 and 31st December 2012.1. Appropriation Bill 2010Question put and agreed to. Estimates adopted.BILLSpage118image10024DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a Bill for an act to provide for the services of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the year ending on 31st day of December 2010 be read a first time.The object of this Bill is to sanction the appropriation of an amount of $913,325,834 for the meeting of expenses and the services of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in respect of the year ending the 31st day of December 2010.Question put and agreed to. Bill read a first time.DR THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the date set for the throne speech and for the Budget address is Monday the 25th at 4:00 p.m. I know that Madam Clerk and yourself, Mr. Speaker, would send out the requisite arrangements to be made, to be followed.Accordingly I beg to move that this Honourable House do stand suspended until Monday 25th January at 4:00 p.m.118Question put and agreed to. House suspended at 9:11 p.m. Until Monday 25th January, 4 p.m.119