Fri. 19th Feb., 2010

No. 2 Fifth Session Eighth ParliamentFriday 19th February, 2010Prayers Welcome Remarks Obituaries Congratulatory Remarks Confirmation of Minutes Statements by Ministers Petitions Questions for Oral Answers Orders of the Day Resolution AdjournmentSAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) ADVANCE COPY OFFICIAL REPORT CONTENTS Friday 19th February 20101SEVENTH SITTING19th February 2010THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATESOFFICIAL REPORTPROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE SECOND 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.HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYThe Honourable House of Assembly met at 10:15 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber, Court House, Kingstown.Prime 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 Browne Minister of EducationMember for Central WindwardMember for Central LeewardMember for West St. George Member for MarriaquaPRAYERS MR. SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR Honourable Hendrick Alexander PresentMEMBERS OF CABINET2Honourable 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 Matters Rene BaptisteMinister 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 FrancisParliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Honourable Michelle FifeMember for South Central WindwardMember for South LeewardMember for West Kingstown Member for East St. GeorgeMember for North WindwardMember for North Leeward Member for South Windward Member for Central KingstownGovernment Senator Government SenatorGovernment SenatorOTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE3Honourable Arnhim EustaceDr. the Honourable Godwin Friday Honourable Terrance Ollivierre Honourable Major St. Claire Leacock Honourable Daniel CummingsHonourable Rochelle FordeABSENTLeader of the Opposition Member for East KingstownMember for Northern Grenadines Member for Southern Grenadines Opposition Senator Opposition SenatorGovernment Senator/ Deputy Speaker4ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYFRIDAY 19TH FEBRUARY 2010 PRAYERHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Let us pray. Honourable Mr. Speaker Hendrick Alexander read the prayers of the House of Assembly.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: We want to welcome 10 students from the St Martin’s Secondary School forms 2, 3 and 4 who are here along with their teachers Romana Richards and Miss Noelene Bacchus; I want to welcome you here to Parliament here this morning and we wish you all the best. We trust that you will find this very enlightening, interesting and certainly educational.I want to say as well that we are operating under new technology here in Parliament this morning; we have had installed new fiber optic cables which should enhance the delivery of our proceedings here by both television and radio this morning. Again as we move forward in this parliament we want to ensure that we have and enjoy the best technology because we know we would have had complaints about certain ... in relation to particularly to the television we have been having some problems with the reception and so on so we are ensuring that we correct these things so that you who are listening by radio and viewing by television would have the best that we could offer in the form of technology and you would be able to follow the proceedings here in parliament.I want to thank those who have been responsible for installing this new form of technology and I trust that it would bring us much relief and great benefit, thank you very much.OBITUARIES HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Interjection] maybe the two of them might have to stand again; I did notsee any [laughs] Honourable Member for North Windward.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: I want to on behalf of my own family to express condolences to the Pompey’s family at Overland. Mr. Speaker; Cosmore Mathias Pompey would have passed away on Thursday 11th February, 2010 at the age of 76 years. He passed away quietly at his home at Overland. Mr. Speaker, as a young child growing up I became to know Mr. Pompey as one who was very quiet and one who is always willing to share and indeed, Mr. Speaker, he exhibited a character of truthfulness and righteousness. I knew him very early because he was a friend of my father and they both had a good relationship and as I grew up and became a man our relationship grew stronger and stronger but I can say to you, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Pompey was a strong disciplinarian and he equally championed the Christian faith for some 55 years of his life. But even as a strong Christian person he was a fine tailor in the community of Overland and turned out many wedding suits for men and women in his community. He also was an astute businessman for at one time he operated two shops one at his home and one on the Orange Hill Estate. He waspage5image251765also a fine farmer and produced many crops and livestock; he made sure that he found food not only for the spirit but for the human soul.Mr. Speaker, despite these many worldly things Mr. Pompey kept his focus and as a man of God he went on to head the Spiritual Baptist Faith for some 25 years, Mr. Speaker, I recall it was on the 20th January, 1985 he became His Grace the Archbishop of the Spiritual Baptist Diocese here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Later in 2009 he was bestowed the Honour of Patriarch of the Spiritual Baptist Faith.Mr. Speaker, Cosmore Mathias Pompey lived a full life; he lived a good life but as a young man he too wanted to find comfort in life and so he found a stalwart: a beautiful woman Mona Pompey of which the union produced 2 sons Melford and Cornelius and three daughters, Esther, Predence and Justina and I believe, Mr. Speaker, that his fine character may have certainly rubbed off on his children for indeed the children are really following in his footsteps. Melford his first son has risen to the position of Bishop of that said faith and no doubt in my mind he will aspire to higher heights in that faith. Melford is presently the Manager of the Garifuna Radio Station in Sandy Bay and he is doing fine; Esther is also a leader in the church and she too manages the Sunshine Play School in Overland the other children they are doing exceedingly well.Mr. Speaker, Cosmore Mathias Pompey was indeed a man of the community and his community spiritedness would have allowed him to have held many missionary events not only throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines but throughout the wider Caribbean and beyond. I recall it was in 2006 this administration awarded Mr. Pompey a diplomatic passport in this regard. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Pompey was a good leader, he was a strong leader and he was well respected and wherever he would have gone he commanded that respect, he led his church well. Mr. Speaker the funeral service of the late Cosmore Mathias Pompey is scheduled to take place on Monday 22nd February at 1:00 p.m. at the St Mary’s Spiritual Baptist Church at Overland. I know that my physical presence would not be there but my spiritual presence will be there so that my spiritual presence will join in with the singing and rejoicing of all of the saints and martyrs that will be there to send him off in glory. Mr. Speaker, Cosmore Mathias Pompey gone but will not be forgotten; may his soul rest in peace. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Member for ...HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: I rise to express sincerest condolences on the passing of Professor Ralston Milton Nettleford, Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies who died on February 2nd, 2010. He was hours short of his 77th birthday. Professor Rex Nettleford was born on February 3rd, 1933 in Falmouth Jamaica and was a leading Caribbean intellectual and a visionary. This outstanding academic was often referred to as a third world scholar; he was also a teacher; cultural activist; nationalist; historian and author. His contribution to the development of the Caribbean civilization cannot be overlooked. He sought to express the struggles of the Caribbean civilization and to liberate the region’s peoples through cultural and religious expressions. He was professor at the University of the West Indies; he was also Vice Chancellor and the CEO; impartial advisor to Prime Ministers and leaders of civil society.The Gleaner records that he represented Jamaica at UNESCO where he was highly respected for his acumen and passion especially for righting the wrongs of slavery. He was a lecturer of renown on the international6circuit. Oxford University described him as a man of the greatest versatility, effective in action, outstanding in erudition and most supple in dance. Oxford established the Rex Nettleford prize for Cultural Studies in his honour. He was also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University excelling in academics. He was Dr. of Laws; Dr. of Letters; Dr. of Humanities; Dr. of Civil Law among many others.The former School of Continuing studies produced a two volume study of annotated bibliography of his works from 1950 to 2005. This includes 625 items consisting of unpublished writings mainly 128 lectures and choreography comprising 71 items. According to Professor Howard Fergus a colleague:-“Professor Rex Nettleford believed that the creative imagination and the intellectual are central to genuine development”.His greatest passion was the National Dance Theatre Company which he co-founded with Eddy Thomas in the year of Jamaica’s entry into nationhood and built it into an institution respected at home and abroad. Professor Rex Nettleford became an advocate of higher education which prompted him to become founder of the Trade Union Education Institute an organisation which allowed factory and farm workers to unite with scholars to help bridge the education gap between the classes. His legacy will live on in the region’s thrust towards higher education and in the various forms of cultural expression notably dance in which we the people of the Caribbean look into the mirror and see ourselves not as a people fragmented and disenfranchised but as a people free enlightened and empowered. May his soul find rest eternal.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Leader of the Opposition.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the passing of patriarch Cosmore Pompey. I did not know him very well on a personal level although I have met him at a number of functions but I am quite sure that he has set an example in St Vincent and the Grenadines in relation to his life as a Christian gentleman, he always struck me as somebody who is satisfied within himself spiritually, very strong, very calm and collected, a man who knew what he was about and what his destiny and his work were about. Indeed I learned more of him through my own wife who worked with him also in doing some work in the Spiritual Baptist Faith here in the St Vincent and the Grenadines and my respect for him grew more so over that period. I was saddened to hear of his passing and I believe we here in St Vincent and the Grenadines have lost someone who has made a major contribution to the lives of so many people in this country of ours. May his soul rest in peace.Mr. Speaker, I also wish to join the Honourable Minister in recognition of the passing of Professor Nettleford of Jamaica. I think and I agreed that we in the Caribbean have lost someone of great strength; someone whose contribution as you noted from the presentation the Honourable Minister was wide and varied and in fact spanned the entire Caribbean and even beyond. I have heard him lecture on a number of occasions; I think he was here giving the university a lecture in 2008 which I attended at the time and I remember how impressed those persons who attended were at his presentation. May his soul too rest in peace. Much obliged. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes, Honourable Member.7HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring some brief condolences on behalf of 81-year old Molly Cruickshank of Gordon Village, Spring Village but originally from Barrouallie. Yes, she was a spiritual, loving, kind Spiritual Baptist lady. She had lived in England for a number of years, well over 15 years before she returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines with her husband who is also deceased and became a small banana farmer and farmer. She had no children but she signifies a generation of nation builders who migrated to the UK in the late ‘50s, I should say and the early ‘60s. At those times when boats like the Eskaina and they worked and toiled on the trains, buses, hospitals and the factories of the UK but returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines with their savings, knowledge and expertise and the lessons learnt and applied them in their communities in particularly rural communities like that of Spring Village and in a small way added to our nation building. She will be buried this Sunday, I ask the Lord to allow Molly Cruickshank to rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Senator Leacock, Honourable Senator.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I apologise first of all Mr. Speaker, for not getting here on time to have your permission under this section I interpret that you identify me now that I have that permission, Mr. Speaker.Mr. Speaker, I rise to join with the contributions of those before me with respect to Mr. Pompey and Professor Nettleford but I specifically want this morning, Mr. Speaker, to express condolences to one who most of us would not know because I do not think he was Vincentian at birth, I am not sure. I know he had something of a Trinidadian accent but he came here from Barbados. I am speaking of the late Reverend Allan Keaton and the reason why I want to identify with Allan Kearton: Reverend Kearton as we called him then, Lieutenant is that in the late 1960’s I think it would have been around 1968 when we were in the Cadet Force he was the one who was responsible for introducing to the Cadet Force or the Cadet Corp it was called then; the Grammar School Cadet Corp. The Cadet band as we know it today. I at that time was in the rifle company; I believe Senator Francis would have been as well; certainly he later joined as a bass drummer in that band but I remember that. And we borrowed the bugles from the police force. We learned to play the drums on the desk tops of the Grammar School and we brought pot covers as symbols and we would rehearse as a band that way for quite some time until the Corp eventually got its own set of instruments. And Lieutenant Kearton as I recalled always had the dream that the Cadet Force band should become a national showpiece: something that when it appears on the streets of St. Vincent people would want to see and hear and when I became Commandant I tried to expand that ambition of Lieutenant Kearton because he was a fine officer who represented the Cadets very well at the time, in fact I would like to see him as my mentor in the Cadet movement in the late ‘60s early ’70s. But I want, Mr. Speaker, in paying tribute to his contribution if only for the purpose of history to identify two experiences that I had which helped to show me the measure of the man as he was then because sometimes we do not know how things emerge in St Vincent.There was a sort of jealousy between the Cadet’s bands. When an event came on the road and the Police band; as in fact there always was between the police itself and the Cadets; who can drill best and so forth and because of certain conflicts that emerged between both bands playing because they played two different beats. The police was 6-8 and we two-four fourth cadence it became the regulation that the Cadet’s Force band would play from what we use to call the JB Joseph now Kentucky Fried Chicken; it was JB Joseph then to the Co-op’s Gas8Station and that was the route allowed for the Cadet band to play at the Victoria Park because there had been a confusion before when both bands tried to play at the same time creating some difficulty for the troops on the parade. But Mr. Speaker, the incident that stood out most on my mind was because of the period I was talking about the Cadet band once continued to play from what was then the Ironman on route to the Grammar School where we would dispatch and a number of people on the road joined the band with fist folded and protest all the way to the Grammar School with the shouts of “power, power, power”. Of course that was the period of the Black Power Revolution and a number of us in the Cadet band including myself who happened to be the first band sergeant were court-martialed. Commissioner Thomas was the head at that time and Deputy Primus; this took place at the Peace Memorial Hall and we almost felt that we were left to the wolves. It was Lieutenant Kearton who appeared on our behalf and defended us from what could have been a terrible embarrassing situation for us and I always recall the way he stood up for his men.Today, therefore, when we see on parade that unit trooping the colours at the park and playing for some of the troops on parade there is a history behind it and the credit of that history goes to Reverend Lieutenant Allan Kearton who made a tremendous contribution to what undoubtedly is the most organised, best run Youth Organisation in St Vincent today under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Dwight Lewis. To him I say, Mr. Speaker, to God be the glory and may his soul rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, Member for North Central.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I join my Honourable friends in paying tribute to the patriarch His Eminence Archbishop Cosmore Pompey and Professor Rex Nettleford. Both of these titans in their respective fields I considered to be my friends and I am deeply saddened at their passing within days of each other. Everything that the Honourable Member for North Windward has spoken in relation to Archbishop Pompey I adopt and call my own. I say simply, Mr. Speaker, that Archbishop Pompey was a holy man. I was present at his enthronement as patriarch and he was very weak at the time; late last year, frail but his quiet dignity and his personal charisma and his strength of belief in God shone through. On my own behalf and that of my family, my Party and the Government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines I extend profound condolences to members of his immediate family and the extended family of the Spiritual Baptist who are now headed by Archbishop Edmund John.Mr. Speaker, I believe that I am the only person of this Honourable House who was a student of Professor Nettleford and at the same time a colleague as a faculty member at the University of the West Indies, Mona Jamaica. He took seminars with me in 1967- 68 in a course called Modern Political Thought, essentially the study of political philosophy from Thomas Hobbs and Locke in the 17th century right through to Mao Tse- tung in the modern period; in the most modern period. But he taught more than philosophy, he taught about the Caribbean while he was teaching seemingly abstract ideas. He was truly a Renaissance man, enormously gifted and always willing and able to speak out on the major issues which confront us.He was an activist intellectual without being stridently so and if I may say parenthetically Mr. Speaker, it is I note with some real regret that since September 2008 with the meltdown in the advanced economies of the world and the knock on effect; the adverse effects on the Caribbean that I am not hearing from the faculty9members of the University of the West Indies in particular those from the Economics Department addressing the issues. Those from an earlier period like Professor Girvan who would send me some stuff from time to time. It seems as though the more recent intellectuals are so consumed by consultancies or have retreated into an ivory tower that they do not have time to engage in the things of life. Professor Nettleford always engaged in the things of life and living. We would miss him greatly.It is amusing to me, Mr. Speaker, that many who during his life damned his many progressive ideas and the self-confidence of our Caribbean people and the self confidence of our Caribbean people and what we are and what we are in the process of becoming and what we ought to be that some of those persons who come from backward and reactionary positions completely opposed to Professor Nettleford are now singing his praises and his majesty now that he is dead and when he was alive was singing the praises of other external majesties but he Rex the king of Modern Intellectual thought in the Caribbean, a champion of praxis the interfacing of theory and practice. I shall miss him personally and our conversations but of course his works are there and I urge the young people including those from the St Martin’s Secondary School who are here to read him, study him and learn from him so that we can be a better independent Caribbean. It was amusing to me, Mr. Speaker, to read on the Net at 4:30 this morning a speech by the Minister of Culture in Jamaica Babsy’ Grange in relation to reggae the very week that Professor Nettleford was buried, she was bemoaning the fact that Jamaica is losing reggae in terms of the lyrics, the production of the reggae music and the economics of the reggae music that in Europe even in North America we are seeing that the Jamaican and Caribbean patrimony in intellectual thought and creativity that is being pirated and even stolen in the same week that a cultural icon, a historical figure of immense importance is buried. We have a lot of work to do, to live up to the many ideals that Rex Nettleford posed arising from his public work; his work as a thinker, historian, philosopher and creative artiste; may his soul rest in peace and that of the patriarch. I am obliged.CONGRATULATORY REMARKS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member for West Kingstown.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to congratulate Mr. Fredrick Beache who was formally of Greggs, now resident in Campden Park who attained his 105 birthday on the 7th February. It is a remarkable thing to see a man alive crossing two centuries; born in the twentieth century and lived 10 years into the 21st century. He is still very lucid, he plays his mouth organ and he can quote the bible backwards and forwards and he is surrounded by much love from his daughter Verna whom I have known for almost 40 years and her husband Shallow they lived in Campden Park. He loves to go to church and he is also a gentleman who as he said to the young journalists: “You are trying to ask me questions to trip me up to see if my mind is still in one piece”. He knows everything that is going on, he likes to listen to BBC he said and I want to wish him continued long life and he is wrapped up in the love of his family: children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and as he said his God.I also, Mr. Speaker, take this opportunity while I am on my feet to congratulate both ‘Skinny Fabulous’ Doyle and Zoelah though they did not place in the top three, they gave an excellent presentation at the Internationalpage10image3092010Soca Monarch Competition in Trinidad [applause] they were, especially Skinny Fabulous, he lit up the stage and in our view perhaps jaundiced is that he was the man to beat on that night. It was obvious to me everybody to me like they came out to beat Skinny Fabulous from St Vincent and the Grenadines and I am pleased to see where our entertainment has reached and our creative hearts and I can tell you that in the next couple of months many of our artistes would be gainfully employed in St Vincent and the Grenadines in a new venture about to be launched in this country and when I showed the investors the various photographs of our performing artistes and recording artistes their fingers went immediately on Skinny Fabulous; I said good, so I know they know who they are. Congrats Skinny if you are listening on the Internet we continue to wish you well as we wish all our Vincentians who in these arts are our cultural ambassadors. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker I rise to congratulate the organizers of the Bequia Music Fest particularly Bequia Tourism Association and all those individuals who worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition. It is a tremendous amount of work, a lot of it unpaid and too much of it unheralded and thankless, but the persons who dedicated themselves to doing these things they are building institutions in this country that we do not know how far they would go but what we recognise now is that they do have the potential both economic and cultural to be something of greater significance in the future. I know that sometimes the individuals who are involved they get stressed and overworked and the temptation is to say this is my last but I hope that they would continue.I saw the Minister of Culture there so I know she shares the sentiments that I express here as well and many ... in fact I believe everybody every member of this Honourable House similarly would. It really is a wonderful experience when the work is put in and the event becomes successful as it was this year, what was remarkable is that in all the events there were no serious incidents of violence or anything that would mar the happy spirit that was exhibited during this wonderful cultural and tourism events. So I wish to urge all those persons, the sponsors, the performers and the community who supports them by coming out and enjoying the entertainment provided and showing the appreciation for the performances on stage and the commitment that the performers showed. So, Mr. Speaker, I wish to encourage them all and hopefully next year that we would have a similarly successful or even more successful event and that we would look seriously at developing similar events or other events that would provide opportunities of the expression of the talents, the organising skills of our people and also to bring our people together to celebrate those talents and skills in a happy, productive and constructive environment. So, my heartfelt thanks to all the people who participated.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister. Honourable Member for ...HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, the village of Overland seemed to be in the limelight in the constituency of North Windward these couple of days and so it was on Monday the 15th February this week that Ms. Louisa George of Overland attained the age of 100 years. Mr. Speaker, I stand very proudly in congratulating Ms. George. Mr. Speaker, Ms. Louisa George is indeed a very humble lady, very quiet but very stern and equally she too is quite a dedicated Spiritual Baptist lady and on Monday we saw her 9 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren coming together with the community of Overland to celebrate11that big day with her. Mr. Speaker, I myself, I shared in that great moment with the George’s family and we really had a great time. I reflected, Mr. Speaker, because I saw how wonderful it was and that I too would like to celebrate such milestone. Mr. Speaker, though Ms. George her hearing is somewhat impaired at this time she continues to enjoy life. Let me once again take the opportunity to congratulate her and to wish her continued healthy life and I wish her many more birthdays. Thank you very much.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, earlier this week there was a change of Government in Anguilla, my very good friend Hubert Hughes former Chief Minister and immediate past Leader of the Opposition, as Leader of the Anguilla United Movement won four of the seven seats. I have known Hubert for a very long time in fact I represented him when I practised as a lawyer in an important matter against the Speaker of the House in Anguilla. Mr. Speaker, no one has ever taken you to court here [laughs]. Mr. Speaker, Hubert Hughes is a Caribbean nationalist, he is very much in touch with the pulse of ordinary Anguillans and I believe the meltdown of the Anguillan economy over the last two years perhaps provided some fertile ground for his own politics. I think those who have seen a clip of him on CMC would have already noted his robust anti-colonial inclination. The ruling party was not led at the time by the very popular Osbourne Fleming who retired and the very efficient Victor Banks as Minister of Finance, also a friend of mine, unfortunately for him he lost his seat and I believe that we would see a continuation of the deepening of the links between Anguillan and the rest of the OECS and the members also of the Currency Union and I look forward very much to working with my old friends Hubert Hughes. He is I believe now passed his seventieth year but is very fit, very strong human being and I wish him all the best. I am obliged.CONFIRMATION OF THE MINUTESMr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that the Minutes of the sitting of this Honourable House held on the 19th, 25th-29th January be confirmed.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Corrections.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Minutes of the 19th of January under Obituaries; Zetilda and Edvanie Jacobs of ‘Lowman Hills’ and not ‘Montrose’ and ‘Hamlett’ with a ‘t’ a second ‘t’. Page 7 at the top of page 7 rehabilitation of ‘300 ft’ not ‘3000’; and just before question No. 5 the paragraph that begins with: - “The Minister replied: These works will commence in the second quarter 2010 and will be ‘implemented’ by BRAGSA” not ‘complimented’ by BRAGSA. Page 9, paragraph beginning with ‘We’ from the top of the page:- “We have also some recommendations which the Electoral Office will be making to ‘NMCM”. At the top of page 10:- “Finally, I want to say that after those instances that we were quite pleased at the CARICOM Observation Mission and OECS Mission ‘who have indicated their satisfaction”; Those words are missing; ‘though they have not yet submitted a report’. And the third line: - ‘equally as favourable as’. That’s it.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay. Yes.page12image2748812HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: There are just some minor corrections on page 13 HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Which Minutes? HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Tuesday 19th. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: It is the fifth line in the first paragraph, and the same thing in the second line in the second paragraph we need to take off the ‘$’ sign from ‘$89 owners’ and ’$25 pieces’; take off the ‘$’ and in the fourth paragraph the ‘Chatoyer Che’ contingent ‘Che’ and not ‘Chy’.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Those are all? Question put and agreedMinutes confirmed with amendments STATEMENTS BY MINISTERSDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSLAVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I have a brief statement on the so called French Blacklist against 18 countries. On the 15th January, 2010 BBC Caribbean News reported that France had drawn up a so-called blacklist of what it views as uncooperative offshore financial centres; the French Government has reported to have said that it would impose heavy taxes on domestic firms that have operations in these 18 countries that it considers to be tax havens. The Caribbean countries on the French list which was placed on the BBC website includes:-   Anguilla   Dominica   Grenada   St Kitts Nevis   St Lucia and   St Vincent and the Grenadines This announcement by France came entirely out of the blue; in fact, Mr. Speaker, invites the query [interjection] excuse him what? On Thursday 18th January, 2010 the Step International News Digest reported that the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde published the blacklist of what she called uncooperative jurisdictions against which France is scheduled to apply financial sanctions introduced in its 2010 Budget, including a targeted 50% dividend tax on companies operating within these jurisdictions. The sanctions are scheduled to come into force on March 1st, 2010 and the following are the 18 countries:- page13image1729613   Anguilla   Belize   Costa Rico   Dominica   Grenada   Guatemala   Montserrat   Panama   St. Kitts and Nevis   St Lucia   St. Vincent and the Grenadines   Nauru   Niue   Philippines   Cook Islands   Marshall Islands   Liberia and   Brunei Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Uruguay, the Bahamas and Vanuatu made late concessions to stay off the list according to the French Newspapers. This action Mr. speaker, taken by France to blacklist these countries and threatened to apply financial sanctions by March 1st is particularly objectionable for three main reasons:- First there is already a deadline of the 31st March, 2010 stipulated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in order for countries to demonstrate their commitment to implement the internationally agreed tax standard by establishing at least 12 tax information exchange agreements and that deadline has not yet been reached. Secondly negotiations are presently ongoing between France and St Vincent and the Grenadines to sign a tax information exchange agreement and of course thirdly the decision is unilateral, is an imposition without consultation and indeed a breach of the earlier OECD agreement and understanding. Mr. Speaker, in the last update which I gave to the public on the progress which our country is making in establishing tax information exchange agreements, I did so in December 2009, it was reported that we are in negotiations with France to sign a tax information exchange agreement, so the proposed blacklisting by France of certain countries including our own, therefore, comes as a surprise in view of the present circumstances. France is a member of the OECD and has gone outside of the framework of the OECD decision of awaiting the March 31st, 2010 deadline before taking any action; just like Dr. Denzil Douglas of St Kitts Nevis we call these actions by France unfair and arbitrary. Indeed the Minister of Finance in Grenada in expressing surprise responded to Journalists and said, “It got to be a mistake”. 14Mr. Speaker, I want to address briefly the matter of the TIEA (Tax Information Exchange Agreement) between France and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Ms. Lorna Smith of the British Virgin Islands; who incidentally is a former student of mine and who incidentally also is the wife of the immediate past Chief Minister of the BVI a very talented woman. She was engaged by the World Bank to pursue the question of negotiating TIEA’s on behalf of the OECS with certain OECD countries in recognition to the fact that it may be difficult for smaller countries to negotiate with all of the OECD’s countries especially the larger ones. We accepted, St Vincent and the Grenadines accepted the World Bank assistance in respect only of negotiations with France. We are doing the other negotiations ourselves. We did not accept any such assistance with any other country for the simple reason that we were more advanced in our own negotiations than other OECS countries and did not want to be held back. There have been no indications from the World Bank Consultant that there is any problem in getting our French Tax Information Agreement completed by March 31st, indeed on the contrary, her progress which has been reported to us has been smooth, has been successful so far.This new development has been queried to the French authorities by Ms. Smith and both Ms. Smith and our own country; we are awaiting a response from the French authorities. The World Bank consultant believes that France is treating the OECS as one and that the present situation may have arisen in certain countries in the OECS who have not been cooperating as quickly, because we got out of the blocks quite quickly France alleges that it is taking actions against countries which are making concessions to stay off the blacklist, however, notable mention is that St Vincent and the Grenadines made contact with France since October last year to seek the establishment of a TIEA with St Vincent and the Grenadines, in fact I have here the communication which was sent by Mrs. Bollers, Sharda Sinanan Bollers, the Executive Director of IFSA to Mr. Christian Comolet- Tirman, she writes:-“My name is Sharda Sinanan Bollers and I work with the International Financial Services Authority of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies. I have been tasked with the responsibility by our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Ralph E Gonsalves of oversight of the execution of appropriate Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA’s) between our country and other countries. I write to respectfully enquire whether France would be interested in establishing a TIEA’s with St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Please note that we will be more than pleased to peruse a template agreement which we prefer if you are so interested. I do look forward to hearing from you.With best wishes.yours sincerely, Sharda Sinanan BollersAnd this was sent since the 12th October last year and of course Ms. Smith has been following up. What is the status so far of the TIEA signed and being pursued? We have already signed 9 of the 12 we are supposed to sign. Nine Tax Information Exchange Agreements, we have done so with the following countries, Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherland Antilles and we are involved in the negotiations with the following to establish TIEA’s Australia, Germany, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, the Furrows, and Greenland.15Mr. Speaker, Australia and New Zealand have already confirmed that the signing would take place in mid- March so when those two assign that will be eleven and Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, the Furrows and Greenland through its Nordic Council representative have indicated that a signing is imminent for the 24th March 2010 so that we would have more than our twelve, far more than our 12 that is how we have been aiming. The Foreign Affairs Department of these countries are presently working on the logistics to finalise these dates. In fact, the one for mid-March is just precisely have the date but the Australians and the New Zealanders have already said yes and we are ready to move all the agreements and the other one is by March 24th. By March 31st therefore we expect to have signed 17 and we have at least three more to sign. Canada has recently responded to us to confirm that it is interested in establishing a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with our country.There is presently a clear and legitimate expectation that St. Vincent and the Grenadines which with other countries were placed on a gray list by the OECD would by March 31st come off from that gray list given our progress and go on, what is really terrible the colours of these list, black, gray and white, it really angers me that the black ones are black and the so-called good ones are white, but I mean that is the colour they put on them.Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to say something which may be controversial, but I really I am so annoyed about this that I can only conclude that this has to do with internal French politics. Regional and local elections are coming up soon and we see a number of things which are taking place. You know there is this to satisfy certain constituencies and at the same time, you know they have taken a law to Parliament and having reports to see if they can stop Muslim women in France wearing the, they call it the Burker to cover the face, the veil. Now you have about 6 million Muslims in that country and only 1,190 women who are estimated to wear this veil, yet they are making it a big issue. It has to do with the red meat to be thrown to certain persons. Anti-immigration lobby has got this and what they are doing with this, let us be frank, they are scapegoating these countries for the problems in international capitalism. We had nothing to do with the meltdown in September 2008, the financial meltdown and the consequential impact on the real economy. We had nothing to do with it but yet we are suffering. Is like climate change, we have little or nothing to do with climate change but we are in the frontline of suffering from the adverse effects and that is why when we are fighting among ourselves who is to govern this little space called St. Vincent and the Grenadines of 110,000 and 150 square miles that we often forget that the central contradiction is not between, let me put it bluntly, Eustace and Ralph, but within the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and certain international forces which would seek to manipulate us for all their various reasons and that is why I remain always a regionalist and a nationalist to the bone. As I say, what I have just said here having read the formal statement may well be controversial, but unless you sometimes certain things which get to the heart of certain matters people think that you are just lying down and taking things for granted.I repeat, we are being scapegoated for the international crisis. The Canadian Prime Minister has made it plain that he does not see what all this has to do with the financial meltdown. It is not we who did not regulate the toxic assets in the United States, it is not we who did not regulate the banks in the United Kingdom or for that matter in France, but we have to pay the consequences and I am not accepting this scapegoating and I am speaking out against it. We want to conclude our Tax Information Exchange Agreement with France as we are16doing so with all other countries, but we need to make sure that when these impositions come upon us which are unreasonable, premature, arbitrary and unfair, that it is necessary and desirable for us to speak out.It is true to say that a French blacklist itself, a national blacklist of France will not affect these countries, the OECS countries in a particularly adverse way like if there were a full OECD black list, but this is quite unfair and we must be robust in our comment on this. I was trying to get Dr. Douglas since yesterday who is Chairman of the OECS so that he can..., I want to talk to him so that he can make a further statement on behalf of the whole of the OECS in addition to the one which he has made yesterday in relation to St. Kitts and Nevis, because equally he is very shocked about this matter and as you see, we have made immense progress with the signing of our TIEA’s and we will meet our deadline and that is why we have been working so feverishly. This thing has taken up a great deal of my time personally to peruse these agreements and then this sort of a thing happens when you are preempted before an agreed deadline, completely unreasonable.PETITIONSHONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I bring before the House the petition of the Global Missions Church which is situated here at Campden Park. It is brought to us for incorporation as a body corporate; it is signed here by:page17image13160Cephus Ford of Campden Park Deryck Maxwell of Campden Park Michael Peters of Questelles Nelcia Hazell of New Montrose Asher Forde of Campden Park Merlene Forde of Campden Park Diana Roberts of Campden ParkSHOWETH THAT:-Pastor -Joiner -Joiner -Social Worker -Teacher -Supervisor -Business Woman 1. Your Petitioners are the members of the Executive Committee of Global Missions Church of the State of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (hereinafter referred to as “the Church”). 2. Your Petitioners have been mandated by the Church to seek legal incorporation as a body Corporate of the said Church. 173. The said Church was established in the State of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the year 1975 with the objective of carrying out the great Commission of Jesus Christ to go into all the world and preach the gospel.Your Petitioners further state that the Church seeks not what it can receive but what it can give so that lives can be enriched and to assist any Government in the eradication of social evils such as drugs, unemployment and general problems associated with teenagers, adults and the socially deprived in our society.And the Petition is brought for incorporation, Mr. Speaker. I present, Mr. Speaker, for incorporation to this Honourable House.QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (1), standing in my name ofthe Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 1. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), asked the Honourable Minister ofAgriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:What specific programme has been put in place by the Ministry of Agriculture to deal with the Black Sigatoko outbreak affecting bananas and plantains in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, Black Sigatoko is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves of both plantains and bananas and it was in November of 2009 the disease was identified here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Samples were sent off to various research institutions including CIARD by November the 30th and confirmation of the disease was made available by the 10th December. The disease was then declared on the 22nd December 2009.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has monies within its budgets for the control of Moko, Black Sigatoko, Pink Mealey Bug and Fruit Fly and specific to Black Sigatoko a comprehensive programme for management and control is being planned and I take this opportunity to so outlined. 1. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture together with the assistance of the office of the Attorney General declared the Black Sigatoko a notifiable pest. 2. Through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Commission on phytosanitory measures, the global community was informed about the presence of the disease here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. When the disease was confirmed in December, Mr. Speaker, the Ministry solicited, immediately, technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture in Martinique and Guadeloupe and CIARD that is the (Centre for International Agriculture Research and Development), but remember team visit us here and did an evaluation onpage18image2190418the spread of the disease to provide training on disease management and control to all staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and made recommendations on the integrated and chemical control methods to be used for the management and control of the disease.Mr. Speaker, CIARD is currently engaged in research and development work to develop banana varieties that are resistant to Black Sigatoko and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines has already been integrated into this research work. Under our public awareness campaign there are several components to this programme. There are radio, television and print media publications to sensitise the farmers and the general public about the disease. Consultations were done with farmers throughout the length and breadth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and already nine such consultations have been conducted and a total of sixteen consultations are planned.Also, seminars involving farmers, on the management and control of the disease is being done. Four of such seminars are already accomplished where over 200 farmers were involved and eight of such seminars have been planned. A meeting was also held with the traffickers to ensure their own awareness and to request of them the movement of materials as it relates to bananas and plantains from farm to farm here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.In relation to cultural practices, Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture immediately asked all farmers for the cleaning up of all fields and in some cases cutting back or the destruction of abandoned fields which really serves as services inoculums; we asked farmers to have all such work done. We also asked farmers, Mr. Speaker, to de-leaf infected leaves with top surface of leave facing downwards. It is very important that when you cut the leaves off, you turn the top surface downwards to help in the control of dispose. Equally we encouraged all of our farmers to detach as much as possible.Mr. Speaker, a comprehensive spray programme using the ground crew and aerial spraying is also on the way. The ground crew continues to spray in hot spot areas and the aircraft also went into hot spot areas and sprayed with tilt and spray tex oil in December. In January of this year a complete aerial cycle was done covering the entire island and there are some ten cycles that has been programmed for this year. The programme is ongoing, Mr. Speaker and at the regional level, I am in the process of coordinating a regional response strategy to combat this dreadful disease. As a matter of fact, I got a letter from the Minister of Agriculture from Guyana, Minister Persaud, who requested of me to have an urgent regional response to combat this dreadful disease. The letter was copied to the CARICOM Secretariat, to IICA, to FAO and to CARDI and Mr. Speaker, I am at the regional level coordinating this response, I have been in touch with Bernard Cornibert who is the CEO of WINFRESH requesting part financing if not total financing of a workshop where regional stakeholders including researchers, regional institutions, farmers and policy makers where all can meet with a view of establishing that kind of framework for the control and maintenance of this disease. Mr. Speaker, I was also in touch with Mr. Raul Persaud of Renwick Duest where he too was contacted and Mr. Persaud is willing to provide a competent technician to this regional meeting.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is taking its work seriously, unlike Mr. Speaker, in 1994 when the Pink Mealy Bug attacked St. Vincent and the Grenadines where it had manifested itself almost every part of this19country and even up to 2001 when the NDP administration left office they themselves would not have acknowledged the presence of the disease in this country. That in itself, Mr. Speaker, would have caused many of our farmers, the country as a whole to lose millions of dollars.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture will continue to work hard and work with regional institutions to ensure that Black Sigatoko and all such other diseases are controlled for the benefit of the Agricultural Sector in this country. I am much obliged.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (2), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.2. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), asked the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:When will the Coconut Water Bottling Plant seen as a diversification project by the Ministry of Agriculture start actual operations.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as it relates to the question before this Honourable House, I am indeed happy, Mr. Speaker, that the Leader of the Opposition acknowledging that there is a diversification programme in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.Mr. Speaker, it is not only the Coconut Water Bottling is one of the aspects of diversification; there is also the aspect of the Hatchery in Dumbarton which is doing well, the Cassava Plant at Orange Hill again doing well and the farmers Training Institute which is will soon be open this year and just last week through the Petro Alimentos Programme the ALBA Initiative, a programme that is designed to be unsigned by the Opposition if they get into Parliament, through that same programme we would have distributed sheep, fertilizer and seeds to farmers of this country under the diversification programme.Mr. Speaker, as it relates to the Coconut Water Bottling, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries accepted this project from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as one which was ready for commercialization since it fitted well with the Government’s Agricultural Diversification Initiative and facilitated the industrialisation of the Agricultural Sector.Mr. Speaker, this project, perhaps the best framework for the public/private sector partnership and as such the Ministry had no difficulties finding an experienced business partner with whom resides the technical and managerial competencies to manage the plant. In the implementation of the Initiative, Mr. Speaker, it was discovered that there are several technical and in some cases design constraints which require further research and developmental work. This, Mr. Speaker, is indeed a costly exercise which the FAO has continued to work with the Government to regularise.Mr. Speaker, the research and development work which embraces repeated runs to determine the efficacy of the filtration system shelf life testing and a product packaging and labeling are ongoing and are being evaluated by20a technical team with representatives from the Standards Bureau, the St. Vincent Brewery, the Private Sector Partner and the Ministry of Agriculture. Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate that when the project was conceptualized it was so done with an objective to produce coconut water at ambient temperatures standing up to six months of shelf life. During the period of the exercise, Mr. Speaker, we would have had batches of the product standing up to two months of testing and the product was a fine product, but Mr. Speaker, if only the product was chilled and continued to be chilled the product would have met its initial objective.However, Mr. Speaker, during the course of this fiscal year 2010 the Ministry of Agriculture expects to operationalize the Coconut Water Bottling Plant and do so on a commercialised basis with two products, one product “a” where a micro filtration product is being chilled and two product “b” a micro filtration product at ambient temperature with up to a shelf life not exceeding six weeks.Mr. Speaker, the new FAO Representative for the Eastern Caribbean, Mrs. Kentish, who recently took up office in Barbados, she came to St. Vincent, she met with the Ministry and the FAO Representative has indeed indicated her total commitment in ensuring the viability of this project. The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to work with FAO until we get the final product at the objective with, which we started. I am much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question number 3 Honourable Member of the Opposition. HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, am I to understand that the product is available by theend of 2010. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary? HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Yes. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member. SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONHONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, we have been running a number of batches of the product. We have tested the products, but we have not commercialized the products. We have done the work, but what we are saying now in 2010 we are going to commercialize the activity and to have the products on the table as two products, one which is being chilled because of course we have had the product being chilled and have lasted well over six months and we are going to have a second product which is not chilled but at a shorter shelf life.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: 2010? HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: In 2010.21HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (3), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Tourism.3. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), asked the Honourable Minister of Tourism:When will the long delayed Buccament Tourism Project commence operations.HONOURABLE GLEN BEACHE: Mr. Speaker, I do not know how to really answer this question, because as far as I am aware the Buccama Project is not delayed, it never has been delayed. Never once has it been delayed so to [applause] phrase the question in that way, Mr. Speaker, is really not being truthful. Mr. Speaker, this project and let me explain certain aspects of this project.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Inaudible.HONOURABLE GLEN BEACHE: Mr. Speaker, this project was never to open for World Cup Cricket. That would have been impossibility, not even Donald Trump could have opened that project for World Cup Cricket. Mr. Speaker, let us remember this, this project and the developers of this project came to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the simple reason that we were building an international airport, without the construction of the international airport, this project will not be taking place [applause] that is the first point, Mr. Speaker, but Mr. Speaker, if we remember in the initial stages of this project you know was the Opposition that made it clear that this project should not take place, especially down at Buccama because that land should be used for Agriculture. But it funny, Mr. Speaker, we have business people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who will be putting a project in that area, but we have heard no opposition to this at all.Mr. Speaker, this project will be opening its first phase on July 1st 2010. The first phase will consist of 260 rooms. Initially, Mr. Speaker, the first phase consisted of 352, they have had some delays so it is now to 260 rooms and then the second phase, Mr. Speaker, will be opened at the same time of the international airport at which time, Mr. Speaker, it would be 1000 rooms here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines [applause].Mr. Speaker, we must remember you know the Opposition when they were in office were the ones who had said that they were all about tourism, they never got one developer to come here. Because we are building the international airport we have many coming into St. Vincent and the Grenadines [applause] because we are building this international airport the same international airport that the Opposition held a Press Conference on and has said nothing about it. They cannot say whether they are in support of it or if they are against it, [interjection] but they will study it, they will bring in international consultants to study it. I do not know what there is to study, Mr. Speaker. We have many studies here on file that state exactly what is going on. It took an ingenious plan, Mr. Speaker, of the Honourable Prime Minister and give credit where credit is due [applause], it took an ingenious plan for us to get that international airport here, because no matter what, Mr. Speaker, you know we can speak about looking for financing, I do not know where we are going to find it at this time with what is going on internationally, because I could say the US is not going to give it to us. The United Kingdom is not going to give it to us. I do not know if certain brothers are going to give to us, because I see them22walking around Calliaqua and so on, I do not know if they are going to give it to us, but Mr. Speaker, Buccama is right on target. As a matter of fact, I had a meeting with them two weeks ago. Right now we are in the process of speaking to British Airways, Virgin, deciding on whether their clientele will come through Barbados or St. Lucia, Mr. Speaker, we are quite on target. We know what we are doing you know. We are not playing poker, we are not gambling with the taxpayers’ money, Mr. Speaker. I am much obliged.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (4), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.4. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines) asked the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:In light of the serious problems being encountered by our fishermen in finding markets for their fish and in light of the assurances given by this Government that export of fish to European Union Markets, principally Martinique, would have resumed in 2009 after EU inspectors has received the fisheries centres in the country, will the Minister state: a. what was the result of the EU inspections of the fisheries centres conducted in 2009; b. what needs to be done to meet the requirements of the inspectors; and c. when can fishermen expect that they will be able to export fish to Martinique. HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I am not aware of serious problems being encountered by fishermen in finding markets for their fish, despite the assurances given by the Government of the fish to be exported to the European Union Markets even after the inspectors visited St. Vincent in late 2008.Mr. Speaker, at the Fisheries Centres including the main Kingstown Fish Market, there are indeed regular complaints by the Manager that he cannot get enough fish to buy. Mr. Speaker, in 2008 the Government established a bond on live bait that was being exported and since then, Mr. Speaker, there has been an increase in the small fish where all of that fish is being eaten here in St. Vincent. In 2009 Mr. Speaker, the Government initiated a policy where $6 million was placed at the disposal of the fishermen to improve and enhance their fleet through the fleet expansion programme so that more fish can be caught and made available here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and there are a number of businessmen, Mr. Speaker, from time to time there are applications before my desk, businessmen from Miami, from New York, even the leeward Islands who are making applications and making demands for fish out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These demands, Mr. Speaker, most of the times cannot be met. So to say that there are serious problems being encountered by our fishermen, Mr. Speaker, is a statement unfounded on fact.Mr. Speaker, it was not this Government to cause St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be blacklisted by the EU in the year 2000. This Government has been working to restore sanity, decency and pride to the fishermen of St.23Vincent and the Grenadines. I believe the only thing that the Honourable Member can indicate is that we are taking maybe a long time, but Mr. Speaker, it is the NDP administration that has gotten us where we are today.Mr. Speaker, in relation to the EU visit, in 2008 a mission team from the Food and Veterinary Office paid a visit to St. Vincent and so Mr. Speaker, the objective of the mission was to evaluate whether the official control system has been put in place by the competent agency covering fish products produced in St. Vincent and destined for the European Union, to provide guarantees that can be considered as at least equivalent to the community requirements as laid down in the certificate of the commission regulation.Mr. Speaker, the following were the conclusions from the report.1. Legislation, Mr. Speaker, following the recommendation from the previous Food and Veterinary office mission report, the competent authority put in place, new legislation. The most important requirement for fish products intended for exports to the EU are incorporated into the National Legislation. Procedures for approval of fish establishments, official supervision and the issuing of health certificates have been clearly defined in the legislation here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.In relation to the second point, the competent authority, the role of the fisheries division under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been clearly defined in the laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the competent authority for fish and following the recommendation from the previous Food and Veterinary office mission report, the competent agency has been put in place within the new legislation.In terms of official controls, all fishing vessels, landing sites, and establishment processing fish products for exports to the EU must be approved by the competent authority. Written procedures for approval and revocation of approval of establishments and vessels, including inspection lists, have been established. What used to be happening before, Mr. Speaker, when the boats, the fishing vessels do come into the landing sites they would be moving fish all over the sites, this is something that is not acceptable under the regulations and therefore there would have been earmarked specific areas where fish would proceed to the acceptance of HASUP and so all of the vessels, the landing sites and the establishment were really put in a proper order.In terms of the laboratories, at the moment Mr. Speaker, there are no laboratories in St. Vincent accredited or capable of performing the necessary official checks on fish and fish products and water, however, an MOU, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with an accredited laboratory in Trinidad which will perform all of the analyses which are being required under community legislation.Mr. Speaker, visits carried out by the mission team, when the team came here, Mr. Speaker, and they would have done their visit to the various establishments, no samples had been taken for micro biological and chemical analysis of fish products, water and ice, both for own and official checks. This is so because when they actually visited it was in November of the year and so you do not have much of fish moving in the plants during those months and so the visit was not able to have the opportunity to see that aspect of it and so this was something that they were very much concerned about.24Mr. Speaker, also what happened is that there was not always written evidence of frequency of the competent authority inspections that would have been available due to the fact that in some cases the findings and advice were given orally. This was also of concern, Mr. Speaker. And so in an overall conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the team would have recognised that there would have been much progressed that would have been made along the fish and fish products chain to address the recommendations in the 2000 Food and Veterinary Office Report with in particular, improvement in legislation and the organisation of the competent authority.Overall, Mr. Speaker, the control system developed by the competent authority in respect of fishery products intended for the EU could provide appropriate guarantees in accordance with the community legislation. However, it was not possible to evaluate ineffectiveness in its effectiveness because at the time it was not being implemented.Mr. Speaker, what needs to be done? The competent authority should provide the commissioned services with an action plan including a timetable for its completion within one month of receipt of the report and this must be done in order to address the following recommendations: 1. That the competent authority should ensure that the training of all staff involved in signing of the export certificates and performing official controls in relation to community fish products export requirement is further enhanced in order to ensure adequate knowledge. 2. That the competent authority should ensure that a programme based on HASUP principles in accordance with Article 5 of Regulations 852 of 2004 being in place, it being implemented and maintained at the establishments and 3. The competent authority should ensure that standards equivalent to the ones in annex 2 chapter 7 to the Regulations as I have just mentioned 852 of 2004 of the European Parliament and Council are implemented and control should be established in this respect. Mr. Speaker, although most elements of the action plan have been implemented, efforts are ongoing with respect to the strengthening of the capacity of the fisheries sector to meet the EU standards. A technical expert from the EU would be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to work with the Fisheries Division for two to three weeks to review the SBS control systems for fish and fish products around the 15th March 2010.Mr. Speaker, when can fishermen expect that they will be able to export fish to Martinique, the procedures as outlined by the inspectors is as follows: on completion of the inspection, a draft report will be sent to the competent authority who will review and respond within 25 days of receipt of the report that the comments of the competent authority would be taken into account and the final report and comments of the competent agency would be posted on the website so that if you have further interest, all you need to do is to go on the EU website and you will be able to find the report there. And thirdly the EU Commission would give consideration to the report and make a final decision on whether St. Vincent and the Grenadines would be authorised to export fish and fish products.25Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Fisheries Department has been working indeed very hard to ensure that fish and fish products be exported back to Martinique. But outside of that Mr. Speaker, fish is being exported to North America and the other Caribbean Islands, but at the same time, there is nothing of fish to be exported. I am much obliged.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Honourable Member for his answer, but it ain’t look like we are doing it soon.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (5), standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Sea and Airports, National Security, Legal and Grenadines Affairs.5. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines) asked the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, Sea and Airports, National Security, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:Given that the J.F Mitchell Airport is in urgent need of repair and maintenance in that the approach lights, the apron lights and the runway lights are not working properly, the roof in the tower and in the terminal building is leaking badly in several places; the back-up generator does not turn on automatically as required and is not serviced adequately by trained personnel, the fire truck is sometimes not working and this results in cancellation of flights; the ceiling in the washrooms is falling apart; and the eaves of the building in the area near the manager’s office have been damaged for several years now, so that the office is not secure, and given that we are now in the tourist season when the airport is at its busiest:When will the work be done to rectify the problems.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the long preamble contains a lot of errors, I am not going to take time today to correct those errors, I will just assert, I have five pages which the public servants give me about the errors, all I will say to you is that there was significant monies spent last year on the airport and as you know, you just completed the estimates though you did not debate on that aspect of it here, the significant money is in the estimates this year to do ongoing repairs which we do to all the airports. There is no body who can lecture this Government on airport development [applause]. We have built a jet airport, we are building an international airport and we are doing so within two terms. We just resurfaced the whole of the airport in Union Island and all the repairs to the building as $41⁄2 million. As I had said to your member from the Southern Grenadines, you are talking about it, but no..., it does not matter what you spend, you do not get anything [interjection] yes, well it is good to see that was done, but I must cut back spending, but spend only where you want to spend.Well unfortunately, you are not the Government and you would not be for a long time. So the point I want to make, the responsible authorities have this work plan in hand and you know, you would not understand about Government work plans, the various ministries and how they have to do it and the release of funds and when those things are happening. You will never learn about it, because you would not get into Government.26I just want to make this point, Mr. Speaker, because of the efficient private sector operation with the ferries and the generosity of this Government in continuing an old policy of not charging any company taxes for any ferry which is registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and ply within St. Vincent and the Grenadines, they do not pay any taxes at all, no company taxes. People are really taking the ferry to and from St. Vincent and there are only very few people..., the bulk of the tourists who go to the Grenadines go there by sea, the bulk. I have the figures here. Every day in 2005 21.8 passengers on an average, call it 22 because you cannot have .8 of a passenger, 22 land from morning till night at J.F Mitchell, that is in 2005. In 2009 21.6 you cannot have .6 again, so 22, the same 22, same number and I just want to say this, in 2005 to operate that airport it cost in 2004 $277,700 in 2005. In 2009 it cost $730,000 a year and the passengers which go in, in 2005 it is 7,952 and in 2009 it is 7,875 about the same level. It is a very expensive operation for insufficient returns, but we are continuing to do all the work there. I supported the Bequia Airport, the J.F Mitchell Airport. I never see a thing like this, the men calling thing in their lifetime. That is why I make it plain, nobody call Argyle International Airport after me you know, well I would not attend the ceremony if they want to call it after me, you know, I would not do that, you know after I am dead, you can do whatever you want, because I do not know, but I am not so egotistical to want things to be named after me, airport and all that.But Mr. Speaker, of all the airports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the one in Bequia is the least patronised. It has been so from day one. When it was opened first, I remember they sang songs at the opening How Great Thou Art, that is what they sung for Sir James you know, they sang a hymn, How Great Thou Art and he lapped it up [laughter] [interjection] yes, steups, Mr. Speaker, I do not know..., that is why they do not want to ask me any questions you know, you see how few I am getting today. I am obliged.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (6), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Physical Planning, Lands and Surveys, Local Government.6. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines), asked the Honourable Minister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Physical Planning, Lands and Surveys, Local Government:In light of the need for affordable lands for our nationals who want to live in Bequia and given that most of the crown lands in Bequia is being offered for sale by the Government in large lots and at prices that most locally based nationals cannot afford, will the Minister please state: a. what the Government is doing to make affordable lands available in Bequia for our people; b. how many lots are being made available; and c. where the affordable lands are located. 27HONOURABLE SABOTO CAESAR: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, since this administration took office in 2001, we have approved the sale of over 200 parcels of land in Bequia to residence of that island [applause] at the concessionary price of $3 or less per square foot.Mr. Speaker, those same lands on the open market would have fetch between $5 and $8 per square foot and we sold the lands for $3. After careful research, Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous administration where the poor and the needy were often ignored and priority given to those who can afford to purchase lands on the open market in Bequia and in many cases had property and even properties elsewhere; as a lady told me in a conversation I had when I visited her in Bequia, she said, under the previous administration full belly was telling empty belly keep faith [laughter].Mr. Speaker, we do not intend to go back on our promise and we will continue this policy of empowering the poor and the vulnerable by allowing them the opportunity to own at least a parcel of land. As a result, we have identified and to date sub-divided 92 parcels in different areas including 43 in Gelliceaux, 28 in Camel, 15 in Hamilton and 6 at Hope and we are making these available at between $1.50 and $3.00 per square foot.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Land and Surveys we continue to deliver. Thank you, very much [applause].HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (7), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Commerce and Trade.7. Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Commerce and Trade;With our Trade deficit at 8:1 and 46.5% of GDP in 2008 and approaching 50% in 2010, there appears an urgency to address this Trade imbalance. a. How is this Trade imbalance affecting our foreign exchange earnings; b. Which are the targeted firms to lift us out of this trade deficit; and c. What is the extent and nature of Government’s intervention. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister...HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, as much as I would like to oblige the Honourable Senator Leacock in answering this question, the question really is one of economic development, and therefore the question must be rerouted to the Ministry of Economic Development and the relevant minister would answer the question.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, and Minister of Economic Development.28HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, in this regard I would let the question pass, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay, he withdraws the question.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, if I may say this for the edification of this Honourable House there is, from a technical standpoint, a trade deficit at 8:1; you cannot reduce a trade deficit to a ratio, technically it cannot be a ratio. You can talk about a ratio of exports to imports... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: With great respect Mr. Prime Minister the question is withdrawn. No need to answer it.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: No, I just want to say, Mr. Speaker, and the factual basis in relation to extent of the GDP is also wrong. I am not answering, Mr. Speaker, but in as much as it is before the House the preamble is wrong. In fact, in one respect, technically inadmissible I understand why he does not want me.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: All right. Question No. 8 to the Honourable Senator Leacock. HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (8), standing in my nameof the Minister of Transport and Works. 8. Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Transport andWorks: a. What are the specific river defence projects and programme as well as road improvement projects for the villages of Green Hill, Largo Height, Kingstown park and Redemption Sharpes in the Central Kingstown Constituency; and b. When can motorists and pedestrians alike look forward to the repairing of the Old Montrose, Lodge Village road complete with the covering of drains and provisional sidewalks to improve both motorists/pedestrians safety and comfort. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, I have received a submission from the current parliamentary representative for Central Kingstown with respect to the projects which he would wish to have implemented during this financial year. And this is an annual requirement from all parliamentary representatives as part of the maintenance programme and so Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to inform this Honourable House that the following road improvement projects have been identified for implementation during 2010 in the Central Kingstown constituency, in light of the submission of the current parliamentary representative and also the question posed by the Honourable Senator.29In Green Hill, Mr. Speaker, widening of the road in the vicinity of Browne’s Apartment, the scope of works include the widening [of] a section of the road 236 feet by 4 feet as well as repairs to a section of the drain and the construction of a retaining wall. In Green Hill also, Mr. Speaker, the Hollywood to Buchan Road, this scope of works include asphalts surface repairs of 366 feet by 1. In Paul’s Avenue the road through Plan leading to the Girl Guides Headquarters, the scope includes covering drains and upgrading the footpath for vehicular traffic, as well as covering drains measuring 149 feet by 16. In Sharpes Village roads north of the playing field, the scope of works involves road repairs and drains. The Level Gardens’ Road this will undergo significant repairs. The Dascent Cottage Road near to the Conliff Residence, the scope of work includes asphalt road repairs measuring 221 feet by 16. And the Lodge Village main road and Old Montrose, this includes significant asphalt surface repairs.Mr. Speaker, I want to say here, that this ULP administration has spent over $100 million on roads during the past three or more years. We however acknowledge that there are many roads that still require some refurbishment. And permit me, Mr. Speaker, to emphasize that every road that needs to be upgraded will not and cannot be done at once. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, this ULP administration has been responding quite well within the ambits of the various sets of available resources.Mr. Speaker, river defense projects for this year have still not been finalized. Many of these will however, be subsumed under social infrastructure projects which are designed to address footpaths, retaining walls, steps and so on.The (b) part of the question, Mr. Speaker, as indicated previously, the Old Montrose, Lodge Village road has been identified for refurbishment for this year, scheduling of projects is almost completed. However, the scope of works for this project as presently defined does not include covering of drains to provide sidewalks. This will nevertheless be reviewed and a determination made as to how critical and necessary it is. Additionally, Mr. Speaker, it is to be noted that consideration will also be given to two additional projects in Central Kingstown. 1. The installation of sleeping policemen in the vicinity of the School of Nursing and the Prime Minister’s Residence, motorists are using that road as a race course. 2. There will also be some alterations to the junction on the main Leeward Highway in the vicinity of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) headquarters. Mr. Speaker, I must say that when the aforementioned works are done the Honourable Senator whom I like to goad at times and he knows that, will find himself in more difficulties to win the seat that he is hoping to contest. This will therefore not be a feather in his cap at all. I thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 9. Honourable Senator Leacock. HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you very much again, Mr. Speaker. Just in passing to theHonourable Minister that Hollywood and Buchan are not considered to be in Green Hill, but let it pass.9. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Education:30A number of schools in the Kingstown area like other parts of the country are still in urgent need of classroom improvements in particular the state of their floors and bathrooms. a. What is the work plan if any for these schools; b. Please provide details of the restoration or rebuilding plans for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Boys’ Grammar School, now in a deplorable condition after nearly fifty (50) years of its consecution; and c. Is a shared gymnasium part of these development plans. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister responsible for education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I must start by reminding the Honourable Member that maintenance of government’s building is under the control of the Building Roads and General Services Authority. This is so since October 2009. Prior to this the Ministry of Transport and Works controlled the maintenance of government buildings and this includes all government-owned educational institutions. Money allocated for this purpose is now under the control of the Chief Executive Officer of BRAGSA and formerly under the control of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works. However, work on upgrading of school premises proceeds on a continual basis. Quite apart from funds allocated in the maintenance vote businesses that sponsor particular schools private individuals who so desire do upgrading work to assist as well.The point is, Mr. Speaker, attention is continually paid to improving all schools. The Ministry of Education is focused in its work. For major capital projects, the Ministry of Education makes the necessary proposals and funds allocated under the capital project programme on an annual basis. In the budgetary estimates for 2010 there are funds allocated for the upgrading of school premises amounting to $750,000.00 and these funds will be used for upgrading of some schools. And we have to bear in mind, Mr. Speaker, that some schools are older than others.As regards the St. Vincent Grammar School in 2009 a project entitled “The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Grammar and Girls’ High School Development project” was approved in the sum of $1 million. That sum was earmarked to provide for consultancy work to develop a master plan and renovation to the Girls’ High School. This year, a sum of 600,000.00 is allocated to continue the process. During the course of 2009 the two schools set up working groups in which former students of both schools, staff of the Ministry of Transport and Works and others were invited to participate; draft the terms of reference relating to the long term development was circulated in July. Those working groups though they have met have not submitted any final report to the Ministry of Education and hence it would be premature in my opinion to state what the plans are.Mr. Speaker, I do have with me a copy of the draft terms of reference for the engagement of consultants for reconstruction of the St. Vincent Grammar School and the Girls’ High School. Mr. Speaker, I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, very much. 31In relation to question No. 10, I wish to state that, [Allow the children to settle down], Sorry about that, in relation to question No. 10, it is not within the competence of me to determine to whom this question must be directed. And therefore the question as stated creates some sort of logistical problems for the office and therefore I would ask that we move to question No. 11 and that is a question asked by the Honourable Senator Cummings. Please question No. 11.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (11), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment.10. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment or the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Planning, legal and Grenadines Affairs or the Honourable Minister of Sports, in whom authority/responsibility rests:Would the Honourable Minister please state what was the cost of the procurement and installation of the packaged sewage plant at the Arnos Vale Sporting Facility.11. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment:What if any was the input of the staff of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) into the selection and maintenance of the packaged sewerage treatment plant at the Arnos Vale Sporting Facility.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Health question No. 11.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members. Mr. Speaker, the package sewerage plant was recommended and designed for operation for the Cricket World Cup by consultants to that venture. The CWSA was invited to a demonstration of its operation. It is operated and managed by the Sports Council. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Clarification.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: The question asked whether CWSA had any input into the selection maintenance, I understand that it was involved in the discussions in its operation, it does not answer whether it is involved in maintenance.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: I answered, Mr. Speaker, that the CWSA was invited to show demonstration, it was not involved. There were consultants, Tomlin Voss Associates, were the consultants, I assumed that we have confidence in the ability of those consultants in their recommendation of the plant and that project which was not part of the Ministry of Health and the Environment was a project where specific consultants were involved, recommended, and their recommendations were accepted.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 12 Honourable Senator Cummings. 32HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. (12), standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Sports.12. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator), to ask the Honourable Minister of Sports: a. Would the Honourable Minister please state what is the performance history of the packaged sewerage plant at the Sporting facility at Arnos Vale; and b. What is being done to rectify any operational and maintenance problems of the plant. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Sports.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Member would appreciate that although this question is in two parts they basically connect and therefore I will have to address it in an omnibus way, jointly, because it is difficult to talk about the performance history without connecting it with operational and maintenance problems as he puts it. So I respond, Mr. Speaker, in that vein. But, I preface and contextualize it by noting that I am happy that the Honourable Senator has addressed our number one sporting facility in the country; a sporting facility or something akin to it that the previous NDP had talked about but never delivered. It is a facility that costs some $55 million of which the sewerage plant is apart.Mr. Speaker, this is the largest of our sporting facilities, most expensive and in that context I remind this nation that our administration has spent more than 10 times annually on sports than the previous NDP administration. I am sure the interest of the Honourable Senator has to do with the upcoming One Day Internationals against Zimbabwe on March 10th, 12th and 14th. So I am happy that he has raised this question and I am sure the public will have some interest.Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Health indicated this facility is run by the National Sports Council but it was established under Cricket World Cup by the local organization committee, the 2007 Cricket World Cup. And that was responsible for the upgrading of works at the Arnos Vale 1, as well as Stubbs and Sion Hill and for interest, Mr. Speaker, and in reference to the earlier question that the Honourable Minister of Health addressed the information that I have is that T&T Water Tech. of Trinidad and Tobago were actually the contractors were supplying and installing the sewerage plant at a cost of some $508,984.00, $948, okay thanks; they have it $984 here.Mr. Speaker, with regard the plant itself, it is a package water sewerage system which temporarily stores effluence and through a system of pumps and pipe work moves them to an electrically operated treatment plant for processing. Mr. Speaker, you can appreciate that as the Minister of Sport, I hold a lot of meetings down there and attend a lot of functions. Indeed the facility is part of the constituency of West St. George which I have the honour to represent in this Parliament. I know the operations fairly well. I know they have three collection points and from the toilet system and these are pumped electrically to the central plant.The sewerage plant according to the National Sports Council, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members has performed efficiently and well. It uses a system of ultraviolet to eliminate bacteria leaving minute amounts of33water after treatment and the National Sports Council has had only minor concerns which relate to its operation. It is operated electrically. One of the concerns of course, is result on the electrical bill. The operational maintenance problems experienced thus far are easily rectified. Most concerns I am informed by the National Sports Council relate to the occasional malfunction of the electrical apparatus which powers the system, more often than not, these in tern relate to the shortening out of some fuses. But problems are minimized by weekly inspections and electrical maintenance including voltage testing, the National Sports Council, and I know this for a fact, has retained a plumber for any related difficulties as well as a team of electricians which team is on called in the event of any mishap. From time to time, Mr. Speaker, the Council seeks information from the installers who are based in Trinidad and Tobago; I mentioned T&T Water Tech. of Trinidad and Tobago; with whom a close relationship has been forged.Now one of the problems, and I think the Honourable Senator would know, is that in that area the water table is high, we know, we have seen, or we should have read reports on areas in the country which are prone to flooding and Arnos Vale is one of the worst in this regard. So the normal systems of having your soakaway, the sewerage they are not workable in that context where the water table is very high. And indeed, I have been informed that the old system was very expensive because you had to pump them and transport and so on. So this system, Mr. Speaker, from all reports has a pretty good performance history and the minor operational/maintenance problems are rectified through the administration.So Mr. Speaker, I remind this country, and I remind the other side that this administration places sports at the centre of the developmental highway and we put our money where our mouth is and we have spent and are spending more than 10 times on sports what the previous administration has spent, thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Could the Honourable Minister please indicate if the facility iscurrently working properly.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Let me just... before you answer that; because I noticed that something is creeping in here very regular these days. The question of clarification it has to be according to supplementary question. So please... right. Honourable Member you heard the question?HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Originally, clarification. But I will treat it as a question. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I did a site visit and all the aspects of that facility I visited and the answer to that question is yes.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay. That brings us to the end of question time.ORDERS OF THE DAY THE CONSTITUTION OF ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2010DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members... 34page34image24800HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: ‘No abundance of caution’? DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I believe that we are going to be out of here beforelunch. I think so.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: All right.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that a bill for an act to amend the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines set out in the First Schedule to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Order 1979, United Kingdom Statutory Instrument 1979, No. 9-16, be read first time.The object of this bill, Mr. Speaker, is to increase the number of seats in section 33 of the Constitution from 15 to 17.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Seconded by the Minister of Electoral Affairs. Question put and agreed to.OFFORD MORRIS PENSION BILL, 2010 DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Member, I beg to move that abill for an Act to confer a pension on Offord Morris be read a first time. The object of this bill is as stated in the title. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to moveunder Standing Order 48 (2) that bill be taken through all its stages at today’s sitting. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move thata bill for an act to confer a pension on Offord Morris be read a second time. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. 35HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Debate on the bill.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as I had announced in my Budget Address, Mr. Offord Morris, a gentleman from Lowmans who is now passed his 80th year, served in this Honourable House for a period 1979 to 1984 and was a Minister of Government. And Mr. Speaker, he would not have qualified under the provisions of the House of Assembly Pensions Provision Act because you have to have a 9 years, but Mr. Morris served; he is as I said 80 years old plus his circumstances are such that the government considers that he ought to be given a small monthly pension of $1200.00. This would take effect as from January 1st, Mr. Speaker, until his death. There is no one after his death. There is no member of his family that can get anything. Mr. Speaker, as I had outlined then, this is not a open sesame for persons who are in a similar position and who are younger and who are working; this is really for persons who cannot at the moment quite provide for themselves.I must say this, Mr. Speaker, that a bill had been passed in an earlier period to facilitate Mr. George Charles, who in fact did not serve for 9 years either, but he served in a period when there was no provision at all, but even if he had served when there was a provision he would not have served for nine years because he had served from 1951 to 1957 just a six year period. I do not believe we should have any controversy over this Mr. Speaker, I do not really want to see former parliamentarians who are at a particular age now, I would not like to see them in such a state of penury that they are unable to satisfy certain basic needs; thus this particular act of generosity.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on the bill? Honourable Leader of the Opposition.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I am in genuine support of this piece of legislation and it is here for three persons this morning who have served in the House of Assembly. We are dealing with them one at a time but my comments, the few comments that I have are intended to be reflecting on all three. They have all served this country, they have served not only in Parliament, some of them have even served outside of Parliament, and the public sector, and I want to suggest, Mr. Speaker, in light of the comment of the Prime Minister which I take in good faith in relation to penury, that given the very advanced ages of the individuals concerned that maybe some consideration should be given to a small, well not small, a lump sum payment, as determined by the Ministry of Finance in addition to the $1200.00 per month. This has to do with the circumstances and also to do, Mr. Speaker, with their advanced ages. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on the bill, Honourable Member for South Central Windward.HONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to give support to this bill to give a pension to Mr. Offord Morris for his years of service in this Honourable House.36Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the government for giving this recognition to individuals such as Offord Morris who gave yeomen service to this country, not only as a parliamentarian and as a minister of government but also as farmer, and a businessman.As I know Mr. Morris, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, my first knowledge of him was as a farmer in Lowmans planting his bananas, employing some people and making a contribution to national development, and to think that all these years as a banana farmer there is really no pension for a banana farmer, banana declined and you go your way, you get nothing unless the NIS awards you something. As a businessman he ran a shop in Lowmans for all these years and today we have seen decline in many of these rural shops, I believe the mini bus revolution, Mr. Speaker, has acted negatively on many of these shops because many of the people who would have gone to these shops now come to Kingstown; because the buses would go and come so quickly. The decline of bananas too in the rural areas, Mr. Speaker, has seen many of these shops go into closure. We have become sort of centralized where these things are concerned. So this money for Mr. Morris is timely.Mr. Speaker, my strongest recollection of Mr. Morris was in 1979 when he contested the seat for the Labour Party; a seat that was held by ET Joshua for more than two decades, almost three decades, ET Joshua held the seat for the PPP. Mr. Morris being a humble man, farmer, businessman came into the areas where we lived in Hadley Village and he said that he is going to contest for the Labour Party. Those days all you can hear about in that constituency was PPP, ‘we will never let Joshua fall’, we he heard it being sung all over the place the children, the young people, the old people, ‘we will never let Joshua fall’, and then you go along and on election time people showed you three fingers, PPP, how then can a humble man like Mr. Morris break through to win a seat that was predominantly PPP. I believed he was helped by the entry of two other persons who contested the seat. Mr. Mitchell came up from the Grenadines and he wanted to contest the South Central seat; I believe, Mr. Speaker, because he played some role in the Lauders Estate being given to the people, freedom land, he believed this gave him a right and hold to contest the seat and see if he can win it. So he came up to contest the seat. Joshua also contested the seat and Simeon Greene contested the seat also for the UPM. So it was a race of four to get that seat. Well, Mr. Speaker, we knew that Mr. Morris will win because he had young Turks like me on his side; so he had to win. Mr. Mitchell came up and immediately he got strong support in Greggs where Joshua had his support. Simeon Greene being from Diamonds had strong support over in Diamonds. Well this left Mr. Morris holding the larger portion of the constituency. And if you examined what happened in South Central; Greggs supported Mitchell; Diamonds supported Simeon Greene; Morris had the rest of the constituency. Long Piece, Hadley Village, Lowmans, Chopmans, New Grounds and all the other areas, so naturally he will come through, Mt. Grennan. He will come through.But, Mr. Speaker, when we listen to the results that night in 1979, when it was announced that Morris actually won the seat, defeating Joshua, Mitchell and Greene, we went to his house to congratulate him and Mr. Morris was in his shop just giving out the drinks, passing them out. And what surprised me, some people who were there during the campaign, they were jumping up against Morris for Mitchell, they were there taking drinks and drinking and passing out. So I said to one man, why are you here, why are you doing that, so he said, so that fool me fool Mitchell. He was saying that they fooled Mitchell because Mitchell is a Grenadines man and who told him that he can come up on the mainland and win a seat.37Mr. Speaker, it was the first time since Adult Suffrage that Labour made a breakthrough in South Central, because as I said before Joshua held the seat for all those years and Labour made a breakthrough that time in South Central but when Labour lost in 1984 the seat swung from Labour to the NDP, and the NDP held it for 17 years until this man who supported Morris who at that time did not have an inclination to politics decided that it was time for the NDP to go. So I came back and said to the NDP in 2001 time for you to go. South Central is now... [me, me, I will war. And I will make sure that when you come up there, I will run you out]. Mr. Speaker, it is now a seat held by the ULP, we won it twice by very large margins and we will hold it. It is a fort. We will always hold it and we will hold it and hold it and hold it and they will never get it back.Mr. Speaker, so I want to give support to this bill, to give Mr. Morris a little money as you heard the Prime Minister said that he is well in excess of 80 years of age and I really commend him, because he is still trying to make a contribution, you can see him going to his lands on a morning with a few workers trying to cultivate, plant some bananas and some plantains to keep himself together and he is really doing that, and this money coming in on a monthly basis will help him as we recognize his contribution, acknowledge it and reward him for that. Mr. Speaker, it is part of the human side of this government where people are recognized and rewarded for their contribution. And you would have noticed also that through the NIS some monies are also given to farmers as I said before there really is no pension for banana farmers but through the NIS there is a small amount of money that are given to banana farmers who are retired so that in their sunset of their days they can still eat and drink and smile knowing that they have made a contribution to national development, the government acknowledges this and rewards that, Mr. Speaker. So I want to commend this effort and wish Mr. Morris all the best. May he live many, many more years to enjoy his money. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate. There seems to be no further debate Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that this Honourable House resolves itself into a committee of the whole House to consider this bill clause by clause.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. House went into committee of the whole House. Bill passed committee stage without amendments.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Member, I beg to move that a bill for an act to confer a pension on Offord Morris be read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a third time by title and passed. ALPHONSO DENNIE PENSION BILL 201038DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a bill for an act to confer a pension on Alphonso Dennie be read a first time.The object of this bill is as stated in the title. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to moveunder Standing Order 48 (2) that this bill be taken through all its stages at today’s sitting. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move thata bill for an act to confer a pension on Alphonso Dennie be read a second time. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Debate on the bill. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, as is seen in the preamble to the bill, Mr. Dennie represented the North Leeward constituency from 1972 to 1974. He was elected on the PPP ticket and then as you know, there was what was formed the Mitchell-Joshua Alliance, later dubbed by Ebenezer when he left it the ‘The Mitchell Junta’. Mr. Dennie stayed with the alliance when Mr. Joshua left. The government fell in the 1974 elections, he ran, he lost. The Labour Party was back in office in December 1974.Mr. Speaker, this case is also one where Mr. Dennie is in his 80’s. He had been a head teacher in the primary school and of course when he resigned before he was of pensionable age, he got no pension. He went off to Barbados to work and now is back. Well he has been back for some time now. And although he served for two and half years, Mr. Speaker, and I must say this he is still a very strong supporter of the opposition NDP, very strong, and the strength of his support for the NDP is such that nobody could ever begin to thinking that the government bringing a pension bill here could get him to support the ULP. That is not [the] intention at all. The intention is simply to make sure that someone who served here and he is an old man now that we cannot be so mean as a people. We should agree with this, Mr. Speaker. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on the bill? Honourable Leader of the Opposition. 39HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, in relation to Mr. Dennie I think I know better than the other gentleman, I have never assumed that these pieces of legislation were intended for persons to switch their allegiances and therefore the comments of the Prime Minister, I mean, I just want to make it clear that I have never assumed that that was the intent. The intent as I understand it is a recognition of the service that these three gentlemen have given to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Parliament and if you listened to Minister Walters a while ago, also outside of Parliament and given their advanced ages, and what the Prime Minister aptly described as penury, again make the proposal that we should consider some form of gratuity or lump sum payment given their very advanced ages.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate. Honourable Member for North Leeward. HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to join with the other speakers in making some very brief comments on this debate and certainly I rise really to support this bill. Now, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Dennie is one of our North Leeward sons. He is one of my predecessors who was considered though as one of our prime educators and as a head teacher, I think that he was certainly well respected, considered one of our better educators. North Leeward is certainly well known for these types of individuals. There are Teacher Moore and Teacher Ferdinand and a number of other individuals of that calibre and I think that Alphonso Dennie really fell into that sort of rank. His entry into politics where he had defeated Sam Slater and he spent two and half years before he would have lost to my own father John Thompson, I think it is something that some individuals and historians and so who will write about eventually. But that is not the issue of this particular bill. And I really... in these bills I do not want to raise any of the political issues related ... I, myself had been really been an admirer of Alphonso Dennie, I have known all his family members, his son in particular as well as his daughters. And I think in North Leeward in particular along with that of my father he would be well known for the development of the Petite Bordel Secondary School and I really have no problem whatsoever in supporting this particular bill. And I certainly want to wish Mr. Dennie the very, very best of health in his senior years and hope that this bill gets a very easy passage in this Honourable House.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate? No further debate... okay I am sorry.HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, maybe I am a little bit short so. Mr. Speaker, I have no problem in supporting this venture, this bill. I first heard of Mr. Dennie as a young teacher in Union Island. As you know he has served there for many years, as a matter of fact he has worked I believe all over this country as a teacher, a head teacher in some instances. In Union Island people wildly respect Mr. Dennie as a matter of fact, while teaching there, is about when you are comparing head teaches and you know, his name often came up and talk about him being a disciplinarian, how he got schools to function a lot and quite a lot of people in Union Island, they were older people would have talked fondly of him.I first met Mr. Dennie as a teacher at the Teachers’ College in that that year he came to talk to the new recruits at the College at that time. Even though he had left the teaching service he was still active in helping to motivate a number of persons who had chosen teaching as their career. Someone who had worked for, over I believe 30 years in the teaching fraternity and not been given any benefits for that. I was just this morning reading part of this while the Parliament was in session.40In one part of it they were talking about attracting people to the... this magazine the Parliamentarian, they were talking about attracting young people to politics and also that you know, if they do not win the seat or in times they may end up in difficult circumstances, what is in place to support in order to support people like this. And this is why I support this measure wholeheartedly. And would also like to say to Mr. Dennie on behalf of the people of Union Island we appreciate what you have done especially in the education field for the people of the Southern Grenadines. In no doubt, Mr. Speaker, wish him all the best in the future and know whatever is given to him. We need to look at the system, for people who have really served not only in politics but over the years who may not have reached that point in order to get the benefits; because having served for over 30 years in the teaching service and then as a parliamentarian definitely [something] should be done to help such people if they find themselves in difficulties in their latter years. Thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker I too rise in what is a non-controversial contribution to these three pieces of legislation but specifically now with respect to Mr. Alphonso Dennie. Mr. Dennie, Mr. Speaker, is one in the political history of this country you cannot help but knowing born 16th May, 1928, Mr. Dennie was employed as a teacher between the years 1942 to 1968 and in my little contact with him he reminded me that he started out with a sum of $4.80 per month that was his beginning salary; $4.80 per month. That constituted a salary at one time. He probably was richer then too. In 1953 he became a head master and served at the Ashton, Union Island School, twice, Gomea Methodist, West Wood Methodist, Chateaubelair Methodist, Langley Park Government, Clifton Government, and Troumaca Government. He certainly being island wide. And we know he has been a member of the House of Assembly for the years 1972 to 1974.Well, Mr. Speaker, the distinction point between Mr. Dennie and his other colleagues is that he went on in public service, serving on statutory boards between the years 1988 to 2001 at GESCO and 1988 to 2001 quite a long run at VINLEC as chairman where I know he did an extremely good job, Mr. Speaker. He was also at the Philatelic Services and also a member of the Public Service Commissions. Mr. Speaker, for these reasons I feel that as the Honourable Member for East Kingstown has indicated that perhaps it is a case to go beyond just the pension and to consider just a gratuitous amount to Mr. Dennie because I believe that things have been pretty rough on him over the years. So Mr. Dennie, Mr. Speaker, I know, because actually they bought our family home when things got tight with my father in the early days. A house I always wanted to go back and visit, strange enough I never was able to go back into that house; because I always felt when we lost that home, they were the ones that bought it.I remember Mr. Dennie too, Mr. Speaker, as a young officer then being so helpful to us in the Cadets. One year we wanted to get the Cadets from here to Grenada, it is what we called the Canadian Caribbean Exchange Programme and you had to get to Grenada and then to Trinidad to get the Canadian plane to take you throughout the Caribbean. We could not have raised the funds in St. Vincent to Trinidad and Tobago where the coastguard would help and he assisted us by getting the Port boat, I think it was Ocean Breeze, I cannot remember the name now, Ocean something was the name of that boat at the time. It would have taken the Cadets down to Grenada and to participate at camp. I would always remember that great favour because it was at the last minute we got that help. His son Olin being my good friend, classmate, schoolmate, I think we went41to Trinidad as well as Cadets in 1969, we have been around quite a bit, Mr. Speaker, and we have maintained good relationship until now.I want, Mr. Speaker, for us to be in this House to be very generous to Mr. Dennie, and to really give consideration to that gratuitous amount. If I may, Mr. Speaker, just make this last point in passing, in as much as I am appreciative of the effort, it really still begs the question why do not we fix the problem now rather than have to do so later. You know we have a problem in this House that will come back and I would hardly have to wait to find out that so many of us who served in this House have to [be] pitied 10, 20, years later. There is really no good reason why people who have served in this House as Senators as the Constitution provides for, including yourself, Mr. Speaker, who have served as Senators and not given the same consideration with respect to a pension. I mean I am not making a case for myself. I will be here for nine years, Stewart Nanton went before and Senator Francis as a Minister will qualify. Well, I am told no. But there is absolutely no reason why, if you are in the House as a Senator, you also should not be considered for some sort of pension benefit and somebody has to wait until many years to pity you. It is hard to make cases for politicians, but if you are in the highest office in the land as it were, in the Parliament certainly there must be a case for consideration and we should correct that problem sooner rather than later. Mr. Speaker, with my appeal for a gratuitous amount, I am much obliged. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Mr. Speaker, just recognize me for two minutes just to stand the Senator corrected. Being a Minister as a Senator does not qualify one for pension and gratuity in this House. I just like to put that in the record so that, to single me out and say that I will qualify for it as a Senator because I was a Minister is not true, and the laws do not allow for it. So if he would stand corrected on that matter.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: To his defense I do not think you were really singled out, I was also singled out. I am not a minister, but I was singled out as well.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: The point, I am making is not to contradict you, but he says it would not affect me, as a Senator because I served as a Minister, that is what he said so that is the point I am correcting. And I want him to stand corrected on it...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No controversy... HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: So that when he is getting pension as a senator naturally I will get aswell. All right.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No contention.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize if the Honourable Senator feels offended. I never intended to single him out. I want to make the case simply that Senators period, ought to be considered.42HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I believe you meant no contention. HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: None whatsoever, I thought the ministerial thing got him over thatproblem. That is all I thought. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Why are we proceeding with this? HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: I want to proceed if you would allow me, Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Go ahead.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Because I made the statement that I was singled out does not mean I was offended. I just want to clarify that in the Senator’s mind, because the Senator has a way when he makes statements in this Parliament he then goes on radio and compounds and expands on the problem, so I want to make it plain so that other persons will hear me before he goes on radio. That is all.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: End of issue. Let us continue. Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful for all the comments. I just want to say also in defense of Honourable Senator Leacock on this one. I think also even before, because he was speaking quickly, somebody had told him I think on that side that the Honourable Senator Francis did not qualify on the grounds of he being a minister; I do not think that the point was understood. But I understood it. Because he was speaking quickly, and did not make reference to a kind of a little side bar, but it came over. I think that episode is rested. I know he thinks I do not look for his interest but I...Mr. Speaker, there are two interests which have been raised, one of them has to do with the matter of a lump sum. I want to say this, it is a matter which I will certainly give consideration to as Minister of Finance.But, I want us to appreciate here as lawmakers that there is a body of opinion out there which even in singling out these three elderly gentlemen there is a lot of criticism about it. It is said even though we fight each other we have a politicians’ club that we look after one another, despite what we say about each other and they ask what about the teachers who are not qualified assistant teachers who did not qualify from the Teachers’ College why are they not getting also a pension from the Consolidated Fund. They reach 55, it is by grace, every single year we give them an extension annually until they reach 60 because between 55 and 60, because they supposed to retire at 55, because if they retire at 55, and they have no pension to get they cannot get any NIS, until they are 60, so it will be 5 years, without “bread”. And then when they reach 60 it is true that they get an ex gratia payment, a payment by grace but they do not get a pension from the Consolidated Fund, they get an NIS pension. And they will say well why, I served 30 years, how is it that somebody who served here 5 years and 2 years can get a pension.43Well, I said Mr. Dennie served 26 years outside, they say well he chose to go into politics, he made that choice. I am telling you. I am confronted with it. I am also confronted by the Nursing Assistants, who are not persons who pass the Registered Nursing Programme, but they passed an exam at the School of Nursing, and who do a lot of work and who are making a serious representation. This issue of pension, and gratuity, it is a complicated business. So that, I mean, everyone in this country knows, that I have a... as they say it on the ground, Ralph has a soft heart, Comrade has a soft heart, yes. I do not think that is the heart that they are referring to though. That is really the difficulty which you have. And then there are old persons who never got any... they were not on NIS, they were not on Provident Fund before and all they get now is a Public Assistance. It may range between $160 and $190 depending upon the age and all the rest of it. So it is a complicated business. And I have to bear all of those things, bring all of those judgments into focus when I have to consider this particular matter of an ex-gratia. This is not to say that it is not something which is deserving but you have to look at it in the comparative circumstances.I hear Senator Leacock about the issue of senators. I am not so sure that I would support Senators who were also not office holders, full time office holders, whether as a Parliamentary Secretary or as a minister because a senator when he comes here does not really have a constituency. It is parliament he comes to, it is true he is in a law making capacity but, you know, the Senators here they have their full time jobs. Only those who serve either as Speaker or they serve in an office of minister or serve as a Parliamentary Secretary. I understand the argument. I am just saying the judgment which I am offering on this particular matter.Mr. Speaker, the issue which I think which is perhaps far more important than all these questions we are raising about parliamentarians currently here, is the matter concerning health; health benefits, health insurance, it is a matter which I have raised when I was in Opposition. I raised it several times since I am Prime Minister, I really would like to see if we can get it done it in an all party fashion but we have not been meeting as a Parliamentarian Association, local branch; Commonwealth Parliamentarian Association. Because frankly speaking this job in the House, it carries a lot of stress. I know people would say, well have your own private insurance. And some people have their own private insurance but surely, as an entity, as an occupational group we should be looking at the issue of our health.Mr. Speaker, there is just one matter additionally, because all these things come out once the debate widens like that. You take the question of salaries. I am not making a case for the increase of parliamentarians salaries but I will say this, that we had a reclassification exercise which caused public servant salaries to jump significantly, other people but I say public servants because the politicians work with them on an ongoing basis and there has been no reclassification for parliamentarians; and there are no comparables being used. You take the case, Mr. Speaker, if I may just permit the name, Douglas Slater in 1997 he was Medical Officer of Health, the Minister of Health got a salary significantly more than his. He is now minister and this is now 12, 13 years after he was Medical Officer of Health. The current Medical Officer of Health earns more, the Office of Medical Officer of Health earns more now than a Minister. In fact there is some 40, 42 persons in the Ministry of Health who earn more than him, whereas in an earlier period the Minister was in a different way. I raised all those things in the context of the comments made both by the Honourable Leader of Opposition and the Honourable Senator Leacock, so I would give consideration to the lump sum issue but it has to be done within the context of all what is happening and what everybody is talking about. And I repeat this simple act of goodwill for three44elderly parliamentarians has sparked a lot of comments, much of it, adverse. People call me and say well Comrade, way yo doing, what about me, what about this category, what about this old man up there, what about this old woman. And I am bombarded. And I say well I cannot do everything. I mean, do not you think these people deserve it, they say yeah, yeah, yeah, but others more deserving too. And so on and so forth. It is a hornet’s nest.Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House resolve itself into a committee of the whole House to consider the bill clause by clause.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.House went into committee of the whole House. Bill passed committee stage without amendments.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a bill for an Act to confer a pension on Alphonso Dennie be read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a third time by title and passed. AFFLICK HAYNES PENSION BILL 2010DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Member, I beg to move that a bill for an act to confer a pension on Afflick Haynes be read a first time.The object of this bill is contained in the title. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to moveunder Standing Order 48 (2) that bill be taken through all its stages at today’s sitting. HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move thata bill for an act to confer a pension on Afflick Haynes be read a second time.45HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Debate on the bill.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, there is an error in the preamble which we will correct in the committee stage. Mr. Haynes served from 1957, not 1952. And I just want to point out that we have put West St. George even though the constituency in the first period, 1957 to 1961 was simply St. George when they were eight seats, and after the nine seats came it became West St. George. But we will use West St. George it does not make a material difference.Mr. Speaker, here is a gentleman, Afflick Haynes, went into politics during the time of Ebenezer Joshua; on Ebenezer Joshua’s PPP. He became a minister; he was quite popular across the country as a very good human being and an efficient Minister. He went into politics with almost 180 acres of lands you know; family land. And he basically gave it away. It is an incredible story. Yes, Afflick Haynes. I am very happy about this one. I am very, very happy about this one. And I have to apologize for not coming with this earlier for him. Because he has been asking me, coming by and asking whether something cannot be done. One of the issues is that he used to come and go and spend some time with his family in America and he down here now, actually he is the oldest of the group. He is over 90; the 21st of May he would be 90; yes. So, he is one, he is the oldest of the group and he served well. And in his case, he in all probability, well nine years, he would have made it, had the bill went back to pull him in but the bill, in 1980 did not pull him in. And we are making a small correction here. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on the bill? Honourable Leader of the Opposition.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the remarks made about Mr. Afflick Haynes, as a parliamentarian and as a human being. My mother was one of those who always told me about his kindness and his generosity, and I have no difficulty in supporting the legislation before us. I also take note of the comments by the Prime Minister in relation to a lump sum payment with respect to these gentlemen. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate? Honourable Member for West St. George.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Afflick ‘Flick’ ‘Cap’ Haynes was born on the 21st of May 1920 at Grand Sable. At age four he went to Mustique and spent seven years there. And there is where he developed a passion for the sea. In 1931 he came back to St. Vincent at which point his father who was an overseer on several estates bought the Dauphine Estate of 175 acres.In 1933 he attended the Boys Grammar School and he excelled at cricket representing the country in St. Lucia in inter school games. Between 1936 thereabouts and 1950 he worked by and large on the estate and four years at the Arrowroot poll. In his words he said “I got interested in politics in 1950 in the days of George Charles and the Eighth Army and supported the Late St. Clair Bonadie the then member for St. George, (they had one46St. George as the Prime Minister indicated), in 1951 who lost to Julian Baynes. ‘He Bonadie then asked me to run in the 1954 elections in his place.’ In those elections 1954, he ran as an independent and he said, ‘I lost to Julian Baynes by 100 votes.’ He said, ‘Joshua, realizing I had the support of the toiling masses, and that I had beaten his candidate Conrad Forbes he Joshua asked me to join his party the PPP.’ That was in 1954 for the elections. He said to me, he asked Mr. Joshua, he said ‘Mr. Joshua’, this was in 1954, sorry, let me just get it right. In 1954 he lost. So in the 1957 elections after Joshua asked him to run, he said, ‘But Comrade Josh in the 1954 elections you attacked me as a white man and a part of the land owning class, what are you going to tell the people now.’ Josh said, ‘Comrade, we will tell them you are a white man with a piece of land, no longer an estate; the estate has diminished into a piece of land.’ The politics, of those days like now, very interesting Mr. Speaker. But seriously, in 1957 he won and he was Minister of Social Services, that meant at the time Education and Health. And he said he was deputy leader of the party. I did not know that fact. I do not know PM, if you knew that; and acted as Chief Minister on several occasions.This part has an interesting connection with us today, contemporary life. He said, as Minister of Education and Minister of Social Services, I gave two scholarships, one for my constituency of St. George and other for the whole of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He said I am proud of my scholarship winners, one was a retired CEO of VINLEC and that was Toby Huggins and other was a bank manager, Cooper Williams. And those of us who attended the funeral for ‘Toby’ Huggins, might recall Dr. Dougan recounting an episode with his father when John Dougan heard that Toby Huggins had gotten the scholarship; and he had recounted that at the funeral, some of you might recall that. He said in 1958 when the Late George Mc Intosh threw in his towel as Chairman of the Carnival Committee he had discussed it with his PS, they wanted to scrap carnival, this is what he told me, no more carnival. And he took on the responsibility and he said as a result of working with his team, the PS and so, they put carnival as he puts it, on sound footing, as Minister of Culture; and he said the result can be seen today. He said he had the privilege of crowning many queens, and he really look like he took a delight in that. Mr. Speaker, he mentioned also and interestingly he had a battle with lawyers for the Casson Estate. He did not have much support either within the government or outside, but he and Stinson Campbell had locked horns, with Hughes. I think it is Hughes he said was the lawyer. To get the whole stretch of the estate where the airport is now; they did not quite succeed but they got that lower section below the road, below the Casson House where that housing scheme is, and the schools and the playing fields and so on, and considered that a proud achievement.Mr. Speaker, in 1961 he ran again and he was reelected and he said then he served as Minister of Trade and Production and there was a problem within the government and he then... in 1967 he went to the US, he studied navigation and returned in 1971 to St. Vincent and he got involved in boating, he told me, I did not even know that, he was working with Mr. Arthur Williams’ and his boats and he had his own boat, they called him ‘Cap’ because he was a captain and in a few years later 1979, he returned to the US and spent some 24 years and then came back permanently in 2003. He is retired. He built a wonderful house in the Dauphine area, the area where we call ‘Cocoa’ and he is retired with his wife. He has had his difficulties in terms of family tragedies. He gets kind of emotional and tired up when he starts to talk about those things. So he is [in] quiet retirement.The anecdotes are really wonderful. And I told him that we are going to come back and document them because in a sense he is a special kind of character. He makes mention of his diplomatic skills and his ability to go into47Labour strongholds, when Joshua was afraid; Joshua would ask him, well, come go in with me; and he will tell him how to do it, and so on. He said he normally would go in ahead and find out who are all the bad johns within the area and corral them and fix them up and so on; then Joshua would come in. it is interesting the stories.He made the point though, he said, he made a lot of money but he gave it away. He said on their family estate of 175 acres, they had 40, 50 workers, poor people and he had to take care of them. He said they called themselves ‘Comrades’ in a real sense, and to quote him, he said, at that time they used to say ‘we are the communists’ of course, not in a strict ideological sense as we understand the concept of communism. But in a sense of being loyal to the toiling masses, having grown up with him on the estate, and the commitment as a minister and a politician, a representative to the most downtrodden section of the society. We on our side would say that it is the progressive social democracy that characterizes our party. So when you use the word communistic is not in that strict philosophical ideological sense but in the sense of using your position in the society. And as the social scientists would tell us, frankly speaking, coming from his background and having lost so much by passing on his resources to his toiling masses as he put it. he really has committed what we call class suicide; that is to say he has basically abandoned his middle class outlook, in that privileged position and has taken on a thinking of the working people, understanding their conditions and fought for them.Mr. Speaker, I am indeed proud to have known him. I have met him a few times and I really feel honoured to have spoken about this gentleman and I certainly going to have more encounters with him and I would like API to assist in the documentation of some of these encounters. Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister; there seems to be no further debate.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Honourable Members; I also just want to say that the Leader of the Opposition mom, and my mom share a great appreciation of ‘Flick’ Haynes and she always thought of Ebenezer Joshua and ‘Flick’ Haynes as two persons in the PPP who she was drawn to. And I can understand what Mike is, sorry, the Honourable Minister of Social Development is saying concerning how he would go into areas or with groups who may not actually favour Joshua but he had that calm and ease. A wonderful human being, I hope he is listening. And know that we think very highly of him and we love him dearly.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that this Honourable House resolves itself into a committee of the whole House to consider this bill clause by clause.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. House went into committee of the whole House. Bill passed committee stage without one amendment.48DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a bill for an act to confer a pension on Afflick Haynes be read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a third time by title and passed.COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH INCORPORATION BILL 2010HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members, the question is that a bill for an Act to make provision for the incorporation of a church called Community Baptist Church of Campden Park in the State of St. Vincent and the Grenadines be read a first time.Question put and agreed to. FULL IN THE SPIRIT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INCORPORATION BILL 2010HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members, the question is that a bill for an Act to make provision for the incorporation of the Full in the Spirit Pentecostal Church Incorporated and for other matters incidental thereto and connected therewith be read a first time.Question put and agreed to. HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I have been following these bills for a while that come to the House for the incorporation of these various church organizations and it just troubled me a little bit 5 (b) of this church to be incorporated, the objectives of this organization, the clause here to cooperate with government and nongovernmental organizations. I was not so happy that I want to see the churches comingwith those kinds of provision. I thought it should be just sort of... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: When we come to the committee stage then it can be examined...HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: But we can just have a look at it before it comes to that stage. I much prefer to see that being taken out of... I just advise them to take that out.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: All right.RESOLUTIONSpage49image1756049ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES PORT AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2010.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister this is in the negative.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move this Resolution standing in my name, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority (Amendment) Regulations 2010 which read as follows:WHEREAS, by section 72 of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority Act (Chapter 373 of the Revised Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 1990 Edition) it is provided that the Port Authority may make regulations with respect to the control of all persons and vehicles on any premises used by or for the purposes of the Authority, the maintenance of order thereon, and the admission or exclusion of persons there from and the charges, if any, to be made for such admission;AND WHEREAS, regulations were made and published in the Gazette on the 9th day of February 2010; AND WHEREAS, section 72 (6) provides that all regulations made under the said Act shall be subject tonegative resolutions of the House of Assembly;NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this Honourable House pass the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority (Amendment) regulations No. 5 of 2010 by resolution.Question put in the negative resolution. ADJOURNMENTDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House do stand adjourned until Thursday March 4th at 10:00 am.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. House adjourned at 1:55 p.m. Until 10:00 on Thursday 4th March, 2010.page50image1506450