Wed. 27th Jan., 2010

No. 1 Fifth Session Eighth ParliamentWednesday 27th January, 2010Prayers Motion Congratulations Announcements by the Speaker Honourable Dr. Douglas Slater Honourable Daniel Cummings Honourable Rene Baptiste Honourable Montgomery Daniel Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday Honourable Girlyn MiguelSAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) ADVANCE COPYOFFICIAL REPORT CONTENTS Wednesday 27th January 20101Honourable Saboto Caesar Suspension2THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATESOFFICIAL REPORTPROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE FIRST MEETING, FIFTH SESSION OF THE EIGHTH PARLIAMENT OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES CONSTITUTED AS SET OUT IN SCHEDULE 2 TO THE SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES ORDER, 1979.FOURTH SITTING27th JANUARY 2010Prime 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 BrowneMinister of Education Honourable Girlyn MiguelMember for Central WindwardMember for Central LeewardMember for West St. George Member for MarriaquaHOUSE OF ASSEMBLYThe Honourable House of Assembly met at 9:13 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber, Court House, Kingstown.PRAYERS MR. SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR Honourable Hendrick Alexander PresentMEMBERS OF CABINET3Minister 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 Francis Honourable Rochelle FordeParliamentary 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 SenatorGovernment SenatorGovernment Senator/ Deputy SpeakerGovernment Senator4Honourable Arnhim EustaceDr. the Honourable Godwin Friday Honourable Terrance Ollivierre Honourable Major St. Claire Leacock Honourable Daniel CummingsLeader of the Opposition Member for East KingstownMember for Northern Grenadines Member for Southern Grenadines Opposition Senator Opposition SenatorOTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE5ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY WEDNESDAY 27TH JANUARY, 2010PRAYERThe Honourable Hendrick Alexander reads the Prayer of the House.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Pray be seated. Honourable Louis Straker before we move the waiver of the 12 (5).HONOURABLE LOUIS STRAKER: I beg to invoke Standard Orders 12 (5) that the business of this day’s proceedings be exempted from the provisions of the Standing Orders hours of sitting.Question put and agreed toHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Before we, ... when we closed last night we did not have an indication of anyone, I do not think who would want to ... Oh the Honourable Minister of Health! But before you do that Sir I felt moved to say to us or caution us that Paul in his final word to the Philippians said:-“Brethren whatsoever things are true Whatsoever things are honest Whatsoever things are just Whatsoever things are pure Whatsoever things are lovely Whatsoever things are of good report If there be any virtueIf there be any praise Think on these things”.And I just thought that we would start off ... I am sure that the Honourable Minister of Education would be happy with that [laughs].HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Why only the Honourable Minister of Education? HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Well she always shows delight and excitement in these things. HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: [Inaudible]6HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh I see, okay alright I am sorry then; I am sorry [interjection] that we all would be excited about it, sorry. Okay. Alright Honourable Minister of Health you have 11⁄4 hours. [Interjection] Oh he is. Okay; he is not a Pauline man.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, good morning, also listeners. Mr. Speaker, I wish to also join in acknowledgement of your admonition from the reading from Paul. I am in fact very impressed and encouraged because I think in my debate I intend to demonstrate and to strengthen the suggestions by St Paul. [Knocking on desk] Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I can start by saying how great this Budget is but I do not think I am going to say that. I am going to try and debate the merits of the Budget and hopefully at the end of my debate help to convince myself, others and especially listeners how they should see this Budget, how it applies to them and whether or not it is one that is deserving of my support and their support. Mr. Speaker, I would start by trying to debate what is a Budget? What is the role of Government? What are we doing? It is my humble understanding that governance of a country is basically analogous to the management of a large company; decisions have to be made but those decisions have to be taken in the context of the environment in which that large company our beautiful St Vincent and the Grenadines exists and should be managed. Therefore, who makes the decisions, how they are made and why they are made: to me is very important. And I think these decisions are made in context of a competitive parliamentary system where we have two parties always vying to be in the management seat. And Mr. Speaker, the job of both parties is to try and convince the electors: that is the constituents, that their policies are more suitable to the development of the country.Now, in order to develop policies and to implement them one has to have a philosophy and one has to have certain ideological basis on which these are based. And it is my contention, Mr. Speaker, that therein lays the competition, and the arguments from both sides. It is therefore for us as Vincentians to listen and listen carefully, for us to understand what are the arguments by our government; in whose interest are the decisions made and at the end of the day we also listen to the other side and try and distil from what they are saying if the arguments they are putting forward are on balance, more in the interest of our people. And when I speak of our people I am saying in whose interest we are governing. Our people, by and large we are a poor developing country and I believe when we say our people, I mean the majority of Vincentians who basically are in the lower middle income bracket or can easily be said are poor people.Mr. Speaker, most of us in here and most of us who have achieved certain tertiary education and certain exposure to management would have studied at some time some economics and some political economy and hopefully would have an understanding of systems. You have the Capitalist System, you have the Socialist System and in life it is my opinion that there is no perfect system and whilst we live in what ones call a western styled democracy, I do not think that we can go to extremes and proclaim the virtues of Capitalism or on the other side proclaim and live all the lifestyles and practices of Socialism. Mr. Speaker, we hear for example, from the other side trying to convince the citizens of this country that what the Government is doing is called Communism and sometimes they call it Socialism; that is based on certain measures taken by the Government, some of our policy decisions; decisions that when carefully examined and that is why I say we need to listen to the arguments are really in the interest of our people.7Now, if decisions that this government made of which I am proudly part of are assessed to be in the interest of Vincentians whatever ‘ism’ you want to call it; I Douglas Slater support that ‘ism’ [applause]; because at the end of the day there is a statement: that there are no permanent friends, but generally interests are permanent; and we have to determine what is in our interests. And it is based on that that our foreign policy is being implemented; so, we are a poor developing country how do we mobilise the resources to meet the many demands some of them realistic, some of them very unrealistic and Mr. Speaker, as I pledged I am going to try and speak the truth to be honest as St Paul says. I usually do that sometimes to my political detriment but I believe in a ... I studied in Cuba and they had a mantra that says, “Principles are not negotiable”, and I am not going to negotiate my principles about the truth and if you want to call me a communist for that because I follow that principle, well I am [interjection] Nah! Because Mr. Speaker, you say honesty.You know, Mr. Speaker, unfortunately but true a lot of our citizens cannot take the truth; they cannot take honesty especially coming from some politicians. If the truth does not please the interests of individuals, they do not want to hear it. So, somebody comes to a politician and they tell them to do something that the politician does not think is proper, but it is supposed to be in the benefit of that person, you are the worst politician out. It is the truth, but you are the worst politician, you may lose votes but again I will not negotiate my principles. Mr. Speaker, I believe that if we aim to lead, we must lead with integrity and honesty [knocking on desk] and if you are not honest and do not demonstrate integrity, then you are not trustworthy and you are not worthy to lead. So, Mr. Speaker I make this statement because in the debate of the Estimates the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in many of his discussions continued to throw out statements that I think were irresponsible and knowingly dishonest.Mr. Speaker, in the Estimates debate the Honourable Leader of the Opposition insinuated and in fact, I may have to paraphrase him but basically said that we had decreased the Expenditure, Goods, Services and Supplies and identified the expenditure to the Hospital, to the Health System as one of them. Mr. Speaker, at that point we interjected on more than one occasion and suggested so much so that I even know the page; on page 456 of the Estimates where in fact I could recall very clearly the intense lobbying that we made in the pre-budgetary exercise on page 456 on Supplies and Medical, Stores and Supplies; where we argued that over the years the vote for the Supplies have proven to be insufficient to the demands of our people. We know we are a poor country, we know and the more you put in it is still not enough. And Mr. Speaker, we were able to convince the Ministry of Finance to add almost $1 million from $5 million plus to $6 million plus. Mr. Speaker, it is there and we informed the Honourable Leader of the Opposition on that, Mr. Speaker, I was dismayed that a man who is purported, I do not know if he does it himself, to be Mr. Clean would come here in his presentation of the Appropriation Bill and repeat that statement. Mr. Speaker, we are pandering to the ignorance of our citizens and that I think is dishonest and if you are dishonest you are not fit to lead.And Mr. Speaker, I know I may not be one of the most vociferous politicians but there are things that really bother me and misleading the public especially when it is done deliberately just for political expedience is one that really bothers me. And Mr. Speaker, it was for that reason that you may have noticed that I kept at the Leader of the Opposition because I respect him as I respect all Members of this House but they must respect us here too and they must respect the intellect of the people out there. And if the intellect of the people is not8sufficient to understand what is happening and that is so sometimes; we need to be honest and tell them the truth. And I also believe not only tell the truth but in a way that they understand it. So, Mr. Speaker, it is for us as leaders to find the language to convey the message to our electorate, to our people and really you know at one time even for some of us the debate by the Leader of the Opposition was a bit esoteric somewhere out there that sometimes I am not saying it was not important, I shared some of his concerns and that is why I said I am not going to just jump in and say how great this Budget is because as citizens we have to share the concern about the rise in debt. We have to share the concern about the fall off in revenue and we must find ways of encouraging our citizens to work harder, to be efficient because I really honestly do not think that there is really so much difference in the interest of the development of this country on that side or on this side. I really honestly do not think so and some people may be surprised to hear me say so but as I said I am going to speak my mind and speak what I think is the truth as I understand it, but when we put political expedience before national development and when that political expediency in my opinion is not in the interest of the country I have a problem with that. And that Mr. Speaker is the accusation I am going to be putting to the Leader of the Opposition; I have not heard any other Members debate yet so I am singling out.I know there are members of his party and I heard comments about what do I know about economics etcetera, well I can say that nobody has monopoly on knowledge on any topic, I am a physician but that does not mean that anyone here on this side or that side or anyone out there would not know enough about medicine to understand certain things and I do not [know] all about medicine either. There are engineers here but that does not mean that the little knowledge of physics I know cannot be applied to some engineering concepts. And there are economists who hopefully can use their knowledge not just of the theoretical economics but hopefully the understanding of people and put some sociology in it and apply it to leadership; that is one area I think the Leader of the Opposition is sadly lacking; and that is one area I will give credit to the Leader of government, the Prime Minister of this country; his understanding of the behaviour of people: sociology with economics and politics. And that is why I believe he is demonstrating why he is fit to be leader now in these trying times.Mr. Speaker, we all have heard of the global economic upheaval and a test of one’s ability to lead and to address the challenges of development to me is much more important in these times than in times when the situations are much easier as they were during the days of the NDP. Mr. Speaker, I am glad that today the person that we have leading this country is the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves and not the Honourable Arnhim Eustace [applause]. Mr. Speaker, I am not here saying that the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves is a perfectionist or a perfect person and neither am I nor anybody. Mr. Speaker, we have to see: seeing is believing; we cannot just theorize what may happen or what can happen we have to see what is happening and those who have eyes and we all do have eyes its only as the cliché says, “A blind man with wooden spectacles who would not see that this country has been progressing at a rate much faster [applause] than in the 17 years of the NDP. And let me just jump and say, this is not to say that the NDP administrations did not make some progress and again I know some people may be surprised that I am saying so; but I said I am going to be honest but we are in a competitive world and that is what politics is about. Let us compete but compete fairly; let us compete, but compete honestly and let us tell the people what is the truth and accept the truth. Mr. Speaker, the Opposition claims that they want development and I believe they do, I believe the function of an opposition, yes, is to oppose what needs to be opposed but also they should be proposing. All I have heard over the years especially from the9Leader of the Opposition and I want to underline that because I must be honest that I have heard several proposals from other members; basically they are just opposing, opposing but I am not hearing as my Honourable colleague said, “we are hearing diagnosis not necessarily correct but we are not hearing prescription”. In the practice of medicine while the diagnosis is important I could be the best doctor and I could diagnose that you have an infection if I cannot prescribe the right antibiotics you are going to die. So, you are half doctor if you could only make the diagnosis [interjection] not quite a quack. I believe that this government by astute leadership is making good diagnosis, note I am not using extreme and the prescription and the treatment have been satisfactorily and continues to be so and in this Budget that is what I am seeing. I am seeing a proper analysis of what is happening in our country and I am seeing response that is the analogy to the treatment that is appropriate.Mr. Speaker, we in this country and in the region we are ... some of us are accused as I said, I want to touch a little on the foreign policy. It seems as if the Opposition does not think we should be friends with our Caribbean neighbours because of their perceived ideology being anti the United States of America or EU. And I am going to speak frankly here because I cannot understand how one can oppose the support given historically by Cuba a country that is a developing country, scarce on natural resources but rich in human resources and in goodwill; a country where diplomatic relationship was established by the NDP. Sir James Mitchell I think made a good recognition of the importance of such relationship. The relationship was strengthened significantly by the ULP administration but the abuse that I hear from the other side and the insinuation that I hear from the other side just not fair, not proper. Mr. Speaker, similarly for the amount of things that this country has done for us it has made the blind see and that is not any exaggeration; I know somebody from Clare Valley who went to Cuba blind and came back seeing; many people, but I can speak at least of that one; that is one of the most miraculous acts I really acknowledge. We cannot, I am not saying because you do not like their ideology or because their ideology is different you must not criticize them, I am not saying that but the way we do it is unacceptable. Mr. Speaker, the Opposition and us say we want development, we want develop tourism so what do we do? We have decided to develop tourism we need better air access. Many administrations have argued about improved access and an international airport; our leadership has found the ingenuity, the innovation and the innovative way of financing it because we simply cannot easily finance it from our own resources that is a fact. Has our western friends offered? When I say western I mean the countries like North America, Canada and Europe have they offered? I think the answer is no. So, if Venezuela and Cuba our own South, South as the Economist claimed, neighbours who understand our plight, who believe in solidarity and who express it by assisting us what is wrong with that?You know, Mr. Speaker, sometimes I get the impression that the objection to the International Airport is multiple because I have been told by persons who spoke to senior leadership of the NDP that they are opposing the International Airport because of the fear of the political implication of the success of that venture. They are not interested in the development of the country. They are worried that if we deliver an International Airport then they cannot win an election. Mr. Speaker, where is the interest of the country’s development so political party paramountcy is more important than St Vincent; SVG? Never! Mr. Speaker, the Opposition says we must develop tourism and we say well one way of doing it is to encourage foreign direct investment in the development of hotels, so we facilitated the development of Buccament and over US$500 million investment.10What did the Opposition do? They opposed it, they said, “over their dead body”, they were prepared to go and block the development. This is, Mr. Speaker, a development that currently employs nearly a 1000 people. It was supposed to be a phantom project. Mr. Speaker, the Opposition is saying that we need to provide employment; so how do we provide employment? Well, the Government is the largest employer but we are not a socialist country and they do not want us to be a socialist country, so we cannot be the sole source of employment. Our philosophy in this party is a social democratic one, while we believe in private sector activity and the economist will tell you that in western developing country development: the private sector should be the engine of growth of the economy. Sad to say I am not convinced that that is the situation in St Vincent and that is why generally I criticize what I call the laziness in this private sector.The private sector here generally is restricted to buying and selling they do not create wealth, import sell over at a profit and is also encouraged by the Opposition because I heard also the Leader of the Opposition encouraging importation so that people must get more money to spend so that they could import more. Well, that to some extent might be okay but for me I have a problem with that. What we need to do is to encourage our private sector to invest locally in creating wealth, providing jobs and using our resources where they can, not easy I must admit, to utilize our local resources and Mr. Speaker, I heard some figures; our food import bill is somewhere in the region of US$97 million a year with all of us the Opposition and the Government (US$197) thank you, even worse. All of us as citizens must make a pledge today that we are going to eat at least a $100 less per year of imported food [applause] and buy and support our local farmers. How can we expect persons to get into farming and produce carrots when because we are a Free Enterprise System and we must bow to the regulation of the World Trade Organization we cannot restrict import by law, we can control it by our individual actions. When you go to the market buy the local carrot even when the imported ones may be a bit cheaper. Buy ripe bananas and golden apples instead of apples and instead of the imported grapes. We must encourage that and we must practice what we preach and even the D’Andre Wine. I have no problem with that for those who drink wine; I am a teetotaler: I do not drink alcohol, but I think we should do whatever it is to support local business and really we have a lot of ground provisions, Vincentians, all of us. When I say we, I mean over there, over here and all of us okay. Well, I can tell you for those persons who are in the market, I go to market every Saturday whilst I am in St Vincent and the Grenadines and I do my part with that. I cannot remember seeing many other politicians either from this side or over there. I do not know; I know some go on Fridays; I believe the Honourable Representative of Central Leeward because of him being Seventh Day Adventist may go on Fridays and some grow their own including myself: but seriously speaking we all have to make some attempt.So, Mr. Speaker, I start by giving that sort of wider philosophical concept understanding of a debate because the people need to understand that the decision made by their leaders affect them but they have to understand how and why those decisions are made. [Interjection] oh yes, [laughs] no problem with that [laughs], yes; you know I do not mind being sent to the market if I have [laughs]. Mr. Speaker, so we have to understand why decisions are made because, Mr. Speaker, the Opposition is saying that we are spending too much and we have to cut expenditure, well I understand the concern that we have to manage carefully all of us. At home you have to try and be thrifty but they are not really saying where we must cut the spending. Mr. Speaker, we have a decision to make, should we cut staff? Government is the major employer in this country; should we lay off workers? That11is one way of cutting expenditure, should we respond to the demands and especially from the Opposition that we do not have enough nurses or teachers or whatever; and when we respond by employing three more nurses so that the workload on the ward of each nurse is less; we are saying we are spending too much money. So, I do not know if they mean we should not add the 170 posts to the establishment that we have proposed in this Budget in an environment where many countries are cutting positions. It is for the citizens of this country to understand what is being done and make a decision in their own interests because Mr. Speaker, this government is a people’s government and more so a poor people’s government and we believe our decisions are in the interest of all, but mainly in the interests of the poor of this country.Mr. Speaker, we argue about borrowing and again I want to address the dishonesty of the Honourable Leader of the Opposition and he told me that all I am talking about is absolute, absolute, well the people outside must understand because in life you always have to compare; when we are arguing when it suits us we say how St Vincent is not doing as good as this other country but it seems not to suit him to show where we are doing better. So, he speaks about the absolute debt but he does not speak of the relative debt: because that is the Debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, that is the value of all the Goods and Services in the country but that is important. You know take for example, Mr. Speaker, if I were to go to a bank now my wife and I, I would say are in the upper earning bracket of this country. [Interjection] A bank ... yes I say I would speak honest that is true I am not hiding truth that is true. Mr. Speaker, I believe a bank would quickly give us a mortgage for $6,000 a month, whereas someone who earns $2,000 a month the bank might not want to give them a $500 mortgage. What is this saying and I try to bring this example because the bank knows that that is a bigger debt but they are able to pay it. It is less risk than probably somebody earning ... you lending $500 it is the same thing with the debt and the GDP and this is how people must understand the Budget that there is a fair risk, there is safety if the Government administration is able to maintain the Debt to GDP ratio at 60%, it is manageable.The other analogy I want to make is for those of us who intend to build a house; to buy a house or build a house, some people try to save as much as possible that they could pay for it cash, well there is inflation which means the increase of the cost of goods and services and if you start to save to buy a $200,000.00 house by the time you reach $200,000.00 saving that house will cost to build $350,000.00, so what do you do? What do you do? You go to a bank and you take what is called the opportunity cost, you take the loan and you borrow and guess what the value of your house also goes up, so you have more equity: that is what the Government is doing. We recognise that in order to develop the country there are times we have to borrow but we are confident that the future generation will be able to pay back; you know why, because of policies like the Education Revolution that is an investment for the future of this country. Because with a human resource that is better prepared to create wealth because of the development of the intellect, we can move forward confidently and invest in them. And that is why we have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars. I remember when we stated early I think it was in our first administration, Minister Browne was the Minister of Education and he said that this government is going to invest more than a $100 million in Education; they laughed at it; nah! Because small minds think small there are limitations in the mind. There are no limitations in the minds of the leaders on this side, we aim high because we are confident and we believe in our people that is why we are giving them the opportunity through education because all of us here; all of us know the value of that. And all of us here have a12similar history. I do not think many of us here met a golden spoon. Some of us who are not here may have but all of us here I believe and we know the value.And I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, leadership is important and I hope our people are listening [to] what is leadership because you know sometimes when you come down to the ordinary politics you hear people talk about who is popular, who is nice and who is not so nice; “Dat one there he ain’t nice.” He nah nice, he nah dis and dat”. In this day and age we cannot go forward there with people who want to lead us; who do not have certain basic intellectual preparation of world economics and world politics. And that is why we are not just governing for today, we are governing for the future and we are preparing new leaders in all aspects and activities of life in the country. Mr. Speaker, I believe that having understood that myself and hopefully that the electorate, the people and the citizens of this country would understand these philosophical underpinnings; they will see that this Budget is in the interest of the majority of people of St Vincent and especially for the poor [clapping].Mr. Speaker, I have been honoured to have been given charge for the Ministry of Health and the Environment and I was just making an observation and I do not know how many have noticed that. I am probably the only Minister who has not had a change in portfolio over the nine years that might be good or bad [interjection] no you were Minister of Works for a short while [interjection] well, okay it may well be that I am doing a good job [laughs] but it may be that there is nowhere else to put me [interjection] Eh! I told you I am going to be honest, I am talking out [laughs] [interjection] really, right. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the former is more the situation that is I think I am doing a fair job but that job, Mr. Speaker, cannot be done without the very important support of the staff of the Ministry of Health and the Environment and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of them. Mr. Speaker, we have to say thanks when it is necessary and we do not do that enough. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Health and the Environment like any other Ministry is a difficult one to manage but you know with health it is a one with a lot of emotion and that is why, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition was trying to mislead the people about how things are with wrong dishonest information.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator Leacock.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order the Rules of the House clearly state that we cannot impute improper motives to Members. On my way I listened and I wondered, Mr. Speaker, I heard the Honourable Member literally saying that the Leader of the Opposition was dishonest and now he is here again charging that he is in this Honourable House of ours misleading the people of the nation and being dishonest. Those are not appropriate language to use with respect to the Leader. He may use language of a kind to suggest that he disagrees or ... but to say that he is ‘dishonest’ is not the language the House really tolerates or ‘he sets out to mislead the nation’ I do not think that is ... [Interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members, [knocking of gavel on desk] you see sometimes these are the things that tend to get me a bit angry because I sat here and I heard certain things and if I were to interject at every moment a lot would not go on. I kept my silence because I want the debate to go on and if anybody objects to anything and then I will deal with it. I have heard certain language, statements made by the13Leader of the Opposition and ordinarily I would have stopped but I mean the Member has moved on a point of order and one should not impute improper motives in your debate and that is why I read that piece of Scripture this morning that let us be honest, let us be just, let us be fair in our reporting whatever we say, whatever we do; but the thing about it is that we do this constantly but when it does not please us we do something else. A lot has been said yesterday but let us try as much as we possibly can, so that we can have the debate going smooth, clean, fair and free. Alright, let us avoid imputing improper motives on anyone.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Much obliged, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think I made my case, maybe I am not good enough in the English language to find the words and that is why I really wanted ... that is why Mr. Speaker I really felt so strongly about getting away cutting that umbilical cord from the Queen, so that I do not have so much responsibility for her language. Mr. Speaker, if there are facts stated and a person states otherwise you could either say I do not know the Parliamentary language; they untrue or they are saying I must not say they are dishonest [interjection] okay then alright. So, let the people decide and I think I have made my case, Mr. Speaker, because I could remember hearing statements like “fraud of monumental proportions”; “Inconsistencies” “Half-truths and fake analysis” you know; ah! Did I hear that? I have them written down here; so I ... you know. I heard insinuations of money laundering, I would not go on I think I have made my point. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, today ... I am usually straightforward and honest and I will continue to be so; who does not approve of that I am sorry but that is Dougie Slater. Mr. Speaker, I was talking about Ministry of Health and the Environment; we in that Ministry are really challenged. The world over, it is one of the most difficult social services to deliver.For those of us, and I think most of us here, have been following the debate in the United States; one of the biggest problem President Obama has on his hands is the Health Care Reform. Mr. Speaker, in St Vincent and the Grenadines we have been toying with aspects of Health Care Reform for years from administration to administration. I have worked under the NDP administration and I know it is not easy. We have been proposing for years and I will admit that I have some disappointments, we have not achieved as much as we would have liked. We have been proposing for many years change of hospital governance. We have been proposing, Mr. Speaker, National Health Insurance Scheme because it is not easy to pay for health care; it is not cheap but we politicians and I am speaking both sides, we need to be honest and convey information to our people that it is not cheap because you know some of us try to placate the people that all is well and all should be free.There are people who beat up on the Government because we cannot provide Dialysis services; and we cannot provide services that we do not have; what is the reality? We are a poor developing country and we do not have the resources to develop some services; let us be honest; yet we say we must provide certain services to our people but we must not borrow money to build the Modern Medical Complex out of Georgetown where we are going to provide services such as Dialysis so we are contradicting ourselves and the people, so let us be honest. I recall when I put up some resistance and said well, look at this moment we cannot ... early in the administration, we cannot afford dialysis services man I got some licks left, right and center including from my own colleagues. Why? Because I know it is a service that is expensive, extremely expensive and it will be difficult to sustain; so let me tell the people the truth. Mr. Speaker, but we are confident and we believe we can find a way of delivering that service that is why we have invested in the development of the Modern Medical14Center Georgetown, [applause] but yet we are told not to borrow money; we are borrowing too much, we are incurring too much debt, but when their supporters, because that is how personal it comes you know, you hardly ever hear it generally, it is when somebody who supports their side cannot get the service, they make a song and dance on a radio that is not so nice [laughs] Yea! [Interjection] Yes that is what I am talking about that is why I said let us be honest [clearing of throat] excuse me, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in 2009 the Ministry of Health and the Environment met a lot of challenges, but we were able to deliver quite a bit. We were able to secure the land for the development of another Health Center in Evesham and we expect in this year to start and possibly complete that Health Center so that we can deliver and continue to deliver an improved health care to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines that is what government is for. Mr. Speaker, we have improved the management structure in the Environment Health Department and sometimes the average person may not see or understand the significance of that, but management you may have resources, you could have a million dollars and if you do not manage it properly you would lose it.You know of many experiences of people who won hundreds of millions of dollars in lotto and we hear of Mike Tyson who earned millions of dollars in his career but now bankrupt and broke; because there was improper management. That is why I started my debate by outlining to people why it is important to have leadership that understands people, understands economics, sociology, development and politics and use that skill or that accumulation of skills to manage properly. And there is where we are better by far than the NDP and the political leader of this party is better by far than the potential alternative, well one of them [laughs] I see my good friend over there gave an approving smile, yes Senator Cummings potential as you would understand, you know; you know.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Me?HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: No I did not say you. [Laughs] I did not say you. [Laughs] I did not call any names. If I want to say Senator Leacock is my good friend I would say so but I did not say that [laughs] or those who are not here you know, you never know. So, Mr. Speaker, we refurbished several staff housing in Layou, Byera, Barrouallie, and Cedars. Mr. Speaker, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Hospital for Children and the Rotary Club to convert St Vincent and the Grenadines into a Center of Excellence of Paediatrics Care but these are things that are happening and some people told me that I do not toot my horn enough and I do not talk enough. Well, I am going to try to talk about some of the things happening not to toot my horn but to inform people of what is happening here. St Vincent and the Grenadines as much as you hear the criticism about our health services and the hospital; the hospital was assessed and selected by International Hospital for Children based ... it is one of Virginia College of Medicine; one of the top Colleges in Virginia and my good friend Senator Leacock would know about that we both have relatives who work there. And from an examination of most of the OECS countries they have decided that the services offered at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is the most convenient appropriate one to set up this service.We have already started it; in fact from time to time children from many countries come here and receive very sophisticated surgery. We have this year ... last year 2009 for the first time been the beneficiary of the service on staff now of a Paediatric Surgeon; a Surgeon who is trained in surgery of children, never before, but we do15not hear people talk about these things. Maybe, I do not talk about it enough; I am talking about it now. What they will talk about is the propagated misinformation or exaggerating that there are no tablets. Of course, we get stock out sometimes; again I say I will be honest. Yes, all administrations will experience some stock out in medical supply and I want to take the opportunity again to ask our workers to be efficient, but I want to speak to our citizens that they must practice preventive medicine. Try not to get sick, eat better and exercise; join the Wellness Revolution, and that word is a bad word for the other side; ‘revolution’? No, it just means a quantum change: a significant change in how we used to do it, because how we used to do it has not worked well enough so let us really change gears, so let us attack wellness, a radical change and a progressive change. So, join the Wellness Revolution in doing so you will be doing a good thing to yourself, to your family and to the country. We will be spending less money on medication so that we would not be peppered so much about the Expenditure and that money that otherwise would go in medication could go in doing other things.Mr. Speaker, for 2010 as the policy of providing satisfactory Health Care to our nation goes on, we need to understand that we have to do things. In the Capital Budget in the Capital debate we proposed the construction of an Oxygen Plant and I want to raise that because I noted the Leader of the Opposition suggested an objection to government investing in it. Mr. Speaker, let me give you some facts; when we took office in 2001, the staff especially the staff of the operating theatre said, Minister we are having problems we are utilizing a lot of oxygen and there are times when we do not have oxygen to do operation or to provide for Asthma patient for many reasons including payment issues. It happens all the time and it still happens sometimes because again I said I will be honest, because there were times when government bills were not paid and the suppliers will not deliver services we know that it has happened before and it is happening now.Mr. Speaker, I believe in our country and most countries and especially in our country a developing country, there are certain services that ought to be or should be in the hands of the State: Essential Services like Health Care, water and electricity, some may argue no or yes to that but I am saying what I believe. In this case, Mr. Speaker, we made a decision in 2003, implemented I think fully in 2004; an argument was made to me by the technocrats; we were spending an average of $21,000 per month on importation of medical oxygen, medical gases that came up to just short of US$100,000 equivalent per year, and I was told that we could get a Plant at the cost of just over $100,000 to do that. We invested in it and it worked well. I think however, projections were not proper and now Mr. Speaker, I had some figures that with the Plant working fully we are still importing now because of the increase in cost of production we are spending ... I tell you I myself as Minister was shocked when they gave me the figure. We are producing our own down there but we are spending up to $400,000 I would not saying over $400,000 because it is just below one year it was over and another; 2008 it was over $400,000 last year the figure was just under $400,000 on gas.Now, what is medical oxygen? It is really getting an equipment to compress and filter air so we have the natural resource here and then you bottle it and pump it to the patient and Mr. Speaker, we decided that we must control that and we have been planning over the last two years we need to expand the production. Now we hear that the private sector should do it but over the years no private sector seemed to have been interested, we cannot wait on the private sector for a product and they import: total import. We cannot wait on a private person sector to decide well I might do this or do that. I have since learned and I know about a few months ago a certain16individual from the private sector long after we have made our project plans said that they were interested and I said well the situation is this I cannot stop you and I would not discourage you but we have a plan to provide our own and I have also recently learned that there is a new production unit. Let me tell you, the figures show that we import $1.7 million annually in oxygen and the Health Care Sector uses about 25% of that. Now, therefore, there is still another 75% for the private sector so if anybody wants to invest I think there might still be a market but it is my humble opinion and from the figures here, we are given a job to manage the taxpayer’s money of this country and I have been told that we are producing and can produce this product much cheaper than we are paying for the imported one. I think the figures are showing so.Now you want to convince the people as to whose policy is better? Well, let the people decide whether they prefer to spend over half a million dollars a year to the private sector in importing oxygen or whether they prefer your managers of your country to make a decision to invest that same money and provide that per a year and for many years to come. Mr. Speaker, I am not any economist but I know enough to know that it makes more sense what we are doing. Mr. Speaker ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Fifteen minutes.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Good. Mr. Speaker, Environment and there are many things and I did not expect that I might need so much time but that is it. Mr. Speaker we have a project; we hear about renewable energy [interjection] yea man I will talk about South Leeward. We hear about renewable energy and you know, Mr. Speaker, this is the hypocrisy; some years ago in order to address the question of the renewable energy a good friend and neighbour Cuba decided to help us by replacing incandescent bulbs that is the old round type bulbs that use 75% more energy than fluorescent bulb; and it was ah mean you heard the opposition took us to task we were putting cameras in them “Fidel gon watch you”; as if Fidel wants to watch somebody “And is Ralph and Fidel want fu spy pon people” Mr. Speaker we cannot be serious we cannot say we are serious leaders if that is what we are telling the people now the whole world gone that but because we had the vision to go before that we are wrong. Come on Mr. Speaker, our people must be led honestly.Mr. Speaker, we have a project for Paget Farm Bequia called a Stock Project climate change and that is one area that I am not so satisfied that we have done enough but I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. This project is addressing issues of climate change; the idea is to help resolve the problem of water in Bequia and some may say imagine this administration that has never been supported by Bequia is doing so much for it. Mr. Speaker, we are planning to provide pipe bourne water to Paget Farm. How? To desalinate the water and to use renewable energy a wind turbine for the energy to do that and to pump the water up on a hill, some of the problems why it has not been implemented is some land issues and we are getting there. I hope the Honourable Representative will support us on that because he and his constituents and all of us will benefit. The idea is not only to provide a reliable source of water but to save energy, to provide even some excess energy and to save the residence of Bequia from expenditure when they are constructing their houses they would not have to build such a big tank, which I hear is about $50,000 sometimes additional; you [inaudible] able to [inaudible].Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the CWSA that manages water production and the Solid Waste Management of this country. Mr. Speaker, they have been doing a great job we must support them, (interjection) yes, it is good management and they have had good management before; and the management that is there now is as good as17and continues to be; and Mr. Speaker, because no one person can do the job. The Prime Minister alone cannot manage this country and run the country. Yea! Some people think so too many people, yea! But it is team and we have to give credit where it is due. Mr. Speaker, so Solid Waste is doing a great job I want to encourage people to support them some more. I like the project of the recycling of organic waste that is trees and so on to make compost that is good. I want to use the opportunity though to encourage citizens to heed the call for dealing with the drought. Too often we see people wasting water or water being wasted if you see a leak please report it. It is not because it is government own and you might be NDP you want the water waste. Believe you and me people think like that unfortunate but true. Bush fires and all those things do not help. Mr. Speaker, I promised to talk openly and honestly I am talking it; it is true. Mr. Speaker, so we are doing some good things, we are not able to deliver all that the people demand, some of the demands are legitimate but we are a poor country and we must tell the people that we cannot give them all that they ask for. Yea! Government and Opposition we must tell the people that. When I do that some people do not like it but I will continue to do that.Mr. Speaker, so we need to teach our people to be realistic and while I have said before I understand some of the concerns about managing the debt and all that we must be optimistic, we must be positive.Mr. Speaker, South Leeward, this is a constituency that I have been proud to represent over the past 9 years. Mr. Speaker, and again I want to address some of the issues regarding demand and our ability to deliver; the whole of St. Vincent we have bad roads here and there, we have addressed a lot of that problem by the Windward Highway Project and we have spent significantly in the last year to address some of the secondary roads. The South Leeward Highway, all of us would use it and most of us here do. It really needs some attention but I am pleased and encouraged by the Budget that that is going to be done; that is what a Budget is all about; you recognise the problems and you respond within the limitations of your resources. Mr. Speaker, there are going to be some roads that will not be fixed again I am being honest and our citizens need to understand that we cannot do everything at the same time. We have to be able to prioritize and that is some of the things said by the opposition and I am not against them for that but it is for the intellect of the leadership to decide which is more important. Sometimes we may pick it right, sometimes we may not pick what the people think is right and we are confronted with criticisms. Well that is good, criticisms are good when they are true and honest and fair.Mr. Speaker, South Leeward we have a lot of projects; we delivered the police station last year, we have been working over the years, I have promised and I am trying to deliver the Penniston Playing Field, again people are saying; “So long you are promising” and it probably should have been delivered: it isn’t because we have limitation of resources. So, let me tell you frankly and honestly it is not complete because we do not have enough money at this time to finish it, but we are working on it. And though some people are criticizing and saying, “Nothing a do down dey” because they never passed there. Right now we are building, we have already cast, poured concrete for hard court, the playing area is almost ready they are playing on it already and I feel a sense of achievement there, but remember, Mr. Speaker, there are others on the other side who criticize the move by the Government, the bold move to acquire that land from a private owner. Yes! This is policy and politics and people must remember all those things. Mr. Speaker, thanks to the Minister of Tourism we have developed the site in Vermont Nature Trail and we have in the Budget; because I hear a lot of criticism about the road going there, how could we have tourism going to a Nature Trail? I tell you I used the excuse that well it18is a Nature Trail the tourists like the rough and tumble of the road going up but maybe I think that did not sell well, people think the road should be better and yes we have responded to it; in a project from Tourism that road will be addressed because, Mr. Speaker, as I said we have to be honest sometimes and all of us as politicians we have to know how to respond. Sometimes it is not easy to but we try our best.Mr. Speaker, in South Leeward again we have developed some lands by Housing and Land Development in Queensbury and I am very proud of it some of you who do not know it should drive down there, I think Senator Forde has done some work down there, I want to thank former Minister Francis for the work done in that area and in the Claire Valley Housing low and middle income housing I am not satisfied that we are doing enough work there and it sounds like I am criticising my own government yes, if that is so be it I want to see more action because I want to be able to say to the people that we have delivered; we are delivering but we need to pick up the pace of delivery, right. Mr. Speaker, there are many roads that need to be fixed and we have and I see again, I am encouraged by the Budget that there are provisions for that.Mr. Speaker in the WE FM Road there is a community going out at WE FM to the left that for years have been asking me to try and put a pathway and I am so glad that I was able to ensure that that is done. That is what we have been elected for we are trying but there are also communities like the Maloney Farmers who will tell you they are upset with me because we have not been able to build that road. The truth is that is a major project, it will cost ... the Engineer said it will cost ... they are questioning whether the cost to fix it is worth the investment because of the returns. I am not too sure I am convinced by that argument but when I tell the farmers that look it requires so much money that it has to be a big Capital Project. Well, the Opposition said we must not borrow and we must not spend but they will encourage the farmers to complain so be it, we will try to mobilize the resources to address those that are needed to be done. But let us be frank resources are scarce, they are difficult to come by and we all must try and use whatever we have efficiently.Mr. Speaker, I started by thanking my staff and I want to reiterate it. Mr. Speaker, especially in their actions the staff of the Mental Health Center and other members of Ministry of Health; in a recent fire at the Mental Health and you know Mr. Speaker, I was appalled that people again tried to play petty politics. I could not understand that at 2:00, 3:00 a.m. you have a Mental Health Centre with one hundred and seventy something patients in a situation of fire and smoke inhalation, I am advised by the Psychiatric and his staff “Minister we have to evacuate and evacuate fast”. Because you are talking about mentally challenged persons who are not very predictable in their behavior; Minister Burgin was there and some others, the Deputy Commissioner Pompey and some others, Mr. Howie Prince and we had to quickly try and decide what to do, where to move them to. The decision was made to move them to the Community College, we pledged to minimize the disruption, and we did it.We might have had to move all we decided to move 72-73 persons; we had two 18 seater minivans we had to mobilize a bigger van 3:00 a.m. remember the time: 3:00 a.m. we had to get the police with the full cooperation to send one of their transports. We were able to shuttle, we had to shuttle and I heard political criticism: “how we could put dem people dey?” That is what he said you know: “dem people there in the Community College, and if we disinfect it when we done; and why we did not carry them to Belle Isle Prisons?” [Shudders] Mr.19Speaker, how could we regard our people, human beings; I see there people; I do not see animals and we must not encourage for political expedience such ignorance. Mr. Speaker, so I thank the staff of Mental Health Center and the other Ministry of Health staff, the police, the firemen, the security and staff of the Community College. You know Mr. Speaker; the operation went so smoothly by 8:30 the next morning when I called to see how things were going, you know, they were out of there. I myself could not believe how well the operation went but instead of commending them not me necessarily they criticized. We cannot encourage our people to behave like that.Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Government our friendly Governments who have been helping us and I want to single out the Cubans, the Venezuelans and the Taiwanese. The Ministry of Health they have been very generous and I want to thank them. I also want to thank many groups that come here including from the United States to deliver services to our citizens that we cannot deliver here either from lack of the human resource or the financial resource; the International Hospital for Children is such a one. I want to thank and I do not know if it is appropriate to thank His Excellency the Governor General because you know, Mr. Speaker, a lot of us do not know the amount of work he does behind the scenes [applause] and I know if he is listening he would not want me to be speaking about this but I believe again I say I am going to be honest and I want to give praise where it is due. He invests his experience, his intellect, his wisdom and his contacts: yea! And his money and we do not hear about it but I am speaking about it because I acknowledge it and it must be acknowledged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Wind up.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Yes, I am winding up now. Mr. Speaker, [laughs] Mr. Speaker, in South Leeward, we have proposed to do the things I have discussed and I have delivered on most of them. In South Leeward, I think one of the biggest requests is for the Feeder Roads and I have given a long list so most of the persons who want roads fixed, I have submitted, we would not get all fixed but I am hoping that we would get as many as possible. I want to encourage other involvement of the private sector in the South Leeward area like the Buccament Developers that were objected to by the Opposition, remember that and I hope all the workers remember that. And also Mr. Speaker, I noticed some excavations in lands not too far from that site opposite the church and I understand that there is going to be a Mall erected there on what was previously agricultural land, but things change and I have not heard any criticism. I do not yet know the ownership, but I welcome that development. Mr. Speaker, again after all that I have discussed and debated, it is now for me to decide what I think about the Budget and for those who have listened to me to make that decision.I think that it is a Budget in most challenging times but when the going gets tough the tough get going and I believe the Minister of Finance was tough and got going and delivered what in my assessment is a very appropriate and satisfactory Budget but one that all of us must work smartly, intelligently and efficiently to ensure that it is implemented. Mr. Speaker, I am obliged for the opportunity. [Applause]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable [inaudible]... Yes Honourable Minister of Culture you would come next. Senator Cummings, you know you have 45 minutes to make your presentation and if you are ready you can begin.20HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I am pleased to be able to make my presentation on this 2010 Budget immediately following the presentation from the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment. I am charged, Mr. Speaker, with responsibility in a shadow capacity of areas of health as well as infrastructure. Today, therefore, Mr. Speaker, I shall address matters relating to the Ministry of Works and Transport as well as the Ministry of Health and the Environment, and I wish to start first with the Ministry of Works Mr. Speaker, and to thank the Honourable Minister for making sense out of the document we have before us as it relates to his Ministry. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I spend the better part of a day trying to analyse the Estimates as presented in relation to that Ministry and it made absolutely no sense. I went into the Ministry and I spoke with several staff members to try to understand if they followed what was happening. Mr. Speaker, if we look on the recurrent side in relation to this Ministry on pages 391 onwards, it would appear that someone hurriedly adjusted the previous year’s Budget without taking into account the changes that are proposed particularly as they relate to the establishment of BRAGSA. Indeed, if you go through it you would find that all that is the Ministry of Transport and Works save and except General Administration, the office of the Chief Engineer and the Electrical Inspectorate; all but those components are no longer with the Ministry of Transport and Works.I tried to understand how on earth the Architectural Engineering Services which includes the Soils Laboratory there is no provision in the 2010 Estimates for that; which tells me if one were to use inference that it is possibly transferred to BRAGSA. Because there is nothing here other than nothing coming under the 2000 Estimates: there is nothing here to tell you where that responsibility is now; but in light of what had transpired before with respect to BRAGSA one has to assume that those responsibilities are transferred to BRAGSA because I cannot imagine any other department of government taking on those responsibilities. So, I repeat I am pleased and that is why yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I was at pains to urge the Minister to give some clarification on what he was saying in relation to the Ministry. It would now appear that BRAGSA, which from my previous understanding was responsible for the maintenance and repairs of bridges and roads etcetera, now has a significantly enhanced portfolio. It is responsible for very many more areas that hitherto were a part of the Ministry of Transport and Works. What I find rather strange is that the bureaucratic system that was in the Ministry of Works is retained. You have the same overall top management structure but you have removed an estimated 90% of the responsibility. The reason I raised this is that it leaves me to wonder whether or not we are being efficient in the allocation of our human resources. In short, Mr. Speaker, I am wondering whether we are not overloading BRAGSA and indeed whether there are sufficient quality resources assigned to BRAGSA to ensure that these responsibilities are carried out effectively.Mr. Speaker, one is left to wonder where will the Ministry of Works with a new staff under Project Management with six engineers and architects whose responsibilities we are told are to manage projects in three teams, one is left to ask where would the resources be that should take care of the critical engineering designs. Because in the concept as I got it from the Honourable Minister, as far as project management is concerned I did not hear anything that inferred that these teams are going to do anything other than monitor and manage the implementation part of the project. And of course, Mr. Speaker, project management really should be a cradle to the grave process, because there should be extensive work in the efficient designs and analyses long before the projects go through the construction phase.21Mr. Speaker, I simply want to reiterate my early comment on BRAGSA; I wish that institution well including all of its staff; the mandate given to it I am not sure all of it is correct, I honestly hope they will get the kind of resources that they can do what they have to do and not find themselves taking the problem out of the Ministry of Works and transferring it without finding the mechanisms for solution. And Mr. Speaker, I would not comment further on the Ministry of Works.I wish to turn my attention now Mr. Speaker, to the Ministry of Health and the Environment and I wish first to look at the modern medical facility that is proposed or is being constructed in Georgetown. Mr. Speaker, the members on this side of the Honourable House does applaud all of the efforts of the Cuban Government and people to assist us in our development. Mr. Speaker, it is this Government of the New Democratic Party that is in the forefront of establishing those relationships and the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment himself is a beneficiary of training in the era of the New Democratic Party; but Mr. Speaker no one can quarrel about the establishment of a modern medical facility [knocking of gavel] as proposed.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister you are standing.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I will give way to my Honourable friend.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: While part of the statement was true, just for clarification. I went to Cuba in 1980 and the administration in office then was the Labour Party [applause] just a matter of clarification.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you very much and I assured you my comment had no dishonourable intent [interjection] and I will. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the Modern Medical Facility is one that all Vincentians welcome but this Government has clearly hitherto continued to implement the policy of decentralising the primary health care services throughout this country. Mr. Speaker, the establishment of hospitals at Chateaubelair, Georgetown and health facilities in Union Island and throughout the country was part of the deliberate policy of dealing with primary health care at the source, as a critical component in the delivery of health services throughout the state of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Mr. Speaker, the Modern Medical Facility is not a primary health care facility it is part of the mainstream treatment.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: If my Honourable ... just to clarify a conceptual issue there. The Hospitals like Georgetown, Chateaubelair and Marriaqua are not regarded technically as primary health care centers: they are secondary health care centers. It is just a fine tuning of the technical because you stated that and I do not think that is correct. I understand the gist of the argument but just for clarity. Primary health care is more like the health centres and so on but the services offered there are beyond primary.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Again I wish to thank the Honourable Minister, Mr. Speaker, but I proceed, Mr. Speaker, this facility is an integral part of the mainstream medical service for all Vincentians: all. Now, when one looks at the state of St Vincent and the Grenadines it is comprised of the mainland together22with several islands in the Grenadines. Mr. Speaker, if one looks at the demographics the majority of the population lives in the southern [inaudible] of the islands. Mr. Speaker, if a person from the Grenadines were to avail himself or herself of the Modern Medical Facility it would necessitate him or her travelling from Union Island, Palm Island and whatever coming to Kingstown and then going all the way up to Georgetown. The location of health facility should be given very careful consideration because it has implications for how it functions. Mr. Speaker, when I look at the Estimates in relation to this Modern Medical Facility, I try to understand what is proposed and how this unit is to function. I see for example that the staff interestingly is comprised or is proposed to be comprised because I think it is supposed to be in the latter part of the year; to be comprised of two consultants, a Nurse, Anaesthetist, Pharmacist etc., Ward Sisters and Staff Nurse. Mr. Speaker, I see no provision for anyone to manage that facility, I see no provision for the collection of fees, if there are to be any associated with that facility and one asks the question Mr. Speaker, whether or not...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: A point of order. Mr. Speaker, the point of order is that the Honourable Senator is addressing an issue on the Estimates of Expenditure. I heard him all morning as I was listening to him before I arrived here and he is doing that. That is not permissible that is why we have constitutionally the approval of the Estimates of Expenditure under Section 70 (2) of the Constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines and it is done by Motion. What we are addressing here now are issues away from the issue of the Estimates of Expenditure. Mr. Speaker, the Standing Orders of this Honourable House were written taking account of an earlier constitutional provision from 1969 and they were not altered in that regard. In the earlier period you had a rolled up debate between the Estimates of Expenditure and the Appropriation Bill. We are discussing here now the Appropriation Bill and matters relating to that not the Estimates of Expenditure because the Constitutional provision is the prevailing one. My friend can address, Mr. Speaker, my Honourable friend by way of an example to illustrate some larger point but cannot in this debate address the detailsof the Recurrent Expenditure: because we have gone past that.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Before you continue Honourable Member, you see one of the confusing things here is and as the Prime Minister rightly explains that the provision here in this Order comes out of the 1969 Constitution when we had Associate Statehood and the amendment was not taken into consideration in relation to the Independence Constitution and therefore it creates that sort of ... a little bit of confusion as to how we... But as we would all know and we would all understand that the Constitution of this country takes precedent over any other law in the country and therefore we have to when we are debating this ... as rightly outlined by the Prime Minister: the Honourable Prime Minister then we have to take cognizant of that and I must rule therefore that he is quite correct. I have heard it done and said on a number of occasions that ... sometimes I understand it because even one time I believe we had this and if I recalled very well, I heard the Leader of the Opposition was making reference to this particular clause in the Order; but as I have always said that we need to get together and make the amendment to these Rules and Order and the Rules and Order it states how we can amend these Rules, and we need to get together and look at these. There are a number of things that we need to look at in relation to these Rules and if we do so, we would save some of these difficulties. Honourable Leader of the Opposition23HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I quite understand the points being made; I however have a difficulty, if one in a Budget debate is referring to a Capital Project which is an important Capital Project: the Health Sector and there is no obvious financial provision for its management; how does one deal with it without reference to the fact that funds are not available in the Estimates?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, if I may say this the way to address that question is in the Estimates Debates; but what we have had is that there are some Honourable Members who seek to leave their powder dry so to speak and during the Estimates Debate treat it largely in a trifling manner and when they come they want to deal in detail with the Estimates of Expenditure. I have indicated Mr. Speaker, to the Members on this side that if they were to hold an issue of Expenditure and they are going through in detail I would rise and make an objection; if they want to do that speak on the Estimates Debate. You can make a reference to it and that is a different issue and that is the logical consequence of the point which had been taken by the preceding Prime Minister but one. When we had raised the objection when we were in the Opposition about conducting the debate in a rolled up fashion; there has to be a distinction made. Mr. Speaker, if I may just say this, section 70 (1) of the Constitution says: -“That the Minister of Finance must cause to be laid in this Honourable House Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue for the Fiscal year”.And they specified the timeframe in which that must be brought; we are within the timeframe. Subsection (2) says that,“When the Estimates of Expenditure” And I do not even have to look at it; I know it almost like the Our Father Prayer; not quite as well because I donot know anything as well as the Our Father Prayer, thank God. “That when the Estimates of Expenditure have been approved then you introduce theAppropriation Bill”And that is what we have done. And that is why we bring a Motion in respect of the Estimates and have those approved and it is on the debate of the Motion for the Estimates the discussion which the Honourable Senator Cummings is raising here is a perfectly good discussion for last week Tuesday. And there is a perfectly good answer that I have to give to him and certainly the Minister of Health; but we ought not to be doing the work of duplication otherwise it makes the Estimates Debate meaningless, you know, superfluous, frankly if that is how it is done. But the Constitution mandates how we must do this and I love as everyone knows the Independence Constitution of 1979.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much, let me make what I may consider a sort of final statement on this so that we can move on. I remember distinctly that the Honourable Senator Forde coming to me and asking or seeking a clarification on this matter yesterday because she had intended to debate then and24we were able to discuss this matter and I think she was sort of satisfied with the response because, well it is the law. Secondly, I have heard members saying or refusing to utilise their time when it comes to debating the Estimates and saying clearly and distinctly that I will leave this for the Budget Debate; issues that normally should have been debated at length during the Estimates. And I remember distinctly that Senator Cummings in his presentation said, I will leave such and such for the debate; but if the challenge is it should not be done and therefore I have no alternative but to rule that it cannot be done. Honourable Senator you may continue with your debate on the Budget.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, could you give me an update of the time left. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have spoken for 13 minutes, well 13.5; let us say 13 minutes. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I made the point that the facility that is being constructed at Georgetown is to fit in in the general context of health care as part of the primary health care. The unfortunate thing about this project, Mr. Speaker, is regardless of who builds it or when it is built it is not something that you can take up in a wheel barrow and transplant and that is why it is so painful that clearly a facility of that type ought to be closer or on the same location as the main Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. But Mr. Speaker, this is brought into even sharper focus when one listens to the proposed construction of a new medical hospital to replace Milton Cato by this administration. One wonders; one wonders if we are serious in that statement. One really has to wonder if there is any truth in that pronouncement. Because Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Minister of Health as a practitioner and I make no bones about my ignorance in relation to medical matters but the issues, Mr. Speaker, that confront us in the delivery of health care do not have a lot to do with medical practice they have everything to do with the management of people and resources.The issues are fundamentally management, and Mr. Speaker, when the Honourable Minister of Health would be part of a team that allows such a facility to be located in such an awkward place to allow for the least effective use of the services and when it is [clear] that those services would require people to frequent the facility; it means that the distance to travel must play a pivotal role in siting it and that is the point I am making. One would not want to see you have the facility there and one goes to Georgetown to be told how much you have to pay; then one comes to the Milton Cato to pay and goes back to get treatment you have to have those facilities under the same umbrella or you would have to provide the necessary resources.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute Honourable Senator. I thought I heard somebody sucking their teeth as a response to a statement that the Senator made; please that is not allowed it is not encouraged; please.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: I withdrew. I am sorry. 25HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh! It’s you? Thank you for your honesty: alright. [Interjections] right Sir, go ahead.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Again, Mr. Speaker, the construction of a facility of this kind requires no argumentation, no human being is going to say you should not go with that facility and I repeat, I applauded the effort of the Cuban people in the sacrifice, clear sacrifice and Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment knows that even though he was trained as others were trained in Cuba, the Labour Party then refused to employ Cuban trained doctors, it is the New Democratic Party that started it; so the point I do not understand what he was trying to make to me earlier.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable ...HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: I want to clarify, Mr. Speaker, because no doctors were trained during the time of the Labour Party Government. It is well known by all that the first set of graduates to return from Cuba returned during the NDP administration because I was the first that went in 1980. I graduated in 1986, I did not come back home the same time but all the graduates that came ... the NDP was in office from 1984 to 2001 so I do not think that is a true reflection.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Alright point taken, continue ...HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I wish to turn to the Medical College. One of the Honourable Ministers spoke of a new Medical College. Mr. Speaker, what is the reality of this facility? How do we compare what we have today with what we used to have? When the previous Medical College was in existence, Mr. Speaker, we are told that in its heyday there were up to 300 foreign students per semester coming to St Vincent: 300 foreign students per semester. Mr. Speaker, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital was a recipient of up to US$100,000 per year from that facility, the institution used to offer four scholarships per year. It used to employ all of the specialists except the interns, with very good rates of pay considerably above what they get in their regular pay. Mr. Speaker, the Supermarkets especially an institutions like Aunt Jobe and they will tell you that because most of these medical students paid for their bills by credit card they can give you an exact figure of the drastic reduction in their sales consequent upon the closure of that facility. Mr. Speaker, there are many business places in Kingstown ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Point of order. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Point of order.26DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, it is wrong ... first of all the point of order is that my Honourable friend is making a statement about the sales of Aunt Jobe’s Supermarket, which I happened to know is incorrect. He says that Aunt Jobe’s Supermarket sales have been reduced drastically as a consequence of the closure of the former Medical College that I know it is not the case. If he wants to say that there has been a clientele lost but that does not mean there is a clientele lost that there is not a clientele make up elsewhere; and that Aunt Jobe’s Supermarket sales ... because I have spoken to the owners as I speak to the owners of other supermarkets; the sales have been going up rather than falling. It does not mean that the sales would not have been higher if the Medical College Students were going there. I just want to correct, Mr. Speaker, this view that somehow Aunt Jobe’s their sales have fallen drastically because the Medical College there, and their limping along almost ... really. I mean it is just not true, the statement which he made.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I do not know, maybe he might have been referring to a particular period and it is for him to say that. So, maybe I believe that might be the thing but I [interjection] well, I do not know if it is attacking, he is attacking it. I am not too sure that he is attacking it, but I would... [Interjections] yes, I would not say he is attacking it maybe he is trying to make a point in relation to that drastic drop in sales at a particular time perhaps. Anyhow, it is for him to say that: it is for him to say that. But anyhow, I am just reminding members of my own caution earlier today; I am sure that we all heard that I do not need to repeat. Okay continue.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, thank you I hope I have not lost any more of my time. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No ... HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: And I still have half an hour left. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have 19 minutes speaking already.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the point I continue to make is that the departure of that facility meant that a number of institutions including Aunt Jobe’s lost a significant component of their clientele. Indeed, there are specific stores in Kingstown, which expanded on the consequence of the guaranteed market of these people with a particular taste. I am talking about businesses that deal with cosmetology and specialist stores whose sales have declined since these students no longer come. So, Mr. Speaker, quite apart from that these students ... even tourism in the Grenadines because they used to take time out to go down to Bequia in particular and it had impacted on the restaurants and so forth; there is no denying and the others are so obvious. The others are so obvious; the others are so obvious; the rental cars; you had the closure of a restaurant in the ... Lime and Pub, its market is gone but Mr. Speaker, I said in the peak of this institution there were about 300 students per semester. [Knocking of gavel] What do we have today? We are told that there is a new facility. From 300, three semesters per year, the last intake in this institution was 5: 5, 5 in the last intake and intakes varied between 60 and 70 per term, Mr. Speaker.27HONOURABLE CONRAD SAYERS: Mr. Speaker, point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Member is misleading the Honourable House. Yes, he is misleading us because I was the one who made the debate on the arrival here of Trinity and what is happening there. Mr. Speaker, it is unfair to compare what trade is now, to what St George’s was because what St George’s had it took them 25 years to establish that, they got there after 25 years bringing in their clientele. What we have now is a new facility in its infancy, so the comparison then is unfair and I think the Honourable Member who knows better should not make that comparison because it is not fair. In doing so he is misleading the House. [Interjection]HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, it may not be fair to you but it is a fact. I am not here to say what is fair to you; I am saying this is what it is today. What I am giving you I said and I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that at peak the previous college brought in 300 per semester 3 times and I am saying now the new facility in its most recent intake brought in 5. Do not tell me that I am lying.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, to intervene here ... [interjections]HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: The comparison speaks for itself, Mr. SpeakerHONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Yes, I want to make a correction for the Honourable Member. Mr. Speaker, we spoke about honesty and that is why I am standing again. I did not really what to disrupt the presentation. The Honourable Member has said that this year they took in 5. I participated in that function there were 6 new students for ... wait I am not finished. Six new students for the premedical programme and 4 new students for the first year programme medic: six and four is ten, to tell people it is 5 it might sound insignificant, but all I am saying just say the truth. There were 10 new students taken in this year, I participated in that function. [Interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Go ahead start, you can re...HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I stand corrected by the Honourable Minister and if my information is incorrect I do apologise. But the point, Mr. Speaker, is that if I take the Honourable Minister’s correction then I am saying that compared to 300 per semester to 5, 10, 15, and 20 the drop is drastic and it has implications for so many things and that is the point, Mr. Speaker. The spinoff effect from this is felt throughout the country and the people who feel it know it you know, so I do not have to say anything more on that. Mr. Speaker, I therefore, want to turn my attention to a very vexing question in this country: the delivery health care to our citizens and visitors at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Mr. Speaker, it is this New Democratic Party that has long proposed the introduction of a medical insurance to aid in allowing people to receive medical attention. This institution prepared with assistance from outside agencies and was ready to implement its medical insurance. Mr. Speaker, what we find at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is sad, it is sad and it is painful I want to just look at some basic issues of management and administration. A cursory look, a cursory walk through the institution would tell you that there are areas where clearly there is no ventilation and you pick up fumes of all kinds and these are simple things to be corrected. You go through, Mr. Speaker,28and you realise that there really is a need for cleansing in an institution that delivers health. It really, really needs a total cleansing why is this not being done?Mr. Speaker, from time to time I have said and I repeat that institution has some excellent professional staff especially the hard working nurses and several of the practitioners and the technicians. It is in the management of the institution that there are serious problems; very very serious problems and no matter how good you are if the team is not jelling, if the resources are not available, if there is no dialogue between foot and head and mouth and ear, if there is no communication, the system perishes and that is what happens in the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: You stoned church and that never happened.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I thank God that I have never been accused of raping anybody. The conflict of interest, Mr. Speaker, seems to exist in the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and I am asking whether this is something we should pay close attention to. We do not have in this Hospital a CT scan; there used to be a private operator that provides that service, my understanding is the system is broken. The individual who runs that facility is a consultant in the hospital and plays a leading role in the operation of that facility. Mr. Speaker, I want to ask if the suggestion that this government or an agency of this government is in the process of or has provided funding to this private firm for the purchase and operation of a CT scan and if that is the case, Mr. Speaker, what arrangements would be put in place to make sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is fair to all concerned. [Interjection] I listened, Mr. Speaker, and I repeat a government or a government agency is about as I understand it to invest our money in the procurement of a medical testing facility for a private company. The Hospital needs some equipment we are not putting money into that. We heard this morning, Mr. Speaker, that oh the private sector is not good at producing oxygen; it is not good so the government is going to do it. [Interjection] Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Minister of Health said that it is cheaper for the Government to produce its own oxygen ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: than to allow the private sector to import oxygen; that is what hesaid.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes, but I did not think he said that the private sector is not good at doing it.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Well he said ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: He said also ... just a minute please, and you should be sitting really because I am on the floor. He said that at least there is room for the private sector. He said that the government uses about 25 percent of the oxygen produced and there is another 75% that is being required that the private sector can involve itself in. I do not remember, I cannot remember him indicating in any way in any part of his29speech that the private sector is no good at producing or even indicate that there is no room for them. I remember that quite distinctly and I say it brings me back again to Philippians 4:8: whatever we say let us be honest, let us be true and let us be pure in the things that we say; any virtue in them, let them think on them.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker; once again a time check please.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Twenty seven minutes gone.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I make the point the Government of this country is investing in the production of oxygen the part of the health care delivery system on its own. The Government as I understand it is about to invest in a private company involved in the delivery of an essential ingredient CT scan or the delivery of health care and Mr. Speaker, the truth will be told. [Interjection] now Mr. Speaker, all of us know from direct experiences and from complaints from members of the public that when you go to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital or indeed to any of the rural facilities you get a prescription, you cannot get medication. Mr. Speaker, I have gone to the Hospital to visit a number of persons and I watch the pain on their faces they have been diagnosed, they have been given prescription, there is none in the Government stores, and they do not have the money to go to a private pharmacy to buy basic medication, Mr. Speaker, I am talking very basic. I listened to the Honourable Minister of Health this morning and I am very passionate, Mr. Speaker, I did deliberately so. I listened to the Honourable Minister of Health talking about honesty and claimed that the Leader of the Opposition is dishonest when the Leader of the Opposition said that we are not putting enough into Services and Supplies and I remember and reducing it.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Honourable Speaker, again we are talking about honesty, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition suggested and stated to the effect that there was a decrease in the amount of money allocated to Goods and Services. I again referred to page 456 of the Estimates that there was an increase of almost $1 million; 15.4% in the vote allocated to medication and he heard it and it is there. Mr. Speaker, it is also wrong for the Honourable Senator Cummings to state what he has just stated. I did not really want to interrupt to give the impression that every time one goes with a prescription there is none. He said people go with a prescription and there is none suggestion that always, there are few times when this happened and I admitted it in my presentation. Let us deal with the fact and honesty.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator 15 minutes to conclude your address.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the Honourable Minister clarified it. Because, Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Health raised the issue the Leader of the Opposition said to him, “There is such a thing called Payables”. You see Mr. Speaker it is one thing to put money in the Estimates: it is one thing to put money in the Estimates; it is another thing to spend the money. There are two different things and I listened to the Leader of the Opposition say to the Minister of Health, the Honourable Minister, there is such a thing called Payables. Mr. Speaker, last year we had a Referendum in this country and this Government invested substantial sums in this Referendum I believe the figure is $4 million; $4 million running up and down the country spending money like it is water.30HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: You guys spent $7 million for Referendum I want to know where you get it from.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: We did not go to the Treasury for it. [Interjections] but Mr. Speaker, while all of this was happening, Mr. Speaker, while all of this was happening, Mr. Speaker, in order to be efficient and cost effective the countries of the OECS have established a long time ago what is called the OECS PPS (Pharmaceutical Procurement Service). Mr. Speaker, supplies for Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and the other facilities are channelled largely through that institution because you get them much cheaper. When you buy things in bulk and you have control it makes sense. Mr. Speaker, while ... and I am saying I encountered several people in the Hospital who could not get drugs; that is the fact. I am saying I personally experienced it and I nearly cried and I did not have the money to pay for it. [Interjection] I did not have the money to pay for it [interjection] but Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker; we are talking honesty, while this government spends so much money squander mania the OECS PPS stopped supplying this country with any drugs because the Government did not pay its bill.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: That is not true. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: It is not true; it is not true.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, I really do not want to be doing this but he cannot ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute if ... just a minute let me just deal with it because I really cannot ... This morning I was at pains to ask Members please in your debate to be honest, to be truthful and so on. Prior to that at the beginning at this debate I asked that if we are not certain about anything I rather in your debate you ask a question though it might imply the same thing but you may put it in the form of a question: ‘Is it true that the medication stopped because the Government could not pay the bill’? But I would like to hear the explanation of the Minister on this and if he comes up with an explanation that is correct or proven correct then we need to ... I would seriously have to caution you Senator Cummings that you be careful with the statements you make. Let me hear the Minister on this.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: That statement is not correct. Mr. Speaker, the OECS PPS as was correctly explained by my Honourable friend gives a service to the OECS countries. Mr. Speaker, what is true is that from time to time there is a lag in payment. Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest special warrants issued by this Government was shortly after we took office, I think it was $1.2 million [interjection] over $2 million to meet these same expenditures. Mr. Speaker, I promised to be honest and I will tell you yes, from time to time we are behind in payment but the OECS has never stopped delivering because there is a mechanism; they will call us and say, “well we would like you to ...” In fact there are times because we are the largest user of the service the proportion of the money that we spend, therefore they depend upon our money going to them. They have indicated to us that they would like us to pay up a later faster. Yes that is true, but they have never stopped delivering medication because of payment.31HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Alright, Honourable Senator, I would caution you that you know sometimes we have to be careful with the information that we get and that is why I believe that good governance in every respect does not necessarily mean from the Government but from the Opposition or from whoever. Good governance is in checking the information that we receive to ensure that when we speak we speak with authority, we speak with the truth and we speak fairly on these issues and I would like that these issues if you are not sure, I am sure the Minister or anybody of authority in the Ministry or in the medical services, I believe that the Minister will give you a true answer, I think I trust him that much so let us continue the debate.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I have more time? HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have spoken for 37 minutes. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I repeat. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have 8 minutes remaining.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker I repeat my statement that this Government was refused supplies from PPS for nonpayment of bills last year when they were spending money, millions of dollars and I can prove it, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Could you...HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: And I will.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Wait just a minute, just a minuteHONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: You see, Mr. Speaker, you have asked me to be truthful.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes. If you ... if you ... you said you can prove it, I would want you to prove it.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I will. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: And I believe that ... do you have the information at hand? You have itthere? HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Yes. I have it here. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay, well fine then fine go ahead.32HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: You see they are not ... I do not know why we are so jittery and we want the truth.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Go ahead.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, you say officials in the Ministry can give it. I have done my research. Mr. Speaker, in addition to this Ministry I called the institution in St Lucia. I called the institution and got the information. Now, let me tell you I have before me Mr. Speaker, a Memorandum on a letterhead of this Government.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Make it available to this House.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: If you so desire; If you so desire. Eh! The truth shall set you free-e- e; very free. Honesty, integrity, I sat and I listened this morning you know I did not interrupt you, I did not interrupt you. You are eager? I have time Mr. Speaker, I have time eh! I do not know why I am being pushed eh! Eh! Eh! Eh! This is dated January 22nd, you know, 2010. It is from the Central Medical Stores it is to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Environment. It is from Mr. Levi Walker, he is the Manager of the Medical Stores; official document. The subject is: Comparative Cost for selective Pharmaceuticals. It begins:-“Due to the temporary suspension of our OECS PPS account PMS has not received any supplies requested on October 2009. This has resulted in a number of items being out of stock and others are at critically low ebb”.Mr. Speaker ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Inaudible] 10 seconds.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I said again from PPS in St Lucia, the Government has owed on supplies delivered in the early part last year; and this has been an ongoing problem with this particular government. Mr. Speaker, [inaudible] Mr. Speaker ... [Interjection]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute please [knocking of gavel].HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: The Memo went on to explain that you can purchase supplies from other sources but they are far more expensive and it went on to urge that the problem be resolved. Mr. Speaker, the situation is ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Still reading the document?HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I am finished. 33HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: As you say you would make it a document of this House. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, this is a government memo and the Ministry ofHealth has it. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You are presenting it; you will make it a document of this House. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I can do that: I can do that Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Fine. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I simply request that I have a copy. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes, you will have a copy.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: So, I say again, Mr. Speaker, due to the temporary suspension of our OECS PPS, and that is Pharmaceutical Procurement Service account Central Medical Stores has not received any supplies requested on October 2009. Mr. Speaker, how are you doing today, may I ask? How are you?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Quite fine. HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: [Laughs]HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: And I ask that not to provoke, Mr. Speaker, very deliberately. When one asks how are you? It is because they are concerned.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well you see when a man gets ups up 4:30, 5:00 o’clock in the morning and commune with his Lord at least for about an hour ...HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: He feels good throughout the day.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: He feels good throughout the day.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Excellent: excellent. You see, Mr. Speaker, health is the best wealth and if there is one thing that concerns us as a people is our health and I ask, I ask eh! I ask Mr. Speaker, I ask when we drive; when we drive past the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital how do we feel? How do you feel? How do you feel when you drive past that Milton Cato Memorial Hospital? Mr. Speaker, I want to ask another question, if your son is sick or injured would you feel comfortable, Mr. Speaker, in having your son going to that institution?34HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Wait, that question is directed to me you mean personally?HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: If you do not mind, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well, you really should not be questioning the Speaker [laughter] but I would say this to you that I have ... personally I would say this to you personally I have been hospitalized three times and I have no difficulty with the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital [applause] I will take my son there.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say the same for all Members of Parliament though, Mr. Speaker. [Interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have three minutes. [Interjection]HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, you know when Sir James Mitchell had a problem he went to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital he was actually hospitalized there, in fact they had to put him in the ... amount the female: the maternity ward; there is where he had to be just so that the mob would not come in. But he had the confidence to go to that Milton Cato Memorial Hospital under the NDP administration and had an operation performed on him that was then. Mr. Speaker, health is not something that we should play politics with. Mr. Speaker, the management of the institutions that provide service for this country must be dealt with very seriously. When the process of reforming the hospital ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If my Honourable friend would give way. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: The Member has just about a minute.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If he does not give away I rise upon a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Member is misleading the House in respect to Sir James’s medical treatment and that also by implication of other Prime Ministers. First of all Sir James went to the Hospital to be sure but when he had a particular operation which required a particular kind of surgical skill during his administration he went to Trinidad to Dr. Sawh. I have been to the Kingstown Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. If there is a neurosurgical problem we have to go somewhere for it because you have no neurosurgeon there but the particular operation which Sir James did you now have a surgeon to handle that but of course, it is a man’s choice to go elsewhere. So, by making the suggestion that Sir James went there during the NDP period; oh it was wonderful by that account! I mean this is the kind of statement that people wonder about; what do we get up to here in parliament. Are we debating issues or just playing petty politics?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, 90 seconds. 35HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Oh thank you Mr. Speaker. They say who it hurt it hurt. Mr. Speaker, I am making the point ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: It did not hurt me, if it hurt me I [inaudible] HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I am making the point [interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Knocking of gavel] Honourable Member come let’s [interjection] [knocking of gavel] just a minute Honourable Prime Minister let us ...HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. [Interjection] I am saying, Mr. Speaker that in the delivery of health care we really need to rise above the joke. When one looks at what passes for a hospital down there to think of what can be done, the issue is not so much of resources Mr. Speaker, it is the way we use it, it is the people who we put in charge, it is the lack of dialogue among the doctors and the nurses, the lack of respect, simple things like creating a Mess Room so that the doctors who are on standby would have a place to chill out until they call them they do not have to run home and come back. It is the little things that make the difference. I am saying, Mr. Speaker, Milton Cato Memorial Hospital has potential why is it that in today’s world already you locate there and this is not a Party thing or present [inaudible] why did you locate a Hospital next to a cemetery I do not know? But you compound it ... this has nothing to do with ULP or NDP I am saying the simple fact but I am saying, Mr. Speaker, why, why compound it by putting the incinerator that burns waste from the Hospital within a few yards of the Hospital, so that when the females are there all the fumes come in? And we are going worse than that, Mr. Speaker, the fuel tank for that incinerator is a few feet from there; what a catastrophe waiting to happen. [Interjection] I am saying Mr. Speaker that the issues of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital are largely management issues and I urge this Government, Mr. Speaker ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Wrap up.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I thank you for your indulgence. I ask this Government not to play politics with health, to select a competent person to administer the Hospital; to sit down with the professionals, remove the barriers, level the playing field for all the practitioners, remove the stricture with admitting patients into the Hospital whereby as I understand it and I know I am going to be corrected again; to be admitted to the Hospital if you do not go through the Accidents and Emergency I do not know how else you would get in; and usually it is one doctor there. So you see, I am saying the whole procedures really are archaic, we need to revisit those things.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You will wind up now. HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I say ... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You will finish.36HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: I say for the love of this country ... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thirty seconds.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: For the love of this country we must put money in the right place. If you cannot buy medicine; Lord helps us! Thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Culture. Honourable Minister you are turning your back to the chair. HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, no! No! I am fixing [inaudible].HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh! Oh! Okay, you can begin now.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Much obliged Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to make my contribution to the debate on this Appropriation Bill before the Honourable House; the 2010 Budget. As the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance said earlier this week in his opening remarks that this marks for me like most of my colleagues here the 9th occasion the 9th Budget as a Member of Parliament that we have the honour and it is indeed an honour when you think about it that these are the highest offices in the land under the British Parliamentary System of democracy which we have inherited, and which is part of our everyday life. Governor General represents Her Majesty; this is Her Majesty parliament as evidenced by her presence and the Honourable Prime Minister is the Leader of Government business and the Honourable Leader of the Opposition is Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition and we all represent interests of the democracy of St Vincent and the Grenadines in this Honourable House.Mr. Speaker this $913 million Budget plus is set against the backdrop of the worst international recession in recent memory where it appears that the major economies of the world were headed for total and absolute meltdown; some actually did if you look at the BBC News and we listen to BBC in some European countries we in the Caribbean we have somehow struggled and kept our heads above the blue waters. We faced three economic Tsunamis: the Stanford debacle; the CLICO crash; and the British American dilution of savings and investments across this region in millions and millions of dollars. We listened with interest when the Governor of the Central Bank Sir Dwight Venner came to address the Cabinet last year. He was invited by the Minister of Finance and Chairman of Cabinet and we listened carefully because the Honourable Prime Minister wanted to make sure that as representatives of the people that not just his or the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Director, Senior Economist and Director of Finance and Planning in whom we have confidence would be telling us these things; or we are looking at it on television but indeed that we are sitting across from the policymakers and the persons who implement our monetary policy that we are on the same page, so that we all understand what is happening from the standpoint of governance.Mr. Speaker, from the published analysis, however, the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines appears to be the best performing among the six independent countries of the EC sub-region between 2001 and 2009 which incidentally coincides with two periods of governance under this ULP administration. St Vincent and the37Grenadines recorded in that analysis the highest average real economic growth, which speech was recorded not including Anguilla and Montserrat for the purposes of that analysis and obviously but seemed neck and neck with Antigua and Barbuda. This growth rate was about 3.78% and Antigua and Barbuda 3.75% and the average economic growth in the ECCU it was against this 2.62% growth rate. Obviously we have made remarkable progress because of the bold steps and the courageous interventions of this administration. Yes, we made mistakes maybe there were other priorities we may have missed ordered between 2001 and 2009 but we were not sitting in an echo chamber that is the reason that you have a Ministry of Finance which is staffed with individuals and not monuments or statutes or clones of the Prime Minister, but with serious professionals who are well schooled and their scholarship cannot be brought into question in this regard. So that in fashioning this Budget is not a one man’s show, it has never been.So throughout this period from 2001 to now when we see, Mr. Speaker, in this same analysis which is referred to in the address of the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, we see that the GDP for us what was ... 2001 was what *$86.55 in 2001 is now $15,593 in 2009 and we are better than Dominica which is smaller, Grenada and St Lucia which are both especially St Lucia with much more economic activity than us when we came in in 2001. Mr. Speaker, the Economists have advised that the economies in the international arena the recovery period has just begun but there are merely some little green shoots; it is still yet fragile and it is slow in its march forward and everyone is still about holding their breath. Every morning you look at the various financial indices across the world. Just last week you heard what happened to Japan Airlines that almost shook the Airline Industry to its shoes.Mr. Speaker, I will touch on a number of areas in this Budget debate give my views, my comments and support. I will start with Education, Mr. Speaker. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it must be noted there has been tremendous strides in the field of education for the last 9 years and we should not doubt it because we do not like it because there are lots of things we do not like but we have to live with it. There has been a revolution, I know when people hear the word, as my Honourable friend next to me said, hear the word revolution people immediately have this old fashioned colonialistic narrow myopic view that revolution means guns, bombs, uniforms and boots and we are not moving out of that view into the view that revolution means a renewal, a revival an uprooting, making new and fresh, energized. The doors to secondary level education have been thrown open to children age 11 and over while still using testing and measuring tools of the Common Entrance Examination, yes and seeing where remedial work is required. No one can doubt, Mr. Speaker, that over the years the Ministry of Education has deployed the recognized diagnostic systems remedial measures and support structures to keep the Education Revolution on track.Mr. Speaker in 2001, I recalled very vividly because when you are new to representative politics persons come to your constituency office: my child did not get in the Technical College; my child did not get in the particular secondary school; that is a thing of the past you know. That is now a thing of the past a revolution fashioned to ensure and to stand by the mantra that education is the surest way out of poverty [knocking of desk]. Mr. Speaker, the Revolution is not confined to the corridors of Ministries but massive investments by passing the figure of the original $100 million that the Honourable former Minister of Education, Representative of St George mentioned; but the Human Resource capital has been beefed up by ensuring that they have the38qualifications and skills: the Teachers and the Managers so they could deliver the appropriate curricula across the preprimary, primary, secondary schools system and the tertiary level.Mr. Speaker the administration has made education the heartbeat of the nation and I look with pride at the hundreds of 12, 13, 14 and 15 year olds streaming to school every day, pouring out of vans in their spanking school uniforms. I sometimes wonder if we carefully consider that our children truly deserve the best. We in this administration know that we have to prepare the population because this population is a young one; we are doing a census this year it is in the Budget 2010 census. We have to be ready to move this country forward by providing the emerging workforce with the tools to manage effectively this economy of the State. I remember when going off to university 30 years ago there were four of us. How many go off to university now [interjection] and how many graduated for doing their work online? Almost another 100 again, Mr. Speaker, you see it is not an accident that this has happened and this is because the environment is charged by this administration to make education the pillow talk.The major areas of economic development: Tourism, ICT, Financial Services and Agriculture plus the International Airport. The new Kingstown City development all of this is going to need the energies and skills of the young people to be ready. When I say young people I mean people younger than our youngest Minister sitting on this side of the House, he is not yet 30 neither is the newest Senator, not yet 30. Remember what I said in 1971 when I left there were 4 of us [interjection] no, no Sir [laughs]. Not quite. Yes you came about the year after. You stayed home, remember you stayed home one year and then you went. Originally even for university I should say qualify 30 years ago [interjection] no! No! [Laughs] I note the development in store for the SVG Community College and when we trace the development of preprimary school education 9 new centres, government owned and operated, are going to be opened: one is in Edinboro. We looked at the development and refurbishment of the Education Plant: the Thomas Saunders Secondary School; George Stephen’s Secondary School; the Buccament Bay Secondary School; and the Intermediate High School. Remember the deplorable condition of that school uptown? Somebody said they would not even hang out their hogs there; they would not even put the city hogs up there. Just look up the hill and we will see the quality that this government has given to this nation, so that the basic grounding in secondary level education I am assured is well on-stream.Let us take the Community College what we have planned for the Community College that is it is not going to be closed at 4:00 p.m. you cannot have a tertiary level education facility closed at 4:00 p.m. like it is Layne’s Store; no it must be truly tertiary and the beautiful plan, I am not going to steal the thunder of the Honourable Minister but there is a beautiful plan to ensure it is in fact going to deliver tertiary level education, Mr. Speaker. The National Public Library ready to receive furniture, books, computers etcetera required to furnish it. No educational thrust can be complete Mr. Speaker, without a library of note and together with the National Archives and the Documentation Center. Mr. Speaker, the Primary Schools in Fairhall and Bequia, work has been done everybody knows that Sion Hill, Lauders, Gomea and Brighton repairs done and several other schools. I have lost count of the number of scholarships to facilitate tertiary level education within and outside of St Vincent and the Grenadines. I have lost count off the number of steps taken by this government in its proactive foreign policy initiatives; scholarship from Morocco, Mexico, Malaysia, Libya, Turkey and39Venezuela supplementing and complementing those at UWI, Canada, USA and UK; and the scores of avenues through Credit Unions, the Bank, the NIS for tertiary level education access.We have not neglected Adult Education, Mr. Speaker, literacy and continuing education, school leavers and special education; we see works completed with the Georgetown Special Education Facility. Teachers have not been neglected, every opportunity has been made to deliver to them as Education Managers, as Education Administrators; persons are doing updates, they are going into diagnostics; why children are not reading between a certain age for their core art; what is required to bring them up to mark so that there will be quality in the system not just quantity pour them in: quality and working conditions are currently and constantly being upgraded. I believe that we are indeed tackling all the parameters of the Education Revolution. In Health, Mr. Speaker, the administration has placed great store on health and wellness in this day and I must say we have a very health conscious Minister of Health when we line up to eat the Honourable Minister literally is staring in our plates Mr. Speaker and counting the calories and he would say gently, “you have to work that off tonight”. There is one Member who runs literally from the Honourable Minister of Health because he will not do what the Honourable Minister of Health has said and we are trying we struggle with it as most of us know we do struggle, and my mother always laughs and says she has never seen a Baptiste who is my size and I told her it must be contentment. I am contented with the place that I have reached with my life. But seriously, Mr. Speaker, workers, students and all members of households, each year this government comes to this Honourable House with our Budget trying to solidify health care delivery and this year is no exception. You have heard the Honourable Member made mention of the allocations in this regard; several clinics refurbished, we noticed some clinics are having additional range of serves as Dental, Ophthalmic and Physiotherapy and Counseling. I can speak about the Physiotherapy, Mr. Speaker because I had to have a couple of months of it and it is good having that service but we need more young people from our side of the fence in St Vincent and the Grenadines, I do not mean this fence in here but because we do not have as many young people going into this field of endeavour. And I really hope that they would take into account that we need the Physiotherapy Services in St Vincent especially as a sporting nation. People love their sport and this is a companion service that is required in St Vincent and the Grenadines.Mr. Speaker, I want for the record because sometimes one gets a jaundiced view about these matters. I have been hospitalized twice at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital 1990 and 1992; I got excellent care and the only reason that I did not do my right knee total replacement in St Vincent and the Grenadines is because the service is not available but I had to leave Cuba and they had to be assured that when I come back they give me a little file with the physiotherapy that is required and we had people in St Vincent who can follow the regiment that is required for me to be able to heal properly and to walk. So, Mr. Speaker, if we do not have it we have to go somewhere else and get. And Mr. Speaker, sometimes people are timid; there are not too many people who would be anxious to go into private medical services as I speak with knowledge, intimacy and authority. Medical equipment is not cheap I can tell you in 1998 the price of a CT scan was US$394,000 multiple that by $2.7169 add the money for the commission of the bank, the telex wire transfer and we got 75% duty off to bring in a CT scan in St Vincent and the Grenadines, individual 1998: the clinic was opened 28th March, 1998.40There was no institution who wanted to back that plan and Nation Builders from a family took that private sector step. We put, I say we because I speak with intimate knowledge our money where our mouth is it is supposed to have a lifespan of 7 years; required to clean its teeth and change its pampers every year for US$40,000. Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) indicated that in a country with a 100,000-150,000 population one CT scan would service that population because they have already worked out ... so Mr. Speaker, when people do that I do not think that is any easy feat unless you are Donald Trump or Bill Gates. There are other people who could have done it but I do not see it. I am proud of that and I am proud of our hospital services; yes it can be improved. In a previous time I served on the hospital visiting committee and it was up and running and very lively and would respond to things of that nature, this administration has revived that committee because we were not happy with certain things in the environment. The recommendations are with the Honourable Minister and his Ministry and they have to take those things into account while at the same time one would see in this Budget that a study is going to be done on the feasibility of the relocation of the hospital and the hospital was located there, it was the colonial hospital and then it became Kingstown General and then Milton Cato Memorial. It was there a good long span of time and that study will inform us as to where the distance is; where the population centres are; all the data that the Ministry has collected in that respect about the modalities that are required to be serviced in the area; and where will be the best location for the way the transportation would be able to get you there so that you are serviced. I have every confidence that this study would inform us on the feasibility, informs the Government on the relocation and what would be the cost. They would give us the initial thing because they would also have to do feasibility on the cost; to design construct, refurbish and staff a facility we will want to maintain our reputation even though people complain about Milton Cato Memorial it has an excellent reputation as a medical teaching facility and is so accredited. So, let us be careful when we chat we do not throw out the baby with the bath water, and we are looking to improve the accreditation status so we have to consider also the alternative use of the existing structure when it goes.Mr. Speaker, of interest to me as well is the HIV/ Aids project and I hope that we can access some more funds and in the Ministry of Health; I see in their programme for 2010 an Oncology programme is proposed. I am often saddened by the number of individuals that require these services and have to go abroad especially women and their families, I am worried about the families, the children, the 23 year-old and 32 year-old women with three children: three daughters in secondary schools some of them or one in primary, two in secondary and then have a complaint and sometimes it is caught too late and then you have to pay. It is the attempt [inaudible] the attempt to reduce the cost of such after care service and improve on rehabilitation; perhaps the overall outcome for our cancer patient.National Security Mr. Speaker; there are several initiatives in the National Security Budget that have a global impact within St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Pan against Crime we are going along with this programme it has had a positive impact, I speak particularly with two communities. Honourable Selmon Walters would know that and Stubbs and Largo Height: three. In some areas you cannot see that impact because there is more work to do and despite the approaches of the police and interventions we are going to revise now the next phase of this programme. The NCCP will need to be more on the ground with the enforcement agencies as we try to deal with the impact of the Pan against Crime programme. Mr. Speaker, National Security is an important platform as it relates to communities other than youth and deal with youth and youth violence. We recognize that41praedial larceny, Mr. Speaker calls for more intelligence because unfortunately there are too many upholders which we know are worse than the thieves. We need to encourage law abiding citizens to inform on the goat thief and the cattle thief so that prosecutions could be made. It is awful for our hard working farmers to take heavy losses week after week and month after month. We heard the Honourable Leader of the Opposition mentioned that. Provision has been made for Constables, Rural Constables in the Budget who hopefully would be able to assist in apprehending the perpetrators because sometimes you get the colour of the vehicle, the number on the vehicle, where the perpetrator lives, but by the time the police get from their distances the person has already disappeared and gone to Fancy; cattle gone.Mr. Speaker, I move now to the Tourism Sector; we know in National Security I think I saw something like $35 million there for different aspects of National Security and I am assured and I am very proud and happy with the Ministry of National Security the work: the tremendous work done by our law enforcement agency. We thank them for it they are our brothers and sisters and boyfriends etcetera. Mr. Speaker, the Tourism Sector is being targeted in this regard by some unscrupulous persons a few thieves and robbers were seeking to tarnish the carefully cultivated image as a safe friendly and spectacular tourism destination; this year however, I can assure them the space is going to be made very narrow since the Coast Guard Services would be enhanced by the addition of three fast rigs due here this year that is some $9 million allocated in the Budget. I feel better already. It is not only in respect of thefts and yachts in the yachting sector which is critical to our tourism revenues but it is also to deal with interdiction for the illicit trades around our waters.Mr. Speaker, the Prison’s Department is a beneficiary of this year’s Budget as well; the general public has seen those facilities for incarceration and correction and geared towards punishment and rehabilitation, we want the inmates in and coming out new useful citizens individuals interested in being useful and making a good contribution. The female prison is located in West Kingstown and they have been excellent beneficiaries of many things: fridge, stove, computer, printing materials that I have taken there from time to time to a group of ladies and now we are going to do some rehabilitation work in cosmetology, fashion and modeling. When they come out you would not even recognise them; you would not. I see one of my teachers who is here in the Strangers Gallery; so $34.5 million or 11.4% of the total Capital allocations in this year with the police stations, coast guards surveillance, rehabilitation of stations and the personnel. There are going to be jobs in this sector, Mr. Speaker, some 38 police posts and 10 more in the Coast Guard; it is a good career choice and I must give kudos to the Medical Association which mounts a Career Guidance Exhibition for the last five years and the police has always been there exhibiting careers in the Police Services; Investigators, Border Control Officers and Seizures. It is challenging but fulfilling choicesin Forensics, Seamanship, Prosecution and Traffic; we need law enforcement officers to keep the peace and I encourage constituents to apply; I am proud of one young lady Trennella Solomon who is now recruited was hoping to get to the British Army but she is there it is really her career choice; it was a challenge thrown out by the Commissioner to the young people in Rose Place and she took up the challenge. I am really proud of her and Delano from Largo Heights.42Mr. Speaker the star project of this administration is doubtless the Airport at Argyle construction is on target at this time and we are told by March 2012 it should be ready. Over EC$500 million, this project is on the verge of providing hundreds of jobs, this is the cry we hear when we go to our constituency offices: jobs, jobs; jobs; jobs; jobs; employment. Now, here where the jobs are going to be: Fuel, Runway maintenance workers and Engineers; Electricians and Electrical Engineers; Computer Systems Engineers; Building Maintenance Workers; Passenger Screening Workers; Security Guards, Air Traffic Controllers, Meteorologist, the facilities for the arrival at Immigration and Customs; persons with multiple languages; Shops; Food courts; Art Galleries; the VIP and VIP Services; Executive Lounge Services; for use of better word Interior Homeland Security Workers; Border Control; Sick Bay; Fire Services; Taxi and Limousine Services; maybe even in the master plan we have not seen it yet there should be a 100 room Airport Hotel, who knows and a Gas Station, Mr. Speaker. Jobs, jobs, jobs get ready two years from now is not a long time so those that are in school pay attention we need the people with the Math, Sciences, Physics let us get to it; get on the starting block.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: I will retain you.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: You will retain me; you cannot afford me Sir. [Applause] [Laughs] before I left my practice in 2000, you know, you know how it is you are the one who plead you know, you bleat and when you bleat I have to take it for granted that if it walks like a duck and it quacks you may not be able [coughing and clearing of throat jokingly] see me. Mr. Speaker, the Budget also makes provision for the continued thrust forward with housing for the poor and low income earner. This administration has shown by example, we have demonstrated by example that we concerned of about the state of the housing [inaudible] particularly among poor and low income sector of our population. Last year I know, Mr. Speaker, so many persons from the special services you would see that vote in here some half a million dollars have benefitted tremendously from that in one way or the other, but the Ministry of Housing and the Honourable Minister I would not take his thunder either would speak more on this issue of the housing for no and low income persons.Mr. Speaker, I turn to agriculture, I am looking forward to the coconut water Bottling Plant, I have had a lot of the samples of the water and it is good for ladies. It keeps our complexion nice and clear. The gentlemen need it for stamina to run the race of life. This brings us a new product to the local market and even for regional and extra regional market and I say that with confidence and courage because look at our water everybody is buying St Vincent water, Mr. Speaker, as long as we could fulfill it and we know that. I mean all the brands that we have in St Vincent so I am looking for the spin offs in the regional market and the extra-regional market because when you go to New York the Hairoun finish by the time it arrives. By the time it arrives and I go by my friends they say, “Oh you know we try to save a couple drinks because...” and you go to London they say, “The Vincy drinks are gone we cannot supply enough” so we have to beef up what we are doing.Mr. Speaker, the Agriculture Training Institution is due to be operational this year as well, so 400 young farmers and entrepreneurs in agriculture will be trained to meet the new paradigm shift in the agriculture sector. We need new technologies to help us to produce more and better crops and livestock fit for dairy purposes, as well as for slaughter: am I right? Yes, it is in the document here. Imagine that agriculture has bounced back despite the slippage of the Banana Sector and the suffering it gets from the various disease and attack from43disease and we did not hide it we came out and said that it had the Black Sigatoka, Moko and when the Pink Mealy Bug: bing, bing and what happened. We were not hiding it: we told the people and agriculture earnings are now moving up the ladder. I do not know if we dare say the production of local foods, and moving forward with the opportunities for fruit and vegetable farm and producers, with the growth and the tourism plans example the Buccament Bay Resort with hundreds of rooms, Canouan with additional rooms, Mustique seeing shoots and getting ready: green shoots they call it, Yachties who will need these fresh vegetables that this ought to translate into growing demand for local fresh vegetables and fruits. Must translate, because when they come to the tropics they expect to get papaw, they want papaw juice and so on. They do not want you to open a can of juice for them from Belmont.Mr. Speaker tourism is the main economic activity of this state and the potential continues to shine through with the following additions in the tourism plans, with the more rooms and facilities, refurbish sites and new attraction, the jobs will explode on the scene. We are already seeing the construction phase how that has helped our fortunes in the NIS and people taking home money; but here with the largest Tourism Plant on the mainland they will need housekeepers, room attendants, waiters, waitresses, bartenders, bellmen, bell captain, gardeners, house electricians, when I say house meaning people dedicated to the Tourism Plant, plumbers, leisure workers: the ladies who will explain to you take you down the people to do tennis. They have a lot of our young guys who are qualified as tennis coaches, who are qualified at the professional level, frontline staff, receptionists and reservation clerks: 24 hours. Again languages the girls and boys doing Spanish in primary school now, so we would have a nice flow, kitchen staff, stewards, assistance, various chefs, sous chef, chefs de partie, maître d’, wine stewards, beach attendants, baby sitters, pool attendants, chauffeurs, food and beverage purchasers, healthcare providers for hotel guests: jobs, jobs, jobs get ready. This could mean more taxis to service the Resort day and night; there are standards attached to the number and categories of workers per room according to its grade: 5-Star. These are exciting times, Mr. Speaker, plus I am encouraging Union Island the small hotel plants and local guest houses who will bring their game up and the apartments, hotel development and Bequia; all these plants require workers and seamstresses. There are our designers, I was very proud to see our designers doing work in the Grenadine House and Bequia Beach Hotel, young designers. You in secondary schools I hope you are listening, jobs, jobs, jobs.Mr. Speaker, this subsector has transportation, shops, operators and travel agents. It is a service and excellent teaching will be appropriate. I say all of this in support of this Budget; so that we could see what the positive aspects are coming out of this Budget. Yes it is tight! Yes we have to band our bellies! Yes we do! You are going to have the Bible said, remember the dream? How many years lean years, years of famine and years of plenty; well, I do not think we are immune from the prophecies, they are now coming out you are seeing it, so let us get ready. In the Financial Services Industry, Mr. Speaker, every twist and turn they are tightening the screws especially in the Caribbean Region in our Financial Services Industry. They went after Europe and everybody: “Okay we have agreed” Mr. Gordon Brown and other people at the Davos Conference. “We have agreed, we will sign the tax information agreement; we have changed our regime and focus from a non-tax regime to a low tax regime so there would be evidence from our foreign based corporations that they are paying a tax in the home jurisdiction”. We have widened the base of the legislation to bring in the cell companies, so44that you could have more activities and more jobs in the sector for our accounting clerks and people in the financial services, lawyers and management consultantsNow, Mr. Speaker, you would notice what I have spoken about when I focused perhaps because I like to look on the positive side on the job creation aspects of this Budget. I now turn to the Ministry of Urban Development Culture, Labour and Electoral Matters. Mr. Speaker, you would have heard the Honourable Minister of Finance outline that Urban Development thrust began even before he named a portfolio, and that department since that we held almost one full year of consultation with an inter ministerial committee including persons from the private sector, such as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce; as we looked at the preliminary aspects of Urban renewal in the capital city. Most of this you can see in the city affectionately referred to as the Education Zone, where there are a cluster of schools: Preprimary Early Childhood Centres, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, the Library, Archives and the auditorium to come. The preliminary drawings look fantastic, Mr. Speaker. This zone is in Murray Road, Richmond Hill area just outside City Center. The preliminary report also dealt with issues such as creating pedestrian precincts, and we looked at Middle Street with its beautiful historic cobblestones that the possibility of removing traffic out of that area; what will happen to the bus stops and the bus terminals; and the Ministry of Planning rather the Town Planner, Mr. Bowman working with us on what is needed to renew the bus terminals which you see that there are some funds voted I think it is $1.5 million in respect of working with the bus terminals in Little Tokyo. Shopping areas the new road network to divert the traffic, Mr. Speaker, while we are yet to recruit an urban planner and a regional planner, we do not simply twiddle our thumbs we are impatient, so we use the services of other planners and the interdisciplinary approach as I said before and held discussions with two regional governments that have taken this direction and explained to us; one had tremendous difficulty even problems in creating their urban agency, because it did not quite match what the outcomes were so we were looking [inaudible] experience hit we look at the precedent and work from the precedent, Mr. Speaker.We aim to complete Heritage Square plan with the street signage and get the first draft of the Government legislation for their urban development corporation. The Honourable Attorney General has a precedent from Jamaica and Barbados promised to submit their own but we got on line from a few other places we went to such far flung places as Beirut because as people would know that Beirut was bombed till thy kingdom come and they sought to rebuild in a particular direction and Malaysia looking at what principles of urban renewal and urban city development could be applicable to us and we see within the city there is going to be the Halls of Justice; Reigate building and the Ju-C. The whole idea is to continue the conversion but in a much more structured fashion for modern business commercial and government center. Also, Mr. Speaker, we started to formulate a preliminary framework at Arnos Vale; you recall three years ago I mentioned that on the 60 acres or thereabout as the time is drawing near and National Properties has started its work in this regard. Two years time when the first Jet touches down at the Argyle International Airport, I would love to be on that Jet and I am hoping to make sure I put my money where my mouth is so that when you are going through the arrival hall right along the wall like you have in some of the airports all the people who were involved in the initial and made their contributions; put your little $1000 so that your name could be there that you contributed so when your grandchildren coming through and they look and they say “Oh yea; look granny name dey”. This new development thrust is part of the modern post-colonial modern economy, which will form part of the master45plan for urban development in the new urban areas and we are anxiously impatiently awaiting the consultants to get on board, they are not cheap, Mr. Speaker, to do this master plan.I move on now to the Department of Labour. This year we wish to finalise the work on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill over the last two years we have early examined the Caricom Model Bill with our stakeholders and the feedback has been encouraging. Already establishments have either launched their protocol on guidelines in this regard or preparing their manual. GECCU launched last year and the NIS launched earlier this month. I know VINLEC and ECGC always because of the large nature of their establishment, they plan, so I am hoping that all the government bodies’ enterprises, statutory corporation, private enterprises and the public companies would do likewise so we could demonstrate by example that government leads from the front like NIS, VINLEC and so. However, it is useful in our work plan to take to the workplace the desirability of designing procedures as we become more sophisticated in the workplace our people hate to wear those hats and the boots; they do not like doing it but we cannot afford the critical types of injuries that you can get without the safety measures: it is a pressing issue, Mr. Speaker.We proposed, Mr. Speaker, in this year to educate employers on a number of ILO Conventions, we have submitted about six or seven to the Honourable Attorney General and hopefully I know her staff, it is very difficult they work long hours sometimes to 11:00, 12:00 o’clock in the night on the legislative agenda, which is very aggressive legislative agenda that [inaudible] but the ILO is pressing us now to ratify these Conventions as they apply to a lot of our enterprises. As I say as the modern economy emerges we have to fall in line with what is expected in the modern economy. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that the Trade Unions have either regularized their filings or in the process of doing so, and the last one I believe would be holding their congress next month and they are all properly functioning Trade Unions and under the umbrella body of a more meaningful NLC. We started last year to put some resources to the NLC with an office and some things we want to give it a little more beef on the bones, and we are hoping that there would be more interest shown from the labour sector in the fortunes of the National Labour Congress as it becomes more relevant to these times. There is a lot of Trade Union training that is required so we do not see negotiations appearing in the newspapers; you cannot negotiate in two places; you do not go to the Bank and tell the Bank Manager open the door so that all the people in the front of the Bank could hear what loan you want. You do not do the same thing when you are doing negotiations there is a protocol and I guess with training that will happen.Mr. Speaker, I applaud the Employees Federation for working with us and bringing alive the commitment of employers to make their sector organisation a strategic organisation that would impact on the desirable, commercial and business sector activities to again modernise that sector. You know the reason I said this is that we are facing these international agreements and these trade agreements through a series of public events on the CSME, we are moving towards ... we have initialed the ECCU the Economic Union that we are hoping to bring into place, the new EC Treaty, Mr. Speaker, but we have to be prepared. These are not just things on paper you know. I remember when people thought 1970 with the Supreme Court Act that all these things are going to happen and we are functioning. So, while at the Governmental and at the Ministerial and Heads of Government level the agenda is proceeding apace; we on the ground level on the ground floor have to make sure that the business community and the labour sector are prepared to capitalize on the opportunities that will become46available to us, but we cannot do so if it is business as usual, we have to read, we have to go to the workshop, we have to attend the seminars, we have to listen to the Labour Commissioner on her radio programmes and keep abreast and do not say, “I do not know” when somebody comes from another island and takes the opportunity under your nose. You are going to complain to the politicians “I ain’t get”: take warning. Mr. Speaker, we have been examining the feasibility of labour recruitment in Western Canada. We have been informed there are likely to be openings there; however, the current Canadian Worker Programme continues to recruit labours from St Vincent, this year the request is late, we have been informed from Head Office that Canadians are now lining up for this type of work that used to be the choice work for our labourers to go and pick fruits; that gives us a sign of what is going on. St Vincent has the largest number of workers of the OECS groupings over just about 200. The others, some are I do not think anybody is in the hundreds they are all below that.We have been also informed the Canadians are not only lining up for that but the employment crunch is beginning to hit home and the people are willing to take jobs. Oh that reminds me in St Vincent sometimes people come and they say, “I want a job”. “I want a wuk”. You say, “What wuk”? They say, “Any wuk”. I say, “No! No! No! It cannot be any work”. “What job would you like”? Sometimes they would like a job that is either not available or for which they are not equipped, then they curse you: you do not want them to go. Mr. Speaker, one of the critical aspects of this labour recruitment programme is that police record; we have passed in this Honourable House the Rehabilitation Act, and I hoping when it comes into effect that we would be able to help persons who are good workers but had a little error in the past and they got a three months or a fine, a one month or six months. You would remember the threshold is 30 months and then the period that you have to be rehabilitated for if it is 10 months, 12 months, 1 year or 2 years so that more persons can stand a chance for recruitment, but when you are recruited and go to Canada for heaven sake, Mr. Speaker, we now have a new problem. The new problem is this: you see in St Vincent you could take your Cell phone and you call somebody on a Radio Station, “Ye man, wah vexed you today”? And so you say what vexed you. Well we had a few Vincentians who thought they would do that in Canada, “Yea man wha vex him”? “The farmer playing music dey that ain’t vital; ain’t conscious music, and he would not take it off and put on my conscious music”. Go on the radio in Canada [laughs]; the farmer reports to the Labour Office that this gentleman wants to hear his vital music and goes on the radio like they do here and lambaste, now what is the farmer supposed to do? He says; “bye, bye it was nice knowing you, I do not need any labourers from St Vincent, I do not need any workers” so he takes them from Mexico. Careful, yes there are genuine complaints sometimes about some of the farmers; some of the owners but there are procedures and avenues for dealing with those complaints.Mr. Lloyd has just retired and I am reliably informed that a Vincentian is going to be the new liaison officer at the OECS office for recruitment for labour and I am hoping that that would be done to the benefit and welfare not only of St Vincent and the Grenadines but the OECS, but I am looking forward to a very active and forward-looking strategies of going aggressively at that programme and warn our recruited labourers; the line of march is set out to you when you go for the interview, it does not change: do not go as some have done shoplifting; nonsense and forget they have cameras and mirrors that is another stain on St Vincent. We have to shine up the image, we have to clean up the image so that we can continue; we just earned I think it is CAD $398,000 is the earnings for the workers. I remember the days, one of my first jobs was to work for Mr.47Seaforth Providence of blessed memory; he was the Labour Commissioner. In those days when you see the letter come back it is all CAD $2 and $3 million from our farmers: from the farmers and the labourers getting. The market is shrinking but they are opening up in different areas other than farming, in construction and in the hospitality industry in western Canada, and if we want those opportunities and we look at what are the requirements we have to meet the requirements. Remember Canadians are now looking for the jobs. Mr. Speaker, on the list of persons requesting retraining for employment, it is a small list; persons who have been made redundant in St Vincent and the Grenadines they have been asked, Mr. Speaker, to come in and put down their names and get the training. They are appealing to workers to come forward at the Ministry of Labour it is in our interests to see that persons are gainfully employed again, to cut the unemployment line in the country.I now move on to the Electoral Department, Mr. Speaker. Our Budget for training this year in the Labour Department is not a large one. I see a little sum there and I am hoping that with our partners in the Private sector we will be able to triple that; so if we have $5,000 they would put in the other $10,000 and help us with the training in the Budget. Mr. Speaker, I move to the Electoral Department. I was very pleased to note that OAS Electoral Observation Mission 14 persons from 11 countries has highly complimented the efficient manner and dispatch, with which we handled the electoral processes in the November 25th Referendum of last year; and singled out our Supervisor of Elections for commendations and recognised the Honourable Minister for her role. They mentioned some areas for improvement and have made their recommendations. Mr. Speaker, I would like to have it recorded that we are indebted to Mrs. Findlay-Scrubb and her hardworking staff, who under pressure to deliver like they did; and to the objective observes they have given their endorsements. [Applause]They have said we ought to be at the disposal of the region and beyond and we are quite sure that persons are hearing us on the internet that we are available for regional and extra-regional consultation. To my good friend the Honourable Senator, see there is another job I am not going to do too badly in retirement [laughs]. I spoke with a lady sometime last week who was also on an observer mission but not on this one. We had a good chat and we are looking to see how best we can create certain synergies in this regard. I also feel that with a new job, a new Supervisor of Elections, a new ID Card system, still having a few feeding problems this is a magnificent stamp of approval. We are examining the recommendations as well as those of the local NMCM (National Monitoring and consultative Mechanism). We have not yet been given the report; furnished a report from Caricom and the OECS Mission. We noted with interest as well the criticisms that have been leveled at the office of the Supervisor of Elections but we are concerned with making the process more efficient. One of the issues that the OECS listed to us is the transparency with which we undertake the work in the Electoral Department, and I wish to say lest we forget the constitution that establishes this office said:-“The Supervisor of elections shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority”.We usually forget that part. From our experiences with the Referendum we will certainly move to upgrading and looking at the polling stations and labelling and things of that nature, those are not called for scientific or Nassau Analysis. We plan to recruit and train more electoral officials, clerks and workers but we have to get as we always do and I leave it to the Supervisor of Elections the person with the correct profile, character and48integrity so that the office cannot be attacked on its integrity. Mr. Speaker, much moment has been made about the Voters’ List and you will see here that in our programme for this year we planned to update the Voters’ List. I have seen correspondence from the Honourable Leader of the Opposition directing the department to seek technical assistance to deal with the padded list. I cannot describe the List as padded, since I have no knowledge of the practice in the Electoral Department to pad. The list comprised of the registration of persons eligible and qualified to be registered to vote and not only persons eligible and qualified and registered to vote and currently resident. There is a procedure for objects and claims and they need to be used before the ‘Mad Hatter’s’ season. Mr. Speaker, the Electoral Office is working in conjunction with the Immigration and the Registry Department to ensure that claims of 5 years old overseas and deceased persons being on the list respectively are removed.One of the issues we encountered is that persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines moved backward and forward very frequently for 2 years, 3 or 4 years to the BVI the Virgin Islands, Barbados and Antigua in particular; and for periods of under 5 years and they turn up in their respective constituencies at various times. Sometimes they go for 18 months and they are back for 3 months and 4 months and then they leave and they are gone again. And it is remarkable how many people, in going through the list when you think this person is overseas, two weeks later you are told, “No they are here”. So, one has to be careful because it is a legal requirement not a political requirement.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, you have 15 minutes remaining.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, the Electoral Office will continue its recruitment as you see in our plan for this year and promote civic education with the impartial NMCM; which incidentally with my discussion with them we need to have a little membership, broader based membership because it is a little overloaded in one particular aspect.Culture this is perhaps the most visible aspect of the work of the Ministry: dance, drama, research, the Carnival Development Corporation, National Trust, Peace Memorial and the National Cultural Foundation. Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the cultural life of this country continues to be stimulated, to blossom and bloom particularly in dance, the Gospel Festival, Vincy Mass and Nine Morning. Vincentian authors, Mr. Speaker, are writing and publishing more frequently in the last 5 years than before; Vincentian performing and recording artistes are at the top of their game regionally and internationally: Skinny Fabulous just taking 5 major music awards, ‘Zoelah’, ‘Tabia’ have brought in their own trophies. These individuals provide great marquee value to the creative and cultural industry as well as to this country; they carry the National Flag with flair and honour. None is accidental, much of this activity blooms in a cultural environment that has been cultivated and nurtured and given positive support in high places.The Units in the Ministry of Culture have been given a total Budget of $1,353,455.000. The evidence before us in dance as we continue work with the nation’s schools and communities, we have inaugurated a small dance company; this year we hope to recruit 12 more dancers at least 6 males and take them on tour around the islands leading up to the National Dance Festival. The National Commercial Bank continues to be Title sponsor of the Theater Arts and Lime the School’s Drama Festival, but we are hoping we can get more private sector support,49much more private sector support. I do not know how many people make it to the School’s Drama Festival in particular to see the young people with the enthusiasm to be involved in the Arts. Poetry and drumming is picking up as well as aspects of the visual arts; we are indebted to Cuba for training our visual artistes who are at the top of their class at that International University in Cuba. The Embassy has hosted Cuban artistes on behalf of the industry and they have shared their skill and knowledge with our inspiring artistes and we are grateful and pleased for all these interventions. We look forward to support from Brazil, they sent us an agreement: a cultural agreement cooperation agreement. Russia has indicated that they want to set up a center for a Russian Art Center and Mexico who has given us support with training particularly in stringed instruments.We look forward to accessing funding for our panist under the newly created fund for development of Sports and Culture, as we have ‘Rodney’ and ‘Rheajahn’ both at UWI who are honour students. We started Fine Arts and Film Festival, Mr. Speaker, to encourage our filmmakers, cinematographers and videographers and we hope to help them to continue to develop that skill so that they can go for training. We have a festival later this month; and fashion is not just about girls walking up and down looking pretty with lipstick and blue eye shadow. We are moving by leaps and bounds, Mr. Speaker, Islands of the World Fashion Show, Miami New York; what a time St Vincent and the Grenadines has arrived. It is big business and I support the young entrepreneurs with Fashion Caribbean and Carnival Catwalk and our models have also been receiving kudos. Kimon Baptiste and Kimya Glasgow have received awards at the regional level; so through CED and Invest SVG who work in partnership we continue this development of the creative industries which is part of the National Export strategy. We have just received a framework document on the creative industries from the EU consultant and the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Culture will shortly have our inter-Ministerial discussion. Publishing is one of the newest parts of our Ministry; we have done Calypso Handbook, Poetry, Vincentian Voices, Patriotic Songs volume (1) Folk Songs volume 1. We are now into volume 2 of Patriotic Songs for this year and we did some books on Breadfruit and the Botanic Garden. These partnerships with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism for promotion and collaboration with CED and Invest SVG for training and promotion are essential and help the Ministry of Culture to carry out its mandate.Statutory bodies, Peace Memorial Hall, its management has been put on a good footing and it is moving along fairly well. They get no Grants, so they are aiming for revival of the Friends of the Hall to help with its maintenance to make it more ‘user friendly’. New regulations are with the Honourable Attorney General’s Chambers and we are hoping that those will help us to manage more effectively the Hall. We are seeking $95,000 to fence the Memorial Hall compound just as was done by the Carnegie library with the National Trust that was over $90,000 to fence that and both of these have been declared protected National Heritage to help with the littering and preservation of our heritage.The National Trust they have a satisfactory nine year track of constant attention profiling and support from the Ministry of Culture, French Government, UNESCO, Equipment, Exhibitions, Film Shows and Membership drives all part of its portfolio. The Carnegie Hall, Public Library the hall is called Heritage Hall; refurbished and recognised also a protected Heritage on its centenary last year. The National Trust has $20,000 allocated to it in the Budget but it began its largest project with the IADC last year and the archaeologists unearthed a piece of50our past over 2000 years of civilization and we are proud people. I feel proud, I feel now, you know pyramids of Egypt I do not have to envy them. This year the Leiden University Archaeologist from the Netherlands from the 7th-29th of this month have uncovered pieces from the Cayos site and this committee is led by Mrs. Martin, we are getting help from the Government of Egypt with the petroglyphs and I have received the official letter of approval last week from the Government of Egypt through their Honorary Council there that they would give us assistance and support; they have not quantified it yet but they have given that letter of approval in principle. The National Trust will open the Curator’s House in the Botanic Gardens which incidentally twenty something thousand square feet was given by deed; they have a vested deed from the State in the 1970’s and they will continue their work and outreach. We are hoping to get some more money from UNESCO as we seek to have the Layou Petroglyphs Site declared a World Heritage Site, because of its uniqueness and that site has also been locally declared under our laws as a protective National Heritage.The NCF is a Grant of some $25,000 to help them we have been trying to host a Grammy style Music Awards but we seem to have to be postponing it last year because of the Referendum; a new date is to come LIME and LOTTO are on board with us but there is room for more private sector input these persons who are nominated for these awards have done a tremendous job, we see them in Haiti, Artistes in Solidarity to Haiti that raised some $32,000 and I think that they deserve some support from the Private Sector. We plan to finalise our Digital Cultural Magazine with the help from Cuba, we have been working on it for the last two years. Mr. Theobalds the Head of the Cultural Department, administrative head, has indicated to me that that would be possible and consultations would begin this year in earnest on the National Honours and Awards. There was a committee set up to look at the National Honours and Awards; two persons of the Committee I will be discussing with them the possibilities of having other persons join them.Mr. Speaker, our premiere cultural festival; Vincy Mass is part of the Festival Tourism product and part of our Cultural Heritage product, work on a strategic plan for 2010 to 2012 has begun because we have to grow, strengthen, deepen and widen the scope of Vincy Mass. Ten rural festivals are now fairly well entrenched and the Carnival Art and Design we are hoping to start with select pilot schools to groom the next generation of carnival designers, since Piling Pollard and a group of them are in high demand from St Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia and Anguilla. So, we have to get a next set of young people in knowing how to design from the Constances and Pollards. This year I will be holding discussions with the CDC on starting a carnival hall of fame so that we can induct into indelibly ‘Samo’, ‘Tanny Peters’, ‘Bridge Boys’ etcetera; into the Hall of Fame. We have got to build these things and make Vincentians proud, build national pride and identity that is the rule here.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Five minutes more.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Yes, yes. Nine Mornings and (my watch saying 10:00) Nine Mornings and Gospel Festival continue to grow by leaps and bounds I do not think there is anybody here who can say that they are not proud of Nine Mornings this year; we seem to have had a larger outpouring and I think the young people are really, really fulfilling the role that we have thought of. The Gospel Festival this year would be something to see in St Vincent and the Grenadines, you cannot afford to miss it. We now have a full Gospel Music Academy, we also have the Gospel Music bands over 75 gospel people in dance, it is breathtaking when51you hear our young people how well they gravitate and not the young only because I was amazed when I had to send some persons to Canouan or the Canouan Regatta that we took two mature ladies and a young lady and sent them down there and they were headliners. I am sure you would remember that Honourable Member and we want to continue to do this and not just ... it is not centralized because we do everything in a zonal fashion as Carnival and Gospel Festival and so on, so everybody is getting in on it and building that pride.Now I come to the constituency (can I take two minutes just to get a glass of water?) So, I have two minutes. Stop the clock. Schools; the JP Eustace Secondary School was opened in September of last year; what a magnificent school $6 million plus. I am unhappy about the access road and it features in my road plan here: - “2008 and 2009 Edinboro: main road from cemetery to drawbridge, two schools roads”. It is twinned now with Mc Donogh 35 High School of New Orleans, this was an initiative by Her Excellency La Celia Prince our Ambassador to the United States of America through the Offices of the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana Mitch Landrieu and Senator Grey and it was a wonderful thing for the young people; young as in the United States everything you say, “black school” in an area and they were so amazed to see a young ambassador from a country; their own Senator Grey who was a black woman and myself and the young people; they just could not believe that a country can have two black women because you know what their caucuses and so on they have to be sure that they come to the forefront so this is just so amazing.We also have a preprimary at the top of Edinboro which began operations in October there are some teething problems, the fencing is still to be completed EPMU I have been advised will be able to take up the slack there and the renovation of the Kingstown Crèche or the Kingstown Day Nursery right to the foot of the hill opposite the cemetery gate it is a big project that is being undertaken there, and I view it from time to time and kept updated by the management in relation to the BNTF Project. Kingstown Anglican School this year is also into some refurbishment because we knew what the problems were, it was an old school a historic school as the Anglicans were the first to start an education process in St Vincent and this is one of the first institutions. And the Lowman’s Leeward Anglican School looking to their Music Room they continue to be beneficiaries of whatever legist that I can give them as the teacher said, “from her executive chair downwards” has been provided by me and so too the Kingstown Anglican School. The Kingstown Government School had its refurbishment completed at the early part of last year and got their donation of chairs for their staff room.Preschools in the area also got a donation of cots for the preschools to help them to keep up their standard. I was able to get that through friends in the United States of America. The Victoria Centre you saw the children here yesterday, this is part of the Student’s Support Services to help those students who need remedial work and counselling as students at risk and I am hoping we will be able to see fruits of that very shortly. It is a very caring staff and I am looking forward to the fruits of that. The NGO’s Mr. Speaker, in West Kingstown who have gotten contributions from the Urban League, which I think perhaps got the most contributions over the years since it has been established. Computer, the offices is part of a special works small programme through NESDEC they got some assistance. The hard court at Edinboro; the surface had some potholes like pimples; we had to fix that so they can have their volleyball and netball. The Largo Height Community Development Organisation which regrouped they were able to help and support the Genesis Steel Orchestra, which placed in their first time out and they were able to place fourth among the bands that came out for the Junior Panorama52last year. They have been nurtured by the SVG Police Force Band and myself. The last think is that we wanted to make sure they got uniforms and I got sponsorship from a friendly neighbourhood company really great to see that. I single out two young people Constable Jack for working with such patience with the young people and there is a recruit a young man Delano who went there to help the children with pan and he has now been recruited in the Police Services as he is looked upon as the profile for the young officers. I am very pleased with that. I see Pan against Crime has $150,000 I plan to dip into that as we wait on SIFT to... when I say dip in let me just clear that ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes Minister.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: The $150,000, Mr. Speaker, is a global sum and it is for the programme and some of the programmes because like Largo Height they had over fifty something people coming to that programme; there are children from other areas other than Largo Heights and some have asked if they can get some pan support such as the Lowman’s Leeward Anglican School. They do the training at Questelles ...Campden Park but they need some support for their pans, so we are looking to get the pan support from there. While we are waiting on SIFT for funding for the fencing of the playing field two sides one side down facing the police some work has been done there and the Chief Surveyor is to finalise the last side facing the Ashes property as there is a public road there and we seem to have some difficulty with the plans for that playing field. LCDO they have submitted their funding for a multipurpose sporting facility at Bum Bum through SIFT and they have given a sort of provisional nod to be moved up the List to help them with that. Tennis and basketball continues to get support as I was pleased with the basketball tournament they were hoping to have more teams come out but that was not to be this year and Devon Grant continues to hold his Tennis classes there. I am grateful to the Ministry of Education for allowing him access to the schools to teach the children. What is remarkable is to see the tiny ones from the Crèche going to learn to play lawn tennis. It is something to see, to see the little tiny ones this is a youngster who has coached I think he is now ranked as an international coach and I gave him all the encouragement I could and I am appealing to businesses, 105 businesses in West Kingstown and I am appealing to them to give [interjection] yea, you know I would count them, I am always like that; to give them some support for that programme.Rose Place this year we would be doing some work with BRAGSA on the West End Bridge and the environment there because by having the Victoria Centre and the School at Edinboro the students congregate on one side of the bridge to meet the vans, because the vans come down that gap by Blackcat Bar, and so we have worked out or we will beautify the area and make it more pleasing, beautiful and the correct environment for the students point up there; the walls along the side and so on and level it; so it would look more pleasing to the eye while we wait. UNDP has given us the study on the Rose place waterfront, the Ministry ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Minister.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Yes, I am almost finished, Mr. Speaker, trust [interjection] yes Sir [interjection] yes! Yes! They are completing the enhancements study for the Ministry of Fisheries to do with the Rose Place area. I have 1 minute: 60 sec. [laughs] only Baptiste runs race in 60 secs. Only Baptiste run races in5360 sec, your leader could tell you that. Housing is a critical matter in the area, lands have been approved for Great House, 21 applicants; Lowman’s Hill Springs area, 11 applicants; which were finalized in December and Grand Gate Lowman’s Hill where the Learning Resource Center is going to be constructed, there is 1.38 acres of land and 10 applicants have been submitted to the Ministry of Lands and awaiting the Cabinet Memo, which I have been assured by the Chief Surveyor would be with us within the next two weeks ready for signature of the Minster of Lands so these are urgent matters. I understand there 24 housing lots available up at Calvary to be converted so I am waiting on that. Informal Human Settlement, at Buddy Gutter on the 21st March last year we received figures from the Ministry of Housing for the light and water and additional funds have been provided for their road. The Learning Resource Centre BRAGSA will start that shortly and I cannot wait for it to happen. As we continue our sponsorship in sports of all kinds, trophies, gifts for netball, cricket primary and secondary schools; we have a 7 member pan side of women only, Mr. Speaker, and sponsorship from Petro Caribe. We are working out some modalities as they are our neighbour in the neighbourhood and they have promised to work with us on some community activities including pan and community sports.Lights for Great House, Ottley Hall, Edinboro, Mahoe, Cedar Valley and small projects for footpath, drains and steps in this year’s small projects; Mr. Speaker, the vexatious issue of roads and rescuing service is well known and I have taken the liberty and had meetings with BRAGGSA and I am assured; they asked me to put them in order of priority and I have done so. So we are looking forward to work which you see in the Estimates in Buddy Gutter, Edinboro, Ottley Hall, Campden Park, Leeward Highway and the beautiful new bus shed from LIME which Digicel and Rotary South have asked me to submit a list for new bus sheds in the area and I am looking forward to some more continued work in the area and I want to thank all who have worked in West Kingstown over the 9 years including those women who worked with me with the elderly and the youth to make sure that they have their support mechanisms as far as is humanly possible; as the Honourable Member for South Leeward has said.Mr. Speaker, the ladies who have worked in the youth training and facilitated the Gender Affairs Workshop with young people in the area; there are some more work coming and there is an opportunity for a UN training programme, so I am looking forward to that. Mr. Speaker, as I close I want to thank the staff of the Ministry of Urban Development, Culture, Labour, and Electoral Matters. It is strange from culture people have to work fore-day morning, nine mornings, 2:00 and 3:00 o’clock in the mornings, carnival, very early in the morning and very late at nights and they are public servants, some are public servants but they give their all because they are interested in their country and they want to see it function. The Electoral Office last year was tested, tried and they came through the furnace purified [applause] and they will be again this ... well when the Prime Minister has fully satisfied himself that he is so ready to ring the bell, they would be ready.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker, I want to commend this Appropriation Bill to this Honourable House, it has my full support and the support of all the persons with whom we have to work as they realise the times that we live in; thank you.54HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Bequia. HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Hello. Oh yes! I am going to Bequia to the Bequia Music Festival whichblossom and bloomed in the last 6 years; you see how easy you put yourself in trouble, HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Alright.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: I will be there and we are giving support from the Ministry of Culture for one of the advertisements. Thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I think you could afford to answer that question to respond to him because he said he has given you the extra 10 minutes of his time. [Laughter] He said that to me, so ...HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Well he only has 35 minutes [laughs]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well it is finish. Its finish [laughs] so that’s it [laughs] [knocks the gavel].HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate; any further debate?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker,HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: When you come back you will wind up?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Honourable Members it is now 1:20 p.m. we usually take two hours, the break so we can be back at 3:20 p.m.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes, Mr. Prime Minister. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Accordingly, I beg to move that this Honourable Housedo stand suspended for the luncheon period until 3:20 p.m.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Alright, you see my only problem is maybe we would not have any debate this afternoon since nobody seems to indicate that they want to go this afternoon.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Well, I will wind it up. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Since nobody seems to indicate they want to go this afternoon.Question put and agreed to House suspended until 3:20 p.m. House resumed at 3:36 p.m.55HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines if he can ... probably he has forgotten to put on his jacket, maybe he needs to in keeping with our dress code.HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I forgot. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yea! I realised that you forgot that is true but you do not want to get sickit is very cold; so. Honourable ... yes Minister of Health you.HONOURABLE DR.DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg your indulgence to respond to a question, though it is not usual that we respond to questions from the other side, but in the atmosphere of the discussion this morning about honesty and truth I stand to say that a disclosure was made this morning and I am sorry that my Honourable friend is not here Senator Cummings. The contents of a memo dated 22nd January this year, I did deny (and oh here it is.) I did deny that there were certain actions as expressed in the Memo. I want to say categorically that that denial was based on honesty, it was information that I was not aware of but I think the Honourable Prime Minister may or will give some further details; it is a situation where there have been some accounting discrepancies with the OECS and the Ministry of Health, which are being sorted out and suffice to say I felt strongly that that was not so because I know a substantial money was being paid in December and in January; but I thought it was important in the light of the request made by you and by myself for honesty and I hope that that will be suffice in respond to the allegations. It was not any intent on my part to mislead this Honourable House.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Debate, Honourable Minister of Agriculture. When you are ready, I am ready.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the Appropriation Bill that is before this Honourable House. I do so, Mr. Speaker, giving the fullest of support. I sat and I listened to the various presentations and I believe, Mr. Speaker, I honestly believe that Vincentians both home and abroad who have interest in the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines really that they are indeed pleased with the Budget presented by the Honourable Prime Minister but I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the response presented by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition that I believe that they are ashamed of themselves. Mr. Speaker, as I listened to the presentation from the Opposition Leader all I heard was gloom and doom. All I deduced from his presentation was one of no hope and as his presentation continued, Mr. Speaker, I reflected that over 500 years ago a young man born in Genoa in Italy, Mr. Speaker, he had a vision and then his vision, Mr. Speaker, he wanted to explore what was there. He believed in something, he believed that there was an unknown future and so he persisted in his vision and he sailed from Venice Westwards and found these beautiful islands of the West Indies what to me was incredible was that this young man had no resources to achieve that vision but what was more incredible was that he had no compass to sail the unknown seas to find the vision he had and so, Mr. Speaker, he was not daunted in any way given limited resources, being given three small ships and even the mutiny onboard he persisted and finally found treasures which was further exploited.56Mr. Speaker, the ULP administration has a sense of purpose; the ULP administration has a sense of direction and that purpose and direction is to develop this beautiful country of our St Vincent and the Grenadines. We acknowledge that times are hard; we acknowledge that traditional markets are now being dried up; we acknowledge that governments that once give aid to this country that they are cutting back on that aid but what are we to do? Are we to throw our hands in the air and say all is lost? No, Mr. Speaker, like Christopher Columbus we in this administration, we have a Leader who is brilliant, one who demonstrates strong ethical values, one who is heroic in nature, one who is optimistic in the worst of times, one who is strong in leadership and one who is devoted to his cause. Mr. Speaker, behold the man Dr the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves and together with the Ministry of Finance they have chartered the way for all Vincentians for the year 2010 to improve the lives of all with the services that would be provided.Mr. Speaker, I listened and much was said by the Leader of the Opposition in terms of our National Debt that the National Debt stood approximately $1.2 billion, and how much it is going to cost Vincentians per month, per week, per day, per hour and per minute. Mr. Speaker, it is good to know where you are and where you are going but as a young man I knew of a gentleman at the age of 14 years working for $30.00 per day as a young teacher, he had decided to make an investment he borrowed $360 in the year 1970 early 1970, actually his take home pay was $29.95 per month but he made this investment. And Mr. Speaker, a young man making such an investment had to repay $360.00 in those days he did not know exactly what the future held for him but Mr. Speaker, even though the young man did not eat and wear clothes and had to pay back all of that money it would have taken him 12 months to repay that debt but today, Mr. Speaker that young man who has grown up is now valued $2 million. Mr. Speaker, in the case of the Budget Current Revenue in the Budget is $502 million and since the National Debt is $1.2 billion it would take approximately 2 years to repay the Debt and the Opposition Leader indicated that we should not borrow any more money.Where we are today, Mr. Speaker, like the young man if there is no investment in this country what will happen and; therefore, Mr. Speaker, in borrowing more to make sure that Vincentians their lives are made better what would be the situation in 20 years time. Mr. Speaker, are we not to create new investments or are we not to borrow and stay poor? Mr. Speaker, this is my ninth year in the House of Parliament and every year I would hear from the Opposition this is the worst Budget and this year he has added that the document that is the Budget is full of fraud and it is like a pack of cards. Mr. Speaker, I believe as a government to meet the needs of your people you have to borrow because government would only get its revenue through Taxes, through Grants and through borrowings and so if your taxes are not enough and your Grants are not enough then you must borrow. Are we not to borrow to improve the roads and infrastructure of St Vincent and the Grenadines? Are we not to borrow to improve the health services of St Vincent and the Grenadines? Are we not to borrow to improve the education of our youth in this country? Are we not to borrow to improve the poverty levels of Vincentians? Mr. Speaker, it seems on the other side, Mr. Speaker, on the Opposition side to me it shows poor Leadership, it shows pessimism, it shows helplessness and there is always concern; there is always that cannot happen.Mr. Speaker, are we to have job losses? Are we to have increased in poverty? Is that to be the order of the day? If so, Mr. Speaker, what a man? Mr. Speaker, in the presentation of the Opposition Leader he asked for more57reduction on value addition, because if value addition is further being removed that there can be an impetus for economic growth. I am no economist, Mr. Speaker, but say for argument sake that the VAT were to be removed from vegetables coming into this country; St Vincent and the Grenadines as we know is a high cost producer in the area of agriculture, and so are our farmers in a position to compete with those vegetables coming here from the United States of America, where cost of production is much more cheaper? Are we really going to make the lives much easier of our farmers then? Mr. Speaker, if this happens I can see the supermarkets reaping the benefits in this exercise. Mr. Speaker, the Budgets I have witnessed here since the last 9 years have really shown increased benefits to our civil servants, to our teachers, as a matter of fact, on a yearly basis our civil servants and teachers and policemen have received bonuses.Never before we would have seen increased wages and salaries to our workers; since I am here there has been increase for civil servants at least twice. It took the NDP administration 13 years for its first revision for basic wages in this country. Mr. Speaker, I have seen almost every year I am here that there are new positions, new posts in various Ministries and Departments. Pensioners retirees, public assistance beneficiaries, NIS beneficiaries all are and have been having increased benefits. Mr. Speaker, I believe this is a government for the people and by the people [applause]. Mr. Speaker, the comment was made that the Ministry of Agriculture is a forgotten Ministry and that all the Ministers can do well with much more in their various Ministries. Mr. Speaker, I will be grateful for what the Ministry of Agriculture is given; Mr. Speaker, I take comfort from ... I am no preacher of the word, Mr. Speaker, but I am a reader of the word and I take comfort from 1st Corinthians chapter 12 and as established in verse 14 it says:“For the body is not one member but many; And it goes on in chapter 15.If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand; I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the eye cannot say unto the hand I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.Mr. Speaker, sum it all in verse 23.And those members of the body which we think to be less honourable upon these we bestow abundant honour”.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is a very important Ministry in this country, and though it may appear to have had small sums of money, yes many individuals benefit from this Ministry. Just a few moments ago we broke for lunch, we had to go and replenish our bodies and that is the importance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [applause] Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the basis of this Budget shows one of economic diversification and reduction to rural poverty. This, Mr. Speaker, is the hallmark of the ULP58administration. Mr. Speaker, there are three capital projects within the Estimates that are worth mentioning. Mr. Speaker, $54 million which has been allocated to the Argyle International Airport; in my view this is indeed a most welcoming allocation. Mr. Speaker, the Argyle International Airport is a national project with significant economic potential, this project will not only help travellers, and astute business men it will indeed help farmers and the ordinary man on the street. There will be more jobs and we will therefore see a much improved standard of living.Mr. Speaker, as one travels in and out of ST Vincent and the Grenadines and particularly when we reach to transit points like Barbados and Antigua we hear the cry: “too many bags; too much overweight; long waiting periods;” we sometimes say of the Customer Services and the future in itself of the Tourism Industry...Mr. Speaker, the Argyle International Airport will indeed relieve us of many of these problems and will show that St Vincent and the Grenadines is on that path of that economic takeoff. Mr. Speaker, in 2012 I know many travelers will be happy travelling home and I want to be among that happy bunch. Mr. Speaker, the second allocation, I want to make reference to is that of the $40 million which has been allocated to that new company to bail out British America. Mr. Speaker, I know of many individuals who have invested their sunset years on policies of British American and through no fault of theirs they are wondering at this point and time what will happen to their sunset years, but as a government we understand their needs, we are very compassionate and so Mr. Speaker, $40 million would have been allocated to secure the futures of these elder ones.Mr. Speaker, I believe that the elderly persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines will commend this government for this initiative it has taken. Mr. Speaker, again much was spoken of agriculture and I want to say, Mr. Speaker, $40 million is a lot of money that could have come to the Ministry of Agriculture. Mr. Speaker, I know that the importation Bill on meat and meat products, I know that it is something that the Ministry has been working on. At the moment the Ministry of Agriculture is working in partnership with ECGC (Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies) to help to alleviate these problems. As a matter of fact during lunchtime the Chief Agriculture Officer came to me indicating that the Board of Directors of ECGC has now approved this project where the Ministry working in partnership with ECGC will indeed be working on a poultry project, where ECGC will make available the birds to farmers; birds and feed and the Ministry will continue to offer its technical services [applause].Mr. Speaker, I also want to make reference to the third initiative; third allocation which is $19 million for the security of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Mr. Speaker, while the Ministry is entrenched in the alternative livelihood programme measures must be introduced to give that confidence within that programme. Mr. Speaker, to me it does not make any sense where the Ministry goes out and gets new farmers to be involved in this programme that the security is not in place to assist. Mr. Speaker, just last week a poor old lady came to me, she said, “Minister Daniel, I attended my animals yesterday evening at around 4:30, I could have sold the little bull I have to be comforted for my Christmas but because I wanted it for my daughter who I believed is going to pass the Common Entrance Exams, I left it so I could do what I can” [interjection] [laughter]. Mr. Speaker, the next morning she went back the animal was gone. Mr. Speaker, equally I would have seen in the weekend papers a letter written by a farmer who subsequently called me and told me of his sad plight of losing some 14 animals at one time. Mr. Speaker, we cannot encourage our farmers to get into these kinds of investments only59to be deprived of their investments. And so Mr. Speaker, we have to do something in this regard. Equally, Mr. Speaker, the need exists for the support of our fishermen as we expand our fishing fleet to bring more and more fish to our country; and as our fishermen go out there day by day they need the protection at sea. Equally, Mr. Speaker, there are foreign vessels that continue to plunder or poach in our waters and really plunder our resources. We must be able to patrol our space, otherwise we will not benefit from the resources that are available to us.Mr. Speaker, the forest must be protected and as we are involved in our reaforestation programmes there is need for this kind of benefit for all of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We realised the serious climate change that is affecting our areas and much more of the coastal erosion that continues to affect our shores and so Mr. Speaker, increasingly we have to ensure that the security is given where it is due. Mr. Speaker, I know 2009 we in the Ministry of Agriculture would have with the support of the Attorney General Chamber’s Office would have passed the legislation on the Larceny Act and that at the moment as I understand it that the rural constables are now put in place to assist in this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, I want to urge both Ministries to continue to work with more haste to intensify their work so that our farmers our fishermen, our foresters all will be much more secure. Mr. Speaker, there is one other matter that I feel compelled to speak about and that is it is recognised during the hunting season that some hunters will take the opportunity to go on to farmers holdings; people’s property in the name of hunting and in so doing they will remove or steal livestock, fruits and whatever they can remove, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker the Ministry is about to have discussions with the police on this matter because the Ministry believes that the same should exist where individuals seeking to have amplified music at any junction that they must have the permission of the police. We believe equally, Mr. Speaker, that individuals seeking to hunt must indeed seek permission for such an activity. I believe this in itself will also help in curbing this problem.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry this year will also address the issue of dangerous dogs since over the years so many farmers would have been suffering the damage of dangerous dogs. Mr. Speaker, I now turn to agriculture generally. Mr. Speaker, agriculture continues to be an important economic activity in this country and particularly in the rural communities. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that notwithstanding the many challenges, the sector would have held its own over the period, however, banana continues to be the single most important commodity produced and exported out of St Vincent and the Grenadines and hence this Government has demonstrated its commitment to this vital industry since 2001. Mr. Speaker, in an effort to streamline the industry, the government would have taken certain actions; joint actions with the stakeholders as WINFA, FAIRTRADE, the SVG producers and WINFRESH to have the dissolution of the St Vincent Banana Growers Association which would have cost the Government some $3 million. The Government also established a banana division within the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure there is farmers’ education; training for global gap compliance and for leaf spot and other disease control.Mr. Speaker, the Opposition Leader did indicate that in his view banana is gone but in the Estimates on page 267 there has been the absence of any sort of allocation of the Banana Services Unit and I believe that is what he made reference to. It is not because of the fault of the Ministry of Agriculture; as I understood it, it was the fault of the printing because the Ministry of Agriculture would have in its advance proposals submitted to the60Ministry of Finance the various documents and so it is unfortunate that the information did not go into the document. But Mr. Speaker, the Government is indeed committed to the Banana Industry. Mr. Speaker, there is a sum total of $1.8 million allocated for bananas and banana development in 2010; if you, Mr. Speaker ... there is an amount for $500,000 for banana revitalization; there is an amount for $500,000 for irrigation; there is an amount of $700,000 for Moko control; a sum total of $1.8 million directly for bananas. But though the production of bananas would have shown a marginal decline in 2008, Mr. Speaker, a marginal decline of some 542 tons of bananas when in 2009 the export was 13,187 tons valued at $19.21 million as against 13,285 tons in 2008 valued at $20.4 million. Mr. Speaker, a slight decrease but what I think is important that we should look at too is that there is a strong growing export market within the Caribbean. I think this is what is important to the industry at this time.Mr. Speaker, the Banana Industry continues to be plagued by Moko disease; it continues to be plagued by yellow sigatoka and most recently black sigatoka and I believe it is in the CBE Report of February 4th, 2009 the highlights of 2009 which indicated that Moko and leaf spot diseases stymied the growth of the Banana Industry compared to the performance of that in St Lucia and Dominica and Belize. But Mr. Speaker, despite the various challenges within the industry the investment of this government in bananas over the period really in my view allowed for the stabilization of the industry. St Lucia and North Dominica did not have Moko disease or Belize; we had it so our production went down. Mr. Speaker, in 2007 some 327 acres of bananas were affected and this was at a cost of $3.87 million by the Government; some 553 farmers were affected by this disease. There was a replanting programme that was established in 2008 and the Ministry we brought in from Israel 100,000 Joppa plants, which some 290 acres were replanted. In 2010 Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will work together with WINFARM to bring in another 100,000 plants and together with local varieties of williams; robusta and grammin we will establish another 400 acres and another 500 acres to be rehabilitated.In 2010 the Moko control programme will continue and with respect to black sigatoka disease an estimated 200 acres were affected and verified; the verification of this disease has been done and the disease was declared a notifiable pest. The Ministry of Agriculture is pleased to announce that the black Sigatoka disease is currently under control following strategic and scientific interventions and this year 2010 six aerial cycles will be done together with work by the ground crew to ensure it is further controlled. I want to say equally, Mr. Speaker, that 2010 the industry will have to contend with the implementation of the European Union Banana Regime, banana tariff reduction from Euros $176 per ton to Euros $148 per ton; and as we know, Mr. Speaker, this is an action that will go down to the year 2017 whereby then the tariff is expected to go down to Euros $114 per ton. Mr. Speaker the action of the European Union in this regard no doubt will certainly affect the Banana Industry; however this government will continue to cushion the industry for the benefit of our farmers.Equally in the actions of the European Union they will continue and they have identified to assist where some Euros $200 million will be made available to the ACP countries. The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines through the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries has already submitted its proposals for consideration under this fund. We are hoping that the assistance will be made available soonest. Mr. Speaker, government’s ongoing support to the industry and agriculture has realised two tranches of fertilizer during this year at half price at some $55.00 per sack [knocking of desk]. There is nowhere in the Caribbean that you can61find fertilizer so cheap [knocking of desk]. This government will continue to assist our farmers through the Petro Alimentos programme and will continue to make fertilizer available at half price. This government, Mr. Speaker, will also make $1.75 million available in subsidy for Blue Diothene used in banana production [applause]. Mr. Speaker, I want to say that $1.8 million is also made available to primary agriculture in this country; as more and more lands get out of bananas as we are saying; and as more and more crops other crops are established, Mr. Speaker, some farmers will require some assistance in this regard. Some farmers in their new investment whether it is livestock, whether it is crop establishment they will need some support and this programme will indeed assist such farmers.Mr. Speaker, the previous Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture Lands and Fisheries now Minister of Housing would have charted the way forward and would have intensified the alternative livelihoods programme. Many farmers are showing great interest in this programme and in fact many of these farmers would have received tremendous benefits. This very week some 75 sheep will be distributed to farmers throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines under this programme and later this year we are expecting to import more sheep from Barbados, more goats and cattle to increase the livestock population here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. A sum of $500,000 is also allocated for this programme and farmers can continue to look forward to support in this programme. Livestock generally will be assisted because one of the objectives of the livestock department is to ensure that there is increase in carcass weight for livestock, generally. Mr. Speaker, outside of livestock, Mr. Speaker, is that to come on stream in a matter of weeks is the operationalising of the Farmers Training Institute at Rabacca, at Orange Hill. Mr. Speaker as the competitiveness of the sector increases and intensifies and as new entrants enters into agriculture because just quite recently ‘The Youth in Agriculture’ a programme that is being assisted by IEKA in driving this programme ensuring that there are young people getting involved in agriculture, this Farmers Training Institute will assist farmers, it will assist fishermen, it will assist Ministry of Agriculture personnel to make the transfer of technology much more easier and adaptable.Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries is working at the moment with the Ministry of Education to develop the various modalities that is best suited for the various programmes that will be done [applause]. Mr. Speaker, as I speak the Arrowroot factory at Owia is turning it is harvesting time for the Arrowroot Industry and this year we will harvest some 110 acres of Arrowroot. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is proud to say that of all of the export commodities that arrowroot starch is the only product that is attracting increase in prices and no doubt this will continue for some time. All those who are interested in madungo Mr. Speaker, will certainly have madungo in the near future [interjection] I want to say though, that the challenges in this industry is one that is great particularly in the area of labour. And over the years in the Ministry of Agriculture we have worked desperately to have mechanization instituted, but unfortunately we have been unable to master this initiative to the extent that we would like. Though we would have made some achievements, but there is still much more work to be done; the Ministry will continue to work with its collaborators on this issue to ensure further outcomes.I turn to Fisheries, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Fisheries Sector has contributed and continues to contribute tremendously to the GDP of this country and though there would have been a decline in the last year of its value that is in the year 2007 we would have seen a value of $10.0 million as against $8.7 million in 2007. Mr.62Speaker, the Ministry is continuing with its initiatives to ensure that the Fisheries Sector continues to make significant contribution. Mr. Speaker, as you know the Ministry has been working with the Private Sector to ensure that $6 million is available for an improved programme of the vessels that have been used for harvesting fish. Mr. Speaker, we have seen one of these boats so far coming to this country. Other individuals have gone and been involved in their own investments but, Mr. Speaker, one of the challenges we are now facing is that fishermen are accustomed going to see this morning and coming back this evening. On the large boats, the requirement is to go out to sea for a couple of days, 5, 6, 7 days but the fishermen do not want to take on that challenge but we are working with them it is not an easy thing to be away from your family on the sea for couple of days, I know how challenging it is but we are working with the fishermen to improve in this area. We have in 2008 taken the position where we would have banned live bait out of St Vincent and as a result we would have seen heavier catches of the Demersal for local consumption. I know that the Minister of Health would have taken the position indicating to us that more and more fish which is much healthier to the nation is something that is good for us.Equally, Mr. Speaker, last year the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries opened a new facility in Owia; the Owia Fishing Complex: it has already started its operation though the doors were opened late outside of normal fishing season; they have been doing business and no doubt this year they will do very well. As a matter of fact, we have seen fishermen already docking into that complex for the sale of fish.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister you have 15 minutes remaining.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that the Fisheries Division through the Ministry of Agriculture would have seen repairs in various fish centres across the region and this year we would continue to offer further development within the Fisheries Sector. Mr. Speaker, Forestry. Mr. Speaker, likewise the Forestry Sector continues to make its contribution to this economy but it is important Mr. Speaker that Forestry and forests is being maintained for the good of all of us. There is indeed need for the maintenance of the forestry reserves and so in the Budget there is a sum of $120,000 for further protection, sustainability and sustainable livelihood development in the Forestry Department. The Forestry will continue to work in areas of wildlife management and CV culture and forestry maintenance. Mr. Speaker, during the year the Ministry would have had good support from all its collaborative agencies IICA, FAO, TADI, Taiwanese Mission, Lauders Agro Processing Plant and WINFRESH. Mr. Speaker, IICA would have had its Director General coming to the end of his term last year, Dr. Braithwaite, and so IICA has now seen a new Director General, Dr. Villalobos who is a Mexican and the Minister of Agriculture intends to continue its work with IICA. Then FAO under the Leadership of Dr. Jacques Diouf we will continue our work in this regard, we would have seen tremendous support from FAO when the Ministry had its problems with the diseases identified and we thanked FAO very much for the assistance given.We continue to work with CARDI in our research work and the Taiwanese mission has continued to give human support to the agricultural sector; thanks to the Ambassador and his staff for his continued work with the Ministry. Mr. Speaker, Lauders Agro Processing Plant is indeed a welcome initiative within the Agriculture Sector, but Mr. Speaker, Lauders needs to intensify its work to ensure its full potential and I believe as the63Banana Industry faces more and more challenges other crops which have been expanding and expanding well; and have been contributing greatly to the economy of this country (LAP) needs to position itself to take advantage of these prospects. Mr. Speaker, equally, WINFRESH is also looking at new product lines; WINFRESH is also looking within its own diversification portfolio to bring other products on board other than bananas. We will continue to work with WINFRESH to ensure that the farmers benefit more and more.Mr. Speaker, I now turn to a very important constituency in this country the constituency of North Windward. Mr. Speaker, from 2001, the constituency of North Windward has given me the opportunity to serve that constituency, and I want to thank the constituency very much. I am sure that the constituency has benefitted tremendously under my watch and I look forward to their forward support in the future. Mr. Speaker, when you compare the constituency of North Windward for 8 years under the ULP administration as against 17 years under the NDP administration there is very little comparison.HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: That is true [clapping] very true.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, Fancy the most northerly of the villages, Fancy would have benefitted from the rehabilitation of the main highway. Mr. Speaker, I recall going to the March 14th function in Fancy last year where I addressed that function and I recall counting 117 vehicles at that function. Never ever before would you have seen so many vehicles going to as far as Fancy. As a matter of fact as I speak now there is now a 36-seater vehicle that is now operating out of Fancy. Mr. Speaker, that is indeed progress [knocking on desk] for the people of Fancy [Interjection] Mr. Speaker, we would have seen in Fancy the refurbishing of the Primary School, we would have seen the refurbishing of the clinic; we would have seen the rehabilitation of the playing field and for the first time the building of a hard court. Mr. Speaker, we have just concluded a project in Fancy to improve the water quality; before when the water project was given to Fancy the water was taken in a direct line from the catchment area into the homes of the people; today it is not so; a filtration process would have been done and better quality water has now been given to the people of Fancy [knocking on desk].HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: Better engineering; better engineering.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, the road to Cane Garden in Fancy would have been developed. [Interjections] exactly, there is a Cane Garden. And so, Mr. Speaker, this year the people of Fancy, the people over at Cottage will see the building of that road over into that area. It is the only area in the constituency where homeowners have to take any sort of luggage, any sort of load from point (A) to point (B) to the extent whereby at ... let me say, Mr. speaker, if one load of Rabacca Sand is causing a homeowner $300 to Fancy; at that last spot where it is being thrown if it has to be taken to Cottage there is an extra $200 cost; why? Because it has to be taken on head and so I want to relieve the people of this burden and the people in Cottage will see their road this year 2010. [Applause] there will also be work on the link road from the playing field coming towards the southern side to get out of Fancy. Mr. Speaker, in Owia there would have been the beneficiary of the rehabilitation of the main highway and the people welcome that. There is also the immense upgrade of the Salt Pond tourism site that was done at a cost of some $1.8 million. Mr. Speaker, this is64something that the people in Owia, they are very much proud about it. Mr. Speaker, the Road leading to Salt Pond we have improved on that; the bypass road from the main road going up to the clinic and the police station that also was upgraded. Other community roads including those in Point were upgraded. There was the rehabilitation of the primary school, as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, when we came to government it was the only primary school with an outside toilet on mainland St Vincent and we have done what is best for the people in Owia: give them something that is deserving; we have also ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Five minutes remaining.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: We have also rehabilitated the Police Station in Owia; again the Owia Police Station was like a doghouse; the policemen did not even know where to go even when rain came. We have refurbished the police station, and we have refurbished the Owia Arrowroot Factory, Mr. Speaker, where we have a state of the art factory there at the moment. Mr. Speaker, this year there will be continued upgrading of roads and particularly there would be the surveying of the plots both in Point and Owia to ensure that there is land titling to the people in those areas.Mr. Speaker, in Sandy Bay likewise the people in Sandy Bay would have benefitted from the rehabilitation of the main highway. Mr. Speaker, we have refurbished the clinic; we have refurbished the police station; we have built a new primary school; we have established and build a secondary school; we have established and built a bridge at London; we have reestablished and built London Jack Road; we have reestablished and built Victoria Village Road; we have upgraded community roads, including that at Peter Ballantyne Residence. When we came to government, Mr. Speaker that road was the only road that was not done and it was said that because Peter Ballantyne a past representative of that constituency, because he did not do it in his day it would not have been done under the ULP. Mr. Speaker, I have done it and it is a link road that you can go through Front Street, Back Street and Middle Street in Sandy Bay from one end to the next for ease of in and out of Sandy Bay.Mr. Speaker, we have built a 6ft drain to take the water from the primary school and the secondary school in Sandy Bay; we have established a Learning Resource Center where we would have now been looking at ICT programmes, Mr. Speaker, we have established a community radio station, the Garifuna Radio Station which I am proud to say, Mr. Speaker, that is one of the better radio stations throughout the constituency of North Windward [knocking of desk]. Mr. we have refurbished the London Playing Field and we have now built a hard court at London; we have reestablished the literacy programme in Sandy Bay and in 2010 Mr. Speaker Sandy Bay will see some low and no income houses. Sandy Bay at London will have the Bus Shed and at Orange Hill; Mr. Speaker, Sandy Bay will also have the revival of the Garifuna language where the primary school students can learn this language. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, persons like us who may have studied in Japan when you get up in the morning you would have to greet your brother “Ohayou gozaimasu genki desuka”; and I believe people like Minister of Health who studied in Cuba when he gets up on mornings he would have to say to his brothers, “Buenas Noches” [aughter] people like meHONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: No! No! “Buenos Dias”.65HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: “Buenos Dias” [interjection] “Buenos Dias“ [laughter] people like me “Buenos Dias“ , but I want the people, I want the people, I want our Garifuna brothers to be able to say “Buiti binafi” ; “Buiti binafi” that is what I want our Garifuna people to be saying.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member I have to ask you to wrap up. HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker ... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: And you have one minute to do so.HONOURBALE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, in Overland I am sure the people there will benefit there from the rehabilitation of the Highway; there will be upgrade of roads; there will be the refurbishing of the primary school; we have done some work on the clinic and they will continue to upgrade the roads there, Mr. Speaker and they too will benefit from the no income houses. The playing field will be made available, Mr. Speaker, in Orange Hill again they would have benefited from the Highway; we would have established a home for the Arrowroot Factory and for the Arrowroot Industry Association; we would have established and built a cassava factory; we would have established the site for the Ministry of Transport and Works now BRAGSA; we would have established the site for irrigation; we refurbished the aqueduct and that would have been a project that is being done by National Properties; we will continue to upgrade the village roads; we will continue to upgrade and establish the tourism project. Mr. Speaker, there will be the opening of the Farmers Training Institute and so there will be the upgrade of further community routes. In the area of Langley Park, Mr. Speaker, they would have benefited from the rehabilitation of the Highway; there would have been an upgrade of significant village roads; there would have been land reclamation; there would have been repairs to the primary school and the establishment of the preschool in that school, Mr. Speaker.Mr. Speaker, there would have been the gamut of them all the establishment and the building of the Rabacca Bridge, and so this year, Mr. Speaker, there will be the Rabacca Park that will be on-stream, there is some $450,000 in the Budget that will be established for the Rabacca National Parks; there will be the establishment of the skills training programme for that area and there will be beneficiaries to the no income homes. Likewise Mr. Speaker, I want to sayHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: And you would now Honourable Minister; greet your people and I will have to cut you there.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, in Dickinson and Caratal there are projects included but I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that overhaul the constituency has benefited well and so [interjection]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Unless he is making a point of order. HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: And so this year they will continue to benefit from myrepresentation. Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries for the66support that they would have given during the last year. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is a challenging Ministry and so it is not an easy Ministry really; we have had tremendous challenges and so I want to thank them for their work. The constituency I want to thank them and more so, Mr. Speaker, finally I want to give my support to the Budget that is before this Honourable House but I want to sum up my presentation, Mr. Speaker, for this Budget in the words of this songwriter; it says:-“Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite It breathes in the air; it shines in the light It streams from the hills It descends to the plainsAnd sweetly distils in the dew and the rain”.I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines, I will remind you that you have 45 minutes to make your presentation and you can begin. Why do not one of the technicians please ... is that alright cannot we have one of technicians please make the adjustment if it is alright. We want that raised up.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it seems like...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes we are having [inaudible].DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I was noting that I emptied the gallery [laughs]. Mr. Speaker, I rise to make the contribution to the debate on the 2010 Budget. I was hearing the Honourable Minister of Agriculture made a remark this is just by preliminary and really should not be counted in the time, Mr. Speaker. About the development of Garifuna culture and language I remember a few years ago; well many years ago, several years ago I had a friend in Canada who used to work with an organization called CODE and they did a lot of work on developing the Garifuna Dictionary in Belize at the time; and that was the first introduction that I had through his work to the efforts to revive this language, which during the colonial period and so would have been almost destroyed. So, it is a welcome development and one that I hope succeeds, Mr. Speaker [interjection]. What? Well, I have a copy of the dictionary but [laughs] I could lend it to you. Mr. Speaker, what a beautiful day it is today and yesterday; the Member for the Southern Grenadines said it right; he said, “Alleluia” because that is how I felt yesterday, Mr. Speaker, when I took the ferry to go down to Bequia and as I was walking towards the wharf a taxi driver shouted out to me; he said, “Friday the $1.00 tax gone”. And I said yes I think so but when I got to the gate, Mr. Speaker, and I saw the Officer sitting there and he did not pay me any mind at all and I walked through and I went to the ferry, I said it felt like the gates of prison were thrown opened and then I was walking [laughs] freely. If we had not opposed it might have been $20.00 by now; but Mr. Speaker, it is a very, very significant development. I do not think Members on the opposite side understood the importance for it.67The Prime Minister said that he was visited by an old lady who persuaded him to move the tax or the user fee as he calls it, but Mr. Speaker, all that did whether so or not; all that did was to shorten the period a little bit because we were going to remove it anyway [knocking on the desk] and we said that all along. But all that it did, Mr. Speaker, is to reduce the time. Well, in a sense we got a break or the people who were using it got a break and that depends ... the amount of break we get depends I suppose on when the election is called. So, we might have gotten 3 months break it might be 6 months break; 1yr and 3 months; all it is, Mr. Speaker, is to do what was going to be done pretty soon anyway and to think, Mr. Speaker that when this tax was introduced at the wharf we told the Manager at the port ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If the Honourable Member will give way. Mr. Speaker, only the Central Government in this country can impose taxes; the Port Authority under the St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority Act imposed a user fee which is an entirely different matter.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: In that case Sir could you refrain from using the word that you use. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN DOUGLAS: [Laughs] Mr. Speaker. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You think there is a difference? Please refrain from using the word.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, we are dealing here with semantics the people did not have a choice as to whether they paid it or not and the effect is the same. The point of the matter is this: the Honourable Member of the Southern Grenadines and myself we were called into a meeting with the Managers of the Port Authority and we told them that this was a bad idea; it was not the way to go about developing the Port Terminal and we told them that they should not do it because the people would resist it and they would oppose it.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I will raise a Point of Order. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Well raise a Point of Order. DR. THE HONOURBALE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, my Honourable friend HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You raised a Point of Order?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: is misleading the public and in fact misleading this Honourable House and speaking a falsehood. Never was a user fee imposed on the people of the Grenadines; a user fee was imposed for the use of the facility and it happens that more persons from the mainland St Vincent and the Grenadines paid that user fee than persons from the Grenadines; more travellers. So, I want ... it was not a fee which was discriminatory. And Mr. Speaker, my Honourable friend knows it because he sought to bring a constitutional motion that it was discriminatory and the motion did not get off the ground. It has not yet seen the light of day and that is the reality let them explain. I was giving them a chance, Mr. Speaker, to have it68challenged in the court; to use the court, for two years they have not done anything until the old lady came by me.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, I would want to agree that it was not just imposed on the people of the Grenadines maybe as you said the majority of the people on the Grenadines paid because of the fact of their location. I have paid that fee although I was told at one time by somebody that I shouldn’t but I have paid that fee twice I remember since that facility was established and I am not from the Grenadines, I was going to the Grenadines. Thank you.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I do not recall saying it was imposed on the people of the Grenadines, I said that it would be opposed by the people of the Grenadines. If I said that, Mr. Speaker, fine what I am saying to you, I am saying that the fee when it was imposed we told the people at the Port Authority that it was wrong that the people of the Grenadines would oppose it and they did. And to say that the people travelling from the mainland paid the tax and more people paid it than people from the Grenadines does not exactly capture the point; because as the Honourable, Mr. Speaker, said he paid it twice ask the people who travel from the Grenadines how many times they paid it [interjection]. No you do not live down there, precisely, so the disproportionate effect that it had on the people in the Grenadines is what matters, not the fact that everybody paid it; if you paid it once in your life time that does not count people coming from the Grenadines have to pay it when they are going to the doctor; they have to pay it when they come for their Christmas shopping; they have to pay it when they come to Customs to clear their barrels; they have to pay it when they come to see their family in Questelles and they do it repeatedly, so, do not tell me that this is somehow an imposition on the whole country the people in the Grenadines felt it and that is why they rebelled against; and that is why they have never submitted to it.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If my Honourable friend would give way. If he would not I will raise a point of order.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Raise the point of order, Mr. Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Well, you can sit down. Mr. Speaker, my Honourable friend again is speaking a falsehood on this question. He said that it was an imposition: an imposition is an imposed. It is a user fee, it is not a tax: it is not an imposition; it is a user fee that is why you could not get off the ground with your constitutional motion call it what it is.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister could you use the word that ... DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Which word would you like me to use Mr. Speaker? HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Not what I like you to use; what it should be, it is said to be a user fee.69DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN: Mr. Speaker, a $1.00 was charged for persons who were travelling to the Grenadines; and the people who travelled had no choice they had to pay it and a lot of people from the Grenadines who used that facility frequently paid a lot of money coming through there. Yes, and the people use the roads up Kingstown and the Leeward bus terminal and the junction at Sion Hill and they do not pay a $1.00 right. But the point is this, Mr. Speaker, the people know what it was and that was abundantly clear in the way in which they opposed it and they will never forgive this administration for having done so and they would not forgive this Prime Minister either for having done so or for having permitted it to be done. You will be known as the Prime Minister who imposed this unconscionable fee on the people. The fee was imposed by law, Mr. Speaker, the law was passed on a weekend. It was imposed you had a choice I suppose you could fly to Bequia if you wanted to but if you wanted to take the ferry you had no choice you had to pay. And some of the people who worked at the Port subjected the people to indignity people who used that facility: embarrassment of people local and foreign; young and the old who were not old enough to be exempted.And when the people protested at the wharf that was the time when the seriousness of the matter should have been brought home to the government; and then they should have removed it but instead no. At the time the Honourable Minister, the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister was acting and they sent the police up at the wharf with truncheons and riot gear to suppress the people who were protesting against it. Myself, I was thrown on the ground and manhandled by the police officer; an old woman was trampled and knocked to the ground and I am sure she is not the same person who gave the Prime Minister advice on the matter. So, those, Mr. Speaker, those are facts and the opposition that the people raised was principled and the taking off of the $1.00 now, Mr. Speaker does not correct the wrong that was committed in my opinion.Mr. Speaker, the collection of the fee, I do not even think it was cost effective; so why was it there? Mr. Speaker, there are so many incidents that was so unnecessary over the past years; there was so much hurt that was caused to people and when I hear members of this Honourable House on the other side trivialize it to say that it was only a $1.00 it was never about the money never; what it was about it was the feeling of unfairness that one set of people you bring your children here to go to the doctor and when you go back home you have to pay a $1.00 on top of what you had to pay the ferry and then the bus when you get to the wharf in Bequia on Union Island that is Mr. Speaker [interjection] the adults were not.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I did not say that: I said you bring your children to Kingstown and when you go back you have to pay the $1.00 fee.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: The children were exempted; the elderly were exempted from the user fee.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Everybody should have been exempted. So, Mr. Speaker, we are a unitary state, we will be divided by water but we are one people and that is what the people of the Grenadines who felt disproportionately affected by this measure felt and was trying to communicate over the time when this measure was in place and it was not taken seriously, Mr. Speaker. Every Budget I asked for it to be removed, the Member for the Southern Grenadines asked for it to be removed in this Honourable House,70radio programmes, political platforms but no; the demands of the people were ignored and the Prime Minister would have us believe that instead he listened to a kindly old lady who bend his ear in one direction. Well, maybe the voices that expressed their opinion so loudly during the Referendum helped to bend his ear in that direction as well because that was a factor in the way in which the people of the Grenadines voted and have no mistake about it.But Mr. Speaker, the matter continues because you have going on still at the wharf unwarranted searches of people, school children, people doing their shopping and they have to present their bags to be searched without any suspicion of any wrong doing. Why should this continue, it is just citizens going about their normal business in the country they are going home why you have to search their bags? You do not search them in Mayreau, Union Island, Bequia or Canouan so where is the security concern? You do not search them in Little Tokyo; even the Member for the Southern Grenadines was subjected to the indignity of a search; imagine that. When I complained I saw a fellow citizen being searched at the wharf and he was getting into trouble with the officer because he was losing his cool. All he wanted to do was to get on the Mustique Ferry to go to Mustique and he had four bags; he surrendered two he wanted the other one he said, “man I am trying to catch the boat” and when I asked why he was searching the man’s bags because I saw he was going to get into trouble and I tried to calm him down, the officer told me, I should go and get an injunction to stop them from doing it because those are the instructions. I mean what is going on up at the port? I had a relative who lives out in the country she had not been to Bequia in several years; she met me on the boat and she said she did not know what to do when she approached the port, she did not know where to go, and the place looked so foreign is all of this necessary? Just this morning I came up on the ferry, there is no taxi on the wharf; a visitor came off with her bag she had to pull it all the way out to the end of the wharf to catch a taxi. I asked the driver, why this is. He said they were told the taxis cannot go on the wharf that you have to come off in order to catch a taxi, so you have to bring your bags with you.HONOURABLE JULIAN FRANCIS: Taxi goes by the plane?DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: The plane is going to a foreign ... if you do not know the difference ... Honourable Senator, you know the difference; you know the difference [interjection] ISPS, what is the (I) in ISP stands for? It stands for International, we are going from St Vincent to St Vincent [interjections] no I obey the law, I do not kick down cones when you have demonstrations I obey the law.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, if my Honourable friend would give way because it is an issue which I believe there has been some misunderstanding on. The ISPS Code relates not only to the ports on mainland St Vincent, the ports of entry on the other islands are also covered by the ISPS Code. Now, I myself have difficulty with that but Mr. Speaker, those were and those are the international regulations. If you do not comply with the ISPS Code ships will not come to the country if you do not get a clearance for all your ports; that is the problem someone may say, well they are more stringent with you here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and with Trinidad and Tobago and some other country than they are with the port in Boston; that may well be so but that is the judgement which they will make and we do not have the volumes to say, well they must come as a matter of economic necessity and that is the problem; that is all which arose from the71terrorist assault in the United States and subsequent terrorist attempts. This is an unfortunate spin-off and if I may say this Mr. Speaker, it cost us a tremendous amount of money.Some of the searches which my friend considers to be unwarranted these are matters which the police in exercising their own security make their judgement, sometimes they may make a wrong judgement and I cannot support a wrong judgement; but there are a series of security issues which are involved. I myself chafe them but please let us not see this as some imposition by a government which is “uncaring” or anything of the sort, no. Everybody has to follow these things, Ministers have been turned back from the port without their security clearance and rightly so, and so on and so forth. And when I am going up I have to get my clearance or get a temporary one if I do not have my own on me and so on and so forth; please.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have made my point on this issue what I would say however, is that the practices, in conclusion, at the port they are actions are taken it seems at a whim, one Monday there is one thing and another Monday there is something else and what I understood from the taxi driver is that one driver offended an officer and he decided that everybody cannot come on the wharf [interjection]. Mr. Speaker, he cannot correct me, I am telling you what I heard so I cannot be wrong.HONOURABLE GLEN BEACHE: Sorry, point of clarification. Mr. Speaker, what took place up at the port that he is speaking of it was not a taxi driver who offended an officer. It was two taxi drivers that got into a fight that were members of the Taxi Drivers Association and the port security had to make certain things known to them until they cleared up the whole situation, so let us not put this on the security to say a taxi driver might have just said something to a security officer and it [inaudible] or it is anything like that. It is something that took place between two taxi drivers.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister for the clarification but it really does not improve the situation, in fact to me it makes the situation worse. The point is the management at the port needs to be improved [interjection] Oh! We will do it. Mr. Speaker, the way in which it is managed that is what the problem is. Mr. Speaker, we have raised the alarm about the Debt the National Debt over and over again in this Honourable House and I think this nation is grateful to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition for the wonderful presentation that he made on Tuesday morning in explaining the seriousness of the condition that we find ourselves in at this point. I would say no more on that, Mr. Speaker, except to point out that the Debt in the 17 years under the NDP administration grew at a rate of approximately $20 million a year on average; under this administration in the 9 years it has approached $100 million; $80 million per an annum. The Debt has increased from $569 million [interjection] I will take your figure, $637 to now approaching $1.2 billion as the Honourable Minister of Agriculture said; $1.19 yes, you said it. I am just repeating what you said that was for September. Mr. Speaker, and that is with the forgiveness of the Ottley Hall Debt but I am also fascinated you know, to see what is the position with respect to Ottley Hall because the NDP paid a high price for that facility politically and Sir James has always said that that facility will prove its worth to this country and I know Mr. Speaker, because I deal with a lot of the boat holders in Bequia and they tell you there is no better facility in the entire Caribbean for fixing their boats. [Interjection] I am telling you what they told me how you72can say that is not true. Yes that is what they told me and they would know, Mr. Speaker, because they operate boats. [Interjection] if you want to argue, argue with them that is a fact.Mr. Speaker, what was happening with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries? I stood here today and I listened to the Minister of Agriculture the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and there is a sense of resignation in his presentation. I do not have time to deal with all of the issues, Mr. Speaker, but I want to point out that when this administration campaigned in 2001 you got the impression that they were going to rescue bananas that Arnhim Eustace, Sir James and Alan Cruickshank were the ruining of bananas is one thing, Mr. Speaker, to give bad news. Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Arnhim Eustace, the very Honourable Arnhim Eustace, Mr. Speaker, the impression you got was that they had a solution now the tale of bananas in this country is a tale of woe. The Honourable Minister says that we are expecting the reduction in tariffs this year and I think he said in 2013 down to Euros $114 per ton thereabout 2017, and then in the understatement of the day he said it would have an effect on the Banana Industry and Mr. Speaker, that is like saying if you are hit by a truck it will have an effect on your health. Well it is only the Honourable Minister of Telecommunication would be hit by a slow moving truck; nobody else would be allow themselves to be hit by a slow moving truck, Mr. Speaker.Mr. Speaker, in his budget the Honourable Prime Minister mentioned about food security, there are three issues I want to discuss under agriculture; one was the point about banana.The Honourable Prime Minister talked about food security and that is a critical issue aside from export agriculture, you know we get kind of caught up in that but if you go around the country, Mr. Speaker, I know certainly in the Grenadines people are not planting and growing anything anymore. There is no support whatsoever [interjection, Mr. Speaker, they have plum trees that over the years you cannot eat the plums because there is mealy bug or one other infestation. These are things, Mr. Speaker, we need to be there to support ordinary subsistence farming as well, let people continue; grow peas, last Christmas I searched all over Kingstown I could not find some peas, pigeon peas and in [knocking of gavel on desk] Bequia we used to be growing so much pigeon peas all over the place.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: These are things, Mr. SpeakerHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members [inaudible]; allow him to make his presentation.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: that the Ministry has the power to deal with and can do but is doing precious little; it is just sort of caught in the glare of the oncoming truck that is called the lower tariff for bananas. Mr. Speaker, I want to also address the issue of the Fisheries. On this issue, Mr. Speaker, this administration campaigned in 2001, they took videos of the Fishery Centre in Bequia to show the neglect of the NDP and how we are on the blacklist and we cannot export fish to the European Union and they were going to fix it. Nine years, Mr. Speaker, the building has not been renovated but it was renovated for a purpose. They developed it for a purpose so we could meet the requirements of the export market. If I am wrong correct me but I did not hear the Minister say ... last year in his Budget Address the Prime Minister said that the EU Inspectors were coming, they will do their inspections and that he expected within six months we would be able73to export produce to the EU markets particularly Guadeloupe and Martinique; none of that is happening. Well, if they did come we obviously did not pass the inspection. Well, the point is that is that we are still in the same situation after so many years. Mr. Speaker, this has been a dismal failure a mess, there are people now who are trying to export lobster and conch to other markets like St Lucia and Barbados and you have to pay for the Health Inspector to come down to Bequia to inspect your fish; the passage and lunch this is ridiculous that is part of the process?How can we say, you said it in your presentation it is in your Budget that you are promoting Fisheries Sector; the ECCB in its report for 2008 said that the Fisheries subsector declined by 20% the value added in St Vincent and the Grenadines; these are things, Mr. Speaker, that should cause alarm do not get defensive about it talk to the fishermen and find out what it is they need and help them. As the Minister of Agriculture I never saw you down at the Ramp talking with the fishermen [interjection] do not worry you are going to clarify it later when I ask you questions in parliament. Mr. Speaker, to be honest the Honourable Minister of Agriculture should resign his post because he has failed miserably in it both in the crops and in the Fisheries subsector; he has; he has failed the fishermen throughout this country; failed agriculture in the country. We cannot do business as usual, Mr. Speaker, [inaudible] everything is a joke it is all appearances while we laugh and joke in this Honourable House you have people who cannot pay to send their children to school because they rely on the lobster catch; they rely on fisheries, Mr. Speaker, and we have to treat it urgently. When people selling lobster and conch in Paget Farm I go there the place joyful it is booming, they buy me a drink. You know those were the good old days; now everybody is struggling to find where they are going to get the next dollar [inaudible].Mr. Speaker, this is why it is too incomprehensible as well that we have to diversify away from bananas or as you say around bananas; and yet we could not spend the money that the European Union gave us to diversify that $3 million had to be given back. I mean, if the Minister was a Minister in Japan he would have resigned out of a matter of honour not just from the ministerial post maybe from the government entirely because he has failed so badly, and it affects people livelihood because agriculture and fisheries are very important as money earners even if they are not so important anymore in the export sector. If you cannot do the job let somebody else do it [interjection] you still blaming NDP after nine years, I mean come on; you still blaming NDP after nine years? Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear that progress is made on the Black Sigatoka and hopefully similar progress would be made in the other areas. The initiative to improve the size of the fishing vessels and to allow the fishermen to go out longer; I support that. I have spoken to the fishermen myself at Paget Farm because going out in the morning at 5 o’clock and coming back at 10:00 and 11:00 o’clock with 100 lbs of fish it is adequate but we could do better but more effort has to be made in that direction. Mr. Speaker...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member you have 10 minutes to conclude. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: [Inaudible] HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No! No!DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I bet you spend more time in it than I did. 74HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute I will correct the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, he said that he had too many interruptions that gives the impression that his time is not being taken into consideration. Each time there is an interruption and somebody stands up I stop the watch and when he starts to debate I restart it. Hello [interjection] well that is a different story [interjection] Well, you see the thing about it we have to be very honest with ourselves because the interruption do not always come from the government side; it comes from the other side sometimes and what is good for the goose is also good for the [interruption] because you were quiet in this debate it does not necessarily mean there was no interruption from over there you know; alright Sir. [Interjection] Why! Why! Well, I will deal with that in a minute; I will deal with that I do agree with you on that; I do agree with you on that yes. Yes, Honourable Member ... before that; before that. Alright I have the Rule right in front of me here; it has to deal with pg. 51 of Order 35:-“No member shall interrupt another member except:- a. by rising to a point of order, whereupon the Member speaking shall resume his seat and the Member interrupting shall simply direct attention to the point which he desires to bring to notice and submit it to the Speaker or Chairman or b. to elucidate some matter raised by that Member, in the course of his speech”. And there is also that part which says:-“A Member should be heard in silence”.But we know all things are not equal but I would ask that Members please temper themselves, and control your level of interruption. We know that there are times that you are meant to retort or do something of that nature but let the Member be heard in silence.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, especially since I accorded the Honourable Members the same courtesy.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Right Sir [inaudible]; go ahead.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, on the matter of tourism I had wished that the Honourable Minister of Tourism would have spoken before so I could have responded; but I guess I would have to do that outside of this Honourable Chamber. Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that tourism industry is facing challenging times and this is not just in St. Vincent, elsewhere as well. But there are some things that need to be done that really do not seem to be getting the attention that is required. Many times I have complained, it might seem like a small matter but I have to raise it here again because it was raised with me repeatedly over the past two or three weeks that we have, Mr. Speaker ... the biggest problem we have is with the stay over visitors that is down again this year. The Minister projecting an increase in cruise ship arrivals and yachting possibly but the stay overs are down again in 2009 as it was 10% in 2008, and as you know this is Mr. Speaker, where the real75value added is because if people come and they stay in your facility they spend more money and they eat and so on and so forth and that is an area that we wish to encourage. It is also the sector that employs the most people because they stay in hotels, guest houses, in villas and in private homes, but there are people, Mr. Speaker, we have a niche market similar to Florida and that you have a lot of retirees who come down here in the winter; they come to Bequia over and over again, some have been coming here for the past 30 years and Mr. Speaker, a few years ago about four years or so ago I had to represent a visitor from New York who had gotten himself into a problem with an Immigration Officer because he went to renew or to extend his stay by five days on a Sunday got into a problem and somehow wound up being charged with [pause] I cannot remember the charges assaulting the officer or something to that effect; eventually the matter was dismissed in the court.I thought that was just an outrageous thing and it could not happen again. Sunday, a couple of weeks, a week or a week and a half ago another person who I have known came back and he was complaining about exactly the same thing had happened to him and it is no spite or malice on the part of the officers; but they need to understand that first of all these are people who are coming here to spend money; they come year after year; these people have been coming here for 20 years. Why is it when you have people who coming ... they come for 5 months and you cannot just clear them or stamp them for the whole 5 months? If you are going to Canada it is 6 months they give you. Why we have to give you 1 month? And the people come for 5 weeks and they have to go back and get an extension and once more they have to carry somebody to stand security for them to say that if they do not leave they will ensure that they get on the plane and leave. I mean how ridiculous can this get, we have to do something about this. It is not that the people are not going to come but they feel as though we do not really appreciate them being here, and we put all these obstacles in their way; they have to surrender their passport. You are asking somebody who is 85 years old to surrender his passport and say come back ... I see the Honourable Minister of Health [interjection] yes, when they go for the extension they say leave your documents and come back and we will call you when it is ready [interjections]. No, I mean these are silly things we talk about this over and over and nothing has been done, you know. I mean when you have a person who has been coming here for 25 years they show up at the Airport the people there know them, “Welcome Mr. Browne how long you are staying with us for”. “I am here for 4 months”. “Thank you; glad to see you here again” bam.These people rent houses they spend a lot of money, they hire gardeners; they hire people in their houses and so on. This is an important subsector and I think the Honourable Minister if he comes down to the Music Fest I think he should take the opportunity to meet some of these people and to talk to them and to find out what their grouses are and to show ... well to do his own research and to show some appreciation for their continued support and their love for our country.Tourism sites have been developed; I am happy to see that but again I want to put on the agenda ... there is a tourism site in Bequia we call it Point Hill. It is called Fort Hamilton I suppose on the brochures: historic site, the road to get there now is deteriorated to the point where it is really, really very, very embarrassing for taxi drivers to take people there. I see that over $3 million was put in the Estimates to improve access roads; this was not one of them that was mentioned but it is one that should be included in the list because it has gotten to the point where it needs urgent attention. It is a standard stop on the drive around the island by taxi drivers. Mr. Speaker, there are so many things.76I want to talk about Airport Development but the Honourable Leader of the Opposition discussed elements of that but as you know the primary concern we have with the development of the International Airport, Mr. Speaker is the financing of the Airport and Senator Leacock; the Honourable Senator Leacock in his presentation during the debates on the Estimates made that critical point and I do not care, Mr. Speaker, how brilliant a Minister of Finance you are we in St Vincent and the Grenadines cannot finance a project of that magnitude from our own resources or purely on borrowing. You must have Grant financing, you must; you cannot, how are you going to repay it? [Interjection] well we do not see much of it; the estimate for the construction of the Airport is five hundred and eighty something million dollars by your estimate: by the government’s estimate.We did our own study, Mr. Speaker and the figure that we got from a reputable engineer and somebody who has been involved in the project over the years; who was involved in the original study that was done by MM and M that is Mr. Stewart, his figure is $1.2 billion to construct that facility. We are having difficulty now just servicing the debt that was incurred at First Caribbean and the National Insurance Scheme because the land sales have not kept up with expectations. We will not, Mr. Speaker, be able to finance a project of that magnitude based on our own resources or even 50% of it on borrowed fund. How are we going to service a debt of $250 million and the disturbing thing that the Leader of the Opposition pointed out is that some of the borrowing is at commercial rate 71⁄2% and not just in this project but in other projects as well with shorter amortization periods, Mr. Speaker, and this creates the difficulty that we are having now the squeeze on public finances and making it very difficult for the government to maneuver. [Interjection]Well, Mr. Prime Minister, you would have your own opinion but we had over the years cautioned about this and we were talked about as timid ‘naysayers’; well the chickens are coming home to roost. What I have said, Mr. Speaker is on the record anybody can read it.The Prime Minister in his Budget address said that he had ... work was done to improve J.F. Mitchell Airport that the lighting was improved well I can tell you that there is no night landing because the approach lights for the Airport still do not work, the lights on the strip themselves many of them still do not come on and the generator has a mind of its own, nobody is there looking after ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, if my Honourable friend would give way on the subject. The CCA contractors are doing this particular job. I was advised that the installations were made and then there was a shortage caused by lightning and also on the main side of the Airport itself by a “bushfire”. The technical people I have been advised are on the ground seeking to sort out the technical difficulties but the monies have been allocated and it actively has been done; in fact yesterday in the presence of Mr. Mossted, Mr. Stewart and Ms. Mitchell they came to me on a particular issue and I got Mr. Pompey the Permanent Secretary to give Mr. Mossted to whom this is a matter of some interest a personal briefing on the issue and these are the facts.77DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Well, I do hope, Mr. Speaker, that it is addressed and is addressed with some permanence because it is important for the operators there not just in Bequia but also for those in Mustique because if people come from Barbados they get to Bequia they can get to Mustique more easily than if you have to get them from Barbados in the evening because Mustique does not have night landing.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, you have about 3 minutes to greet your constituency.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Three and a half minutes.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Three and a half minutes to greet your constituency.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: It is my Honourable friend, I pleaded on her behalf and she is giving advice ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh! Oh!DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a few things, well it is to reiterate them in my constituency because I heard Honourable Members they have the ear of the Minister of Finance so they can say it in cabinet but I suppose they say it in this chamber because it pleases the ear of their constituents. I have to make my plea here publicly, Mr. Speaker, I have asked for the issues relating to the roads to be addressed; the Honourable Minister of Transport has failed me on every count with respect to that over the past two years. The issue with respect to the Clyde Tannis Playing Field I have asked about that the roof is really in a deplorable state now, it flaps in the wind, the Minister of Sport has promised me that he would fix it he too has failed on that. But I will tell you this we too will do a survey of all the playing fields of this country, I do not mean after the elections, now because I believe it is something that really needs to be done. It is the thing that is on everybody all the young people, you are interested in youth and the development of youth this is one area that they want to see it done and we will do that and develop a plan for the use and development of playing fields throughout this country. And that is something, Mr. Speaker, I believe that the youths of this country deserve and what they will get from an NDP administration.Mr. Speaker, I complained about the walkway along Belmont which was damaged by hurricane Omar; good gracious we must have some funds for hurricane damage; this is along the Belmont walkway from Gingerbread down to what is Sunny Caribe that needs urgent attention and it should get some attention from the Central Government if not from NEMO. Mr. Speaker, you always talking about what you are going to cut, you know, any government it does not matter what time it is there is never enough money for a government you always have to make choices; you always have to make choices but when you want to impose flat taxes on people – user fees: user fees are essentially flat taxes;HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member you [inaudible]78DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: and that is something, Mr. Speaker, that we do not go for in this administration, because it hurts poor people more than it hurts people who are in an affluent position.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You are beginning your debate again, Honourable Member. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: To wrap up, Mr. Speaker ... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, please, please DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I had asked ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for North Leeward, please... DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I have asked in the past ... HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Please.DR. THE HONOURBALE GODWIN FRIDAY: and this is a moment of redemption for the Minister of Agriculture to provide more ramp space at the Fisheries Complex in Bequia. The fellas they have filled in the area and they have tried to create some space to put their boats there. This is the tools of their trade they cannot carry it home with them; they cannot leave it out in the harbour; they have to pull it up for security; they leave their engines there assist them go down and show some interest in it ...HONOURABLE MR SPEAKER: Wrap up.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker;HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Wrap up.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: and I have been asking for this for the past 7 or 8 years and nothing have been done. [Interjection] Yes the number but you did not provide the space.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Kindly wrap up.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: You provided fewer lockers. Mr. Speaker, finally I think the NIS should do a bit more to try and cover the fishermen and other self-employed persons and we have the Music Fest this weekend in Bequia. Mr. Speaker, ask the authorities to do something to clean up the place: Port Elizabeth; it really needs some urgent attention and finally I invite all the Honourable Members of this House to come down and participate in the Music Fest; you do not have to pay the $1.00 at the wharf anymore; thank you Mr. Speaker [knocking of the desk].79HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I recognise the Honourable Minister of Ed ... I know you are not, you are just teasing [laughs] you are a teaser. Honourable Member, I recognised you but the Honourable Deputy Speaker had an emergency he had to leave and I will need just 5 minutes imposing twelve seconds. So, we just suspend for 5 minutes: 5 minutes.House suspended at 6.04 p.m. House resumed at 6.08 p.m.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Education, I will give you the single in a while; let me just make some adjustments here. Honourable Minister of Education, you are not; he is not. Well, I recognised him after the break [laughs]. Yes Honourable Minister.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to give wholehearted support to Budget of 2010 under the theme Economic and Financial Stabilisation, Social Cohesion and Fiscal Consolidation at a Time of Global Recession and Uneven Recovery. Mr. Speaker, a little over a year ago Honourable Members gathered into this House to give support to the 2009 Budget; it was not an easy year for us in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and we must all give thanks to Almighty God. I know that Haiti they would have had a Budget too and I say that to say that there are usually unforeseen circumstances over which we have no control but for 2009 God has been very good and we give him praise because although the budgetary proposals presented they were torn apart by Members on the Opposition side; yet we were able to achieve a certain level of success with most of our projects. Mr. Speaker, for those people in our country listening and who do not really understand what is happening in this Honourable House, I wish to say that I have been part of the process. I wish to let them know how things have been done.In each of our Ministries the Permanent Secretaries and their Staff we have looked within to see how we could continue programmes that we had started and to see where new ones could be started. Mr. Speaker, as we gather from time to time we asked God’s mercy and direction in whatever we do; we presented figures for programmes and if you could not defend what you presented then you did not get it; you had to give just reasons why you had to say what you asked for. So, Mr. Speaker, I want at this time to congratulate the Budget Director and the staff because these figures were shaped and reshaped before they were put on paper for our Honourable Prime Minister to present. After they would have given their advice our Prime Minister whom God has blessed in a very special way; a specially gifted person, I know he would have given us words of advice and even to say to us remember that times are difficult; remember do not forget we have to get the little things right; we have to be prudent in what we do; we have to cut back where we have to cut back and so we listened because we too we know that times are hard globally. I must congratulate our Honourable Prime Minister and those persons who would have worked night and day to make sure that they have budgetary proposals to present. [Knocking on desk]Mr. Speaker, I want to quote from the good book and it is from Proverbs 22 and 29:-80“Sees though a man diligent in his business he shall stand before Kings; he shall not stand before mean men”.The Budget, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members and those listening this evening, is that amount of money needed or available for running our country this is what we are talking about. What sort of Budget is it? What can we say? Truthfully and honestly, I can say it is the brain child of the officials in the various Ministries, the persons who have had wonderful training; persons who have been blessed with mathematical skills and otherwise. It is this government’s positive response to meet the challenges of our time. We were elected to govern and so we cannot govern without the finances but we must know where those finances are to be spent. Mr. Speaker, it is the government’s many-faceted approach to further develop and enhance the lives of our people. People are at the center of our development. Mr. Speaker, this Budget is an excellent Budget that caters for citizens from the cradle to the grave. Mr. Speaker, it is the Budget that takes into consideration the needs of the family; of the youths and the elderly. I can truthfully say that in our Prime Minister’s presentation on page 2 of his address he remembers that in 2009 there have been economic challenges specific to our region which have caused immediate difficulties to the OECS sub-region including St Vincent and the Grenadines but then how did we manage and he says it on page 3; he says:-“Our success in St Vincent and the Grenadines in maintaining economic stability and even recording progress in some areas has been due to a large extent to enhance sub-regional economic coordination and management; sensible public policies; the creativity and good sense of our people including the private sector; the external support and solidarity from our Diaspora, friends and allies overseas, and from the developmental financial institutions; and careful economic management”.Mr. Speaker, on page 6 he has some advice and he says: -“The sensible approach is this: when the international economic financial situation is bad it makes very little sense to wait helplessly until the recovery cycle comes around. What you do is to prepare yourself soundly and creatively, to take advantage of the return of the boom cycle when it arrives”.Mr. Speaker, I move on further into his address and I see on page 15 concerns in Agriculture and the Fisheries. Mr. Speaker, agriculture is man’s oldest form of civilization and we know that quite recently pestilence attacked our crops many of our farmers lost great livelihood from the presence of the Moko disease; many acres of land now lie fallow because we had to do the eradication of Moko; the leaf spot disease and the Black and Yellow Sigatoka; and it is very good this afternoon to hear the Minister saying that the Black Sigatoka is under control and we have to now grapple with getting rid of the Yellow Sigatoka. Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to treat the farms for Moko for leaf spots and the Yellow Sigatoka, as well as there might be a bit of the black; so in this regard we have to try to struggle because we must have food for us to eat.81In the Ministry of Agriculture I can remember that we looked at how we must go forward in times to come. Mr. Speaker, the truth is that lands many acres of lands some schools would have had more around them than others; many people squatted on these lands and I mentioned the Carapan Secondary School, Mr. Speaker, if some people are frying fish in their kitchens at Carapan the smell fills the classroom that’s how close some of the houses are and I know in times gone by that we were able to do agriculture in the school. You could have asked a child what is the depth of the hole to plant a banana sucker; now things have changed and we do not have as much land as we used to have. We also noted that some of our young people were having double awards in agriculture science but they could not do the on farm practices because there was no land on which they must work, and so in the Ministry of Agriculture and as we went to courses overseas we noticed that the problems were not only with us but with our neighbours; and we thought of getting the land back; giving land to the landless and so we also thought of an agriculture institute with land around it whereby we can have our young people doing their on farm practices, and I think that that is something I which I know is going to make a dent in our economy a little later on as we begin to do more serious farming.We have the informal settlers in the hills and Mr. Speaker, there was a programme that was crafted called ‘Alternative Methods of Livelihood’ and there were certain crops that were identified some of them they are going to take some years to mature but we are sure that we will see some fruits. We proceeded to get the youth involved: youth in agriculture. I can remember organising a bus for them to go and visit farms and see what is happening; when I see I believe. In our country we have a goodly percentage of women in agriculture and we are trying our very best; we did some reforestation so that we could have the water coming into our homes. We planted the coconuts and with those people who do not have much land we ask them to use the borders of their land today I feel happy, as I see people selling their green coconuts alongside the road because they grow very quickly. Mr. Speaker we have to continue in our agriculture: and this Budget is speaking to this.If I go on and I did not say a word of congratulations to the Minister of Tourism it would really be remiss of me. Minister of Tourism you have done very, very well in developing our tourism sites [applause]. We are moving from a goods based economy to a service based economy whatever sites were not properly done and were not properly put in place we have done that, the work continues and money is allocated in this year’s budget so that we cannot continue with the work. I applaud you, Mr. Minister and I trust that as we work along with the Ministry of Education because we are doing a lot in ACE in (Adult and Continuing Education) we are trying to add value to food, we are trying to make sure that the craft sector is going on very well and so we are partnering with you and we trust that for this year we will come together and work hand in hand with you so that when we come again the next time that we will truly be able to say, this year would have been a successful one for us.Mr. Speaker, the Budget addresses health; I remember it was one past Minister of Health who said we ought to have health for all by the year 2000 but it did not happen and so this Budget is addressing it and I want at this time to say to the people of Evesham these people who either have to go down to Belair to come over to Calder or to come down to Mespo that work has begun on the new clinic and it is done at an estimated cost of $1.3 million funded through the Basic Needs Trust Fund and we are hoping to have it completed by the end of August 2010. Mr. Speaker in Marriaqua at the Levi Latham Health Center we are delivering babies there and there are one and two people who have no one whom we are looking after at that center. I am negotiating now82for a piece of land so that we can have a Doctor’s quarters there near to the Levi Latham Health Center so that greater health care can be given to our people. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I have worked all my life with young people and this Budget on page 43 thinks of the young people; there is hope and I want to quote from the Prime Minister’s words he said:-“Immediately, my government intends to refine its ongoing youth policies and programmes so as to make further strategic interventions especially in the areas of access to finance for young entrepreneurs; youths-on-the-block; sports and culture; job creation; and the building of soft-skills and sound interpersonal relations. These interventions have to be fashioned and implemented through a strategic partnership between the State, the private sector, the cooperative sector and civil society: including the young people and their organisations”.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, as I read this paragraph I thought of Robert and Olive Baden-Powell; I thought of the programme that we have on our books and I thought of the Scouts in our country. Mr. Speaker, sad to say there is a group called Friends of Scouts but the boys are suffering they need the help that good friends can give. Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that somebody concerned will hear my plea today; hear my plea for the boys of this country who need a help. I worked in the Sion Hill Area; I was able to get the little girls off the ground, the Cubs Scouts but we really need to take a little time off and see what we can do with those funds that we get from the Lottery in order even to help the boys with their uniforms. I do not know if I am talking to you Major but I am talking [laughs] because really, you know what the discipline you know what the discipline can do and I am really appealing to you. I am appealing to you that we try to do something better to help those boys; please I would really love for us to talk and let us see when we have our parades that the Scouts are there. You know as well as I do that the programme left by Lord and Lady Baden-Powell is second to none in this country and we are talking about crime and violence, the boys need to be gainfully employed and we know what the programme can offer so please let us try to help them.Mr. Speaker, the good books says, “We have the poor among us always”. On pages 52 and 53 we see some areas in which the Minister of Finance has looked at the poor, I go for example, to No. 3 on page 53: Home Help for the Elderly, Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, before now, many of our elderly people suffered. Sometimes you would have visited and they needed their bath, they needed to get their medication sometimes their toenails were so long, they needed all that kind of care and one of the first things we did was under the guidance of Sister Ann that we trained many of our young people to go into the homes. Many of our people, they have their homes and had it not been for this we would have had more people in the Lewis Punnett Home: No. 11 for Lewis Punnett Home I see a $2.2 million; and in the Home Help I see $1 million there to help them. Mr. Speaker, I visited recently and I noted that there are 50 males and 50 females at the Lewis Punnett Home the numbers are dwindling. Mr. Speaker, those are the people who would have built our country; these are the ones that we must take care of and this government is doing that.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we speak of the fishermen and I too am concerned about the fishermen but on page 70 of the Budget there is something for maritime coverage; it is good to eat the fish but to go out there83in the sea and catch it you face many dangers and so if technology can help our fishermen right about now we are happy and this government is looking at this. Working with our young people many of them would have gone to get training as to how they can run small businesses and the Centre for Enterprise Development is doing just this. Many of our young people who would have dropped out of school, many of them who are business oriented; they now can help themselves because of the training that they get and how to manage their resources. Invest SVG I think that members of that Ministry would have been to England just recently in order to sell what products we have got here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and I know that after a little while we are going to take off in a bigger way with Invest SVG as we sell ourselves to the various nations.I come now to the Banana Services Unit, Mr. Speaker, I can remember hearing when you have fish down here you would have no bananas; bananas have been on the decline for a while, I am not the one to point my figure at anybody or to blame anybody but I am saying that the Banana Industry although it is declining we must continue with it and this government has a vision still you can eat the bananas in many different ways but there is a market in our region for the bananas and so I trust that this unit will do whatever is possible; whatever is necessary that we will continue to make sure that we have bananas at all times. We can use the fruit when it is ripe; we can eat it just from the hand or we can make a Smoothie; we can add some value; we can roast it; we can make a salad; we can add value and we can do so many things with the bananas and we need to hold on to it. We can have fish and bananas the best thing out; yes even the fiber from the trunk can make ropes all we need is to know what we do; yes and I am really glad that our government is looking at this. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I speak for the women the child bearing women of our country as teachers we have a three months after we have given birth, we may not have to be in the classroom and the milk is oozing through your clothes; you say in order for us to treat our people well we have to understand their way of living and it is was not quite equal for the women in the Public Service not to have the same as the Teachers but in this Budget it is saying that our government is not mindful of what should happen to all the women all the child bearing women in our country [knocking on the desk] yes and men [knocking on the desk].Mr. Speaker, there is much more that I can touch on but I know many people would have touched on many others but my darling, my baby the “Education Revolution” [knocking on desk] [interjections] it is education for life, for living and for production. Mr. Speaker, in my day I can remember before I left the classroom we used to have to buy our own brooms, our own chalk and other things because we loved teaching and in coming into government, Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that we can take a holistic approach to education in our country. Mr. Speaker, in the primary sector there were many children who did not come to school because of various reasons but we were better off in that primary sector than we were in the secondary sector and we took a bold step: a quantum leap and I remember year after year people would come crying; “Mrs. Miguel tell me what to do, I can get the child into any school” and we say no, we owe the citizens of our country an education [knocking of desk]. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members our resources were slender but there is nothing like when you can improvise; when you can get what you want out of what you have and so we built concrete bases and used the 5.8 ply to make sure that our children were housed; many people criticized us for doing this but then you have to take the children from where they are and when some people said to me that some of them cannot read and you are putting them in the secondary school; I said when we take them we take them as they are and then we will try to work out remedies to make sure that they can improve [knocking of desk].84Mr. Speaker, as I say this I salute those Ministers who were before me but I salute the women in management in the Ministry of Education [knocking of desk] and please clap for that [applause] [knocking of desk]. I salute my P.S. Mrs. Laura Browne; I salute Mrs. Susan Dougan; I salute Mrs. Baker over at EPMU who was always there pushing and making sureHONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Yes! Yes!HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: that the projects are getting together. Mr. Speaker, today here: today we can safely say that we are much better than we were in 2001 all because the Ministry of Education and those names that I did not mention who would have worked we had to go on the seas, we had to go to the farthest ends of the country because in education you must get it right; you have to do what it takes in order to make sure that you get it right. Mr. Speaker, today I am happy that every child twelve years or over has a place in a secondary school [clapping]. Mr. Speaker, during 2009 work was done at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School; Mr. Speaker I worked at that school when it was a primary school; Mr. Speaker the conditions were deplorable when I went there some big rats without any hair on their bodies were running out from underneath the Culverts, conditions were terrible but I got the place fenced whenever it was carnival you found a coconut shell; you found bits of clothing and we upgraded it and then we looked at our numbers, Mr. Speaker, because we have to work with numbers and we felt that if we were going to take in those children into the secondary schools we needed to housed them. Mr. Speaker, we would remember how there were so many different ideas but what we did we listened; we weighed them today thank God Thomas Saunders School is one of those that people are fighting to go in [knocking of desk and clapping]. On the first day of school I went up, I usually make some little blocks around to see how things are going and one lady said; one lady said “Mrs. Miguel if you move Mr. Renton from that school we are going to fight you personally, I have no need to remove Mr. Renton, Mr. Renton seems to be happy, I looked at Mr. Renton marshalling his forces over to the Home Ec ... Center with a cardboard box under his arm we were not yet ready with the Science Lab but that did not stop a good teacher from moving his students forward and so people are clamoringto go they want to go to Thomas Saunders School [interjection] yes, and I came down to Bequia remember I came down and we had a little chat didn’t we [interjection] no! No! [Interjection] Not once, I went down to Union Island too; No! No! No! No; No! No! No! I come when you do not see me sometimes.But Mr. Speaker, we speak of West St George Secondary that is the school where the children who went there, they did not pass the Common Entrance but then when the results came out for CXC the Head Teachers and the other teachers they did so well that those children were able to be successful. George Stephen’s Senior Secondary; the Buccament Bay Secondary, they are going to write their exams this year for the first time and work on some of these schools is continuing. Mr. Speaker, I remember when we did the Intermediate High School, I remember my P.S. and Chief we went up in the mud at the top of the hill trying to make sure that we can find somewhere because the school was not able to go on; the boat could not make it and so today we have a wonderful school and you know what was said; they said they are higher than Grammar School because they are above them on the hill but anyway they are there. Yes, Mr. Speaker, in the upcoming period with funds from the World Bank the construction of the West St George Secondary School will commence.85DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Yes. [Inaudible]HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, we have to look at the population of the areas that are close by; in Kingstown there is congestion, I remember sometimes people do not understand coming through town some people used to watch me like Johnny watch town basket because you cannot get them into the school; we want to make it equal to all of our children but it takes time. Mr. Speaker, further in 2009 work was completed on the refurbishment of laboratories in six secondary schools and I know our Deputy Prime Minister would be pleased to hear this because he has always been saying we need to make it equal for all of them [clapping]. In going up town you look at the Curriculum Resource Unit, oh what a beautiful building! It went up in smoke but it was not completely destroyed but we need somewhere for our curriculum team to work. We see on the other side the modern National Library and major rehabilitation of four secondary schools, we are trying.People in Fairhall and the people in Bequia the primary schools are good; rehabilitation was done on the Sion Hill School, if you were to pass down there Sion Hill School I think it was labelled as a shelter but the roof was not very good but it is much better now. At Lauders Government; at Gomea Methodist School, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, those schools that were built in the time when the Gomea Methodist Schools was built we will have to take a serious look at them because when we look that school could have collapsed on those children because of the material from which it was made but thank God today all is well. We also checked the Brighton Primary School; the completion of the Edinboro and Peter’s Hope Secondary Schools at a cost of E.C. $6.5 and $8.2 respectively [clapping] and the Union Island Secondary School it resembles a part of UWI; it is very nice I do not know if the Honourable Member would have gone to see it but it is really nice, really wonderful and the peopleHONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: [Inaudible]HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: I know your brother works there, yes, I know your brother works there and I know that you always speak the truth and you would have known that we would have done well. [Interjection] But in addition to the physical construction we witnessed the unprecedented training of our teachers in which hundreds of teachers including primary school teachers were trained to the degree level in the following areas: - in Pedagogy, Mr. Speaker, in the art and science of teaching if we do not do this then it is no sense we build those buildings. Mr. Speaker, the curriculum we have a plan but we must work the plan and one of the things that I have always said is that there is scope and there must be sequence; we have to guide our teachers so that they do not teach the topics that they like to teach and leave the others that they do not like to teach this can hamper our children. So, right now our focus is there, that we will have our scope and our sequencing of the work in order to make education more successful. Mr. Speaker, long ago in doing some house to house work, Mr. Speaker, there are many people who are in the house who never see the light of day because they have some ailment; some cannot walk; some cannot see but I think this is the time when we must let our people know that they have life and as long as someone has life we must respect that life. The young people who have special needs we must get them out if we have to put them in the wheelchair whatever we have to do smile for them give them a touch; this is what our education is embracing.86DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Yes.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Literacy and numeracy it is no longer what we use to call in the old days reading, writing and arithmetic as long as you could have done that all is well, no we have gone past that. In Information and Communication Technology we are training, Management and Leadership, Mr. Speaker, I cannot overemphasize the word Management and Leadership: in this life all of us are not given the same gifts; some people are good leaders, they are good managers but they need others to help them and we are looking at the persons within our Ministries who will be able to lead our institutions. Mr. Speaker, we believe we must begin well at the beginning and we thought that something was going on in our country which we needed to correct. There were many persons who had a room and some benches and they were able to say okay you are going to work let me take your child and even before the children could have spoken well they tried to teach them to talk, to count and to write: no children at that level they learn through play and so we know what the curriculum says and we are trying our very best, we have already begun with our Early Childhood Centers and we are hoping to do some more but we must say thanks to those people who would have been carrying on Early Childhood training before [clapping and knocking on desk].Adult and Continuing Education there was a display in the Central Market and I was very pleased at what I saw when I went over there; the skills training is doing very, very well. Mr. Speaker, Adult and Continuing Education is doing very well, we want to target 3,000 persons and I can tell you about Zone 3, right now there is a group called the Hibiscus Group: a group of women they are making uniforms for Early Childhood, for Primary, for Secondary and for the College. They are now right now at this moment sewing; very neat and professional. We are moving on. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I want to give us a little more insight into what is happening in the Ministry of Education. Apart from those areas that I called out we are doing training in Diagnosis and Remediation, more training; we are training in Testing and Measurement; Literacy; training in Guidance and Counselling. Mr. Speaker, one time I experienced a child in a classroom, he came into the classroom, and he was late for class but he just came and he hit another one. I took him aside and after reasoning with him I realised that he had smoked Marijuana that morning and sometimes these are little disruptions that can cause our young people to be in trouble. We found out in education, Mr. Speaker, that we need to train more teachers in Mathematics, in Science, in English, in Modern Languages and in Social Sciences and we are going to do just that. Mr. Speaker, the Community College, I want to ask you please Sir for your indulgence that I can give verbatim a report from the Community College because it has just been developed. The Community College, for the past 6 months there has been vigorous activity geared toward the expansion and modernisation of the newly established St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. A strategic plan has been developed to move the institution towards becoming a leading tertiary institution in the region recognized for quality education, training, research, innovation and lifelong learning. Producing graduates who function effectively in a modern globalised society. As a first step towards the expansion this academic year the number of new school leavers who were offered a place has increased: please let us note this. As a result the College’s roll has risen from 1,529 in 2008 to 1,921. To accommodate the expansion of the college’s student body ten temporary classrooms have been constructed; five at the Division of Arts, Science and General Studies and five at the Division of Technical and Vocational Studies. Other initiatives to expand access to the College87have also been put in place. For example, a drive to take the College’s programme into the communities of St Vincent and the Grenadines was started.College personnel have been going into communities all across St Vincent and the Grenadines finding out from the people what educational opportunities they would like to have available to them; we are talking. Based on the voices of the people, the College is going to offer courses in the various communities to meet the identified needs. Indeed, some of these courses will come on-stream as early as the beginning of February this year, so we are really resolute with what we are doing. In addition, during the past six months structures have been put in place to facilitate other initiatives to be introduced from September 2010; for example in the new academic year a number of new programmes will be offered and these are the ones:- Associate Degree in Law; Computer Studies; Business Studies; Psychology and Hospitality Studies; Bachelor in Education and Diploma in Education in a franchise agreement with the University of the West Indies. Continued offering of the first year of the University of the West Indies Social Sciences Degree; these programmes will be offered after regular working hours targeting predominantly employed individuals. So, if you are working the Community College is making way for you. In order to make these programmes available to people who may be working and who may wish to upgrade their knowledge and skill, the College will be extending its opening hours up to 9:00 p.m. Though the College will continue to provide post-secondary education for new school leavers without charging tuition fees, a fee structure will be in place for more mature students pursuing other programmes at the College. The fees to be charged will be minimal since the aim is to ensure that Vincentians from all walks of life find them affordable. Such fees are necessary for the sustainability of programmes since the aim is for the College not to be entirely reliant on government funding to keep programmes for the wider community running. In addition, this fee structure is designed to make the College programmes very competitive, being significantly lower than those charged by any other tertiary institution operating in our country.So, in order to ensure that faculty and professional staff are adequately qualified and remunerated for the service they provide at the College, from September there will be a reclassification of individuals holding these posts. This reclassification will take into account qualifications, experience, as well as appraisal reports and remunerations will be adjusted to reflect a better match with employee’s competency. This adjustment will bring the salaries for these individuals more in line with those of their counterparts in similar institutions in the region. Recognising that we now live in a global world the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community Colleges Scheme to establish partnership with other entities within the region and internationally, giving wider currency to its programmes; thus the College is in discussion with several regional and international institutions with a view to pave a path that will allow greater educational opportunities to reach citizens and residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines: there is a breath of fresh air Mr. Speaker.The newly reconstructed St Vincent and the Grenadines Secondary Community College intends through the provision of tertiary education to foster the holistic development of learners in the community who seek to upgrade and improve themselves through education; this would enable them to contribute proactively to a change in society, function effectively in the workplace and pursue further studies. The College also intends to raise the level of consciousness of Vincentians challenging them to seek their place in the regional community88and through continuing and higher education contribute to the development of this nation and this region. Mr. Speaker, indeed these are exciting times in education. Mr. Speaker ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Could you give us [inaudible].HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Sure, sure, yes, Mr. ... I will do that. Mr. Speaker, I wish that all of this was happening in my time but it is never too late to learn. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members I want at this time to say something to the teachers of our country. I want to thank the teachers who have been working no matter how small is the effort it is appreciated by the Ministry. A lot has been done but a lot more has to be done. While we try to upgrade ourselves let us be honest with our children’s time; let us make sure that we so divide our time that no one will have to lose. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I want at this time to look at the constituency of Marriaqua; Mr. Speaker, I want to say thanks to all of the people of Marriaqua who have held my hands over these years, at least all my life I have worked along with them and I know there is still much more work to be done. You have been requesting rural electrification and I did hear Minister Walters speak of that programme; there are some areas still that need pipe borne water but much of it has been done. To the youths of Marriaqua we have closed the Cane End Playing Field and you know that I believe in the youths because I have been a teacher of netball it is since I broke my leg that I was not able to jump but I have been a teacher of netball and out teams used to win. We had to close the field and the reason is that it was dug; they had to dig deep within in order to get the flatness and so the dirt that is below it is not rich enough to sustain the grass; so we would have had to bring in new soil and grass and it is nearing completion and I want to promise you that you will have that field for your tournament; I am going to try my very best.Those in Richland Park the Hard Court has some work to be done and I am trying my very best so that we can have it lighted while the grass is growing on the field near to the Mount View Academy we are taking care of it. The people who are living around the Hard Court at the oval in Richland Park, I have already asked the Chief Surveyor to survey the land on which you are living so that we could charge you a little fee and you can have a deed of your own. There are some roads which still need to be done. The main roads are okay but that in Corum, Cotton Ground, Girly Corner, that road in Hope going to Greggs and the one at Red Hills these are important link roads and we have to make a concerted effort to have them done. Mr. Speaker, a few years ago there was tragedy in Marriaqua and six children were washed in that river; they were going back to school and the water lost its course and came on to the road and brought the children down to Argyle. It was no easy task putting bridges across that river that farm river has to be spanned six times and there is only one bridge left to be built, and I gave God thanks and the Ministries that would have worked. There is another bridge which I looked at the bottom of the river and I see that it is being undermined and the Chief is doing some design works for us. The one going into Marriaqua I have asked also to have it looked at so that it could be safer for us. The bridge in front of the police station it poses a problem and I have also asked to have some attention paid to it; we need to make the bridge a little wider and finish our bush shed so that the children will not go under the gas station with their cell phones; very, very dangerous: we are taking care.Mr. Speaker, the schools in Richland Park; I worked at the school as a young lady and it was the shape of the letter ‘L’ and I am thankful that today it has been completed. It has an upper floor and it has been completed.89The one in Marriaqua has been completed as well and it has been fenced. We have Early Childhood Centers in Marriaqua and one in Cane End; we are taking care of our little ones. Over in the village of Riley those people it did not seem as if anyone bothered with them in trying to put anything for them but today I can say that we have the Learning Resource Center (LRC) there and I must at this time pay tribute to Mr. Gillis Francis; he is the teacher at the Girls High School the mathematics teacher and he is giving lessons to persons who want to write their CXC Exams, he is giving them lessons free of cost in the LRC. We are waiting on the internet connection and other classes are going on there for the people of Evesham and the surrounding villages. They never had a playing field in that area because of the topography of the place and the Anglicans had given us a piece; I must also give thanks to them; but we would have had to find $90.00 to put a retaining wall [interjection] $90,000: $90,000 down to the river and to undergird the road and Mr. Glen Stuart and other members in the community we had a meeting and it is always good that we consult with our people and Mrs. Fraser said yes I will sell a piece to government so that we could put the Clinic and there is where earthwork are being done right now.There are some houses which we need to repair and there are some that we need to build. In Marriaqua we just have a little bit of land between the rivers we do not have much land and our people quite understand; we are still trying to get a piece whereby we can build some low income houses and people of Marriaqua I know you have been waiting but I want to ask you to remember that patience is virtue we are going to get there. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, there are many persons who have held our hands in the business of education how can I forget the Taiwanese, I cannot forget them; I must say thank you for the little scholarships that they do give to us. The National Lotteries and for those cooperate citizens within the community we must give thanks, we must give praise because Marriaqua is a place that knows how to work together. We know how to love one another and there is only one thing that burdens my heart is that some people in Marriaqua decided to take government’s medicine that they knew government had paid so much for; to take it for political reasons it is unjust. And I pray that the people of Marriaqua will not be cheap because if the government asks for$5.00 just contribute that: so that we can get to buy more and at the end of the Referendum some people jump up; “poor man medicine wuk”: “poor man medicine wuk”, it is not right and I pray that we do not win government on the Opposition side; we do not encourage people to do things like this. If you cannot be trusted when you are out of government, how can you be trusted when you are in? It cannot work, it pains my heart to know that many people I have nurtured and I have heard them speak these ignorant utterances and I say no, where are we going? We cannot do this, you cannot be giving out medicine and say vote for me; do not do it; it cannot work it has never worked it will not work, nah! They asked if it is Mrs. Miguel they are voting for they said; “no it is Referendum” they said, “Eh! Eh”! They are voting for Mrs. Miguel [interjection] Ah! We will wait and see. You wait and see [interjections]; you wait and see [laughs] [interjections] you wait and see.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: She is my Empress; she is my Empress.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, Mr. Speaker, I want to say thanks to you for your wife’s guidance here in this House; I want to say thanks to Madam Clerk and your staff for all the little courtesies that you have extended; Members on the Opposition benches you know me I do not speak with water in my mouth, I am serious about my work and as I always say if there is anything within your constituencies that you would like to have done, do not be afraid pick up the telephone, visit we are here one for90another. My colleague Ministers on this side thank you very much for your love and for your care; Minister Francis in a very special way he will hear me in his dream [laughs] thank you Minister, Minister I am saying thank you for the time [interjection] alright [laughter] for the times when you visited and you encouraged me and for all the good work that you are doing. One of the things I can assure you of my dear colleagues is that I pray for you at 3:00 o’clock in the morning I am on my knees; I have to be an intercessor; I am an intercessor and I pray that you will do the same for me. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I want to commend this Budget [knocking on desk] so that it can have an easy passage through this Honourable House. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate. Any further debate on the ...? Nobody ...: Honourable Prime Minister, are you going to wrap up for today?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House do stand suspended for Members convenience until 7:30.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes. I have not had a second for that Motion.Question put and agreed to House suspended at 7:06 p.m. House resumed at 7:48 p.m.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator Caesar, Minister of Housing etcetera just let me get my bearings together. Senator Caesar or Minister Caesar I should say you have 11⁄4 hours to make your debate.HONOURABLE SABOTO CAESAR: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, I rise to make my contribution to support the debate on the Budget; 2010 Budget and I will like to state categorically my support for the presentation of an excellent Budget by the Honourable Prime Minister [Knocking on desk]. Mr. Speaker, it would be remiss of me if I fail to recognise this Budget as one which is carefully planned and structured and I am certain that it will be well conceived. It sets a platform, Mr. Speaker, for this blessed nation to advance in challenging times and Mr. Speaker, when I say challenging times if I may draw reference to the introduction made by the Honourable Prime Minister in his address where he noted and Mr. Speaker, please permit me to quote, the Honourable Prime Minister outlined that:-“This year’s Budget is one of the most challenging I have had to fashion much more so than the one in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001 given the scale of the economic tsunami which has washed the world’s economy consequent upon the financial meltdown, which occurred in September, 2008 in the major economies of the United States of America, Europe and Asia.91So, from the introduction it is outlined that the Budget is drafted in challenging times and the Leader of the Opposition; the Honourable Leader of the Opposition agreed that times are challenging and this was what he had to say in his presentation. The Honourable Leader of the Opposition said Mr. Speaker:-“I am well aware that circumstances in the international economy have eroded economic conditions in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.Mr. Speaker, in August of 2009, I had the opportunity to visit the mid-western state of Michigan and Mr. Speaker, I spent a week in Detroit and it was only then that I was able to fully appreciate and analyse exactly what was happening in the first world. It is one thing Mr. Speaker, to watch it on CNN and to follow it on BBC and to hear about job losses and foreclosures; but Mr. Speaker, what I saw in August 2009 in Michigan brings great life to the meaning of the words ‘challenging global economic times’: to that phrase. Mr. Speaker, I saw parking lots: parking lots three acres outside of Ford Company and these parking lots were empty, so I asked the question to the driver, where are the workers? He said to me, “That is the global economic crisis that you may have heard about”. Mr. Speaker, in the state of Michigan there are over 500,000 workers 100,000 of them are jobless today; and this is the magnitude of the global economic crisis that the world is facing today. And the question is the question of critical importance is this, how will a small vulnerable economy like that of St Vincent and the Grenadines manage its economic destiny in these hard and challenging times?Some, Mr. Speaker, may want to throw their hands up in the air in despair but I want to say to this Honourable House that it took a brave leader, a strong and courageous leader in the person of the Honourable Prime Minister to craft such an excellent Budget in these times taking into consideration that many things internationally would have changed at an extremely fast pace. And whilst the Leader of the Opposition agreed with the Honourable Prime Minister that he was well aware that the circumstances in the international economy would have eroded the economic conditions in St Vincent and the Grenadines that was all that he agreed with, he did not go any further. In fact, in a manner which I would suggest is a bit of a sleight of hand, he described an excellent budget as “A fraud of monumental proportions”. The hard work of the Ministry of Finance and all the other Ministries in order to hold things together in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and I was part of the process and it was definitely a learning process our solution was described by the Leader of the Opposition as, “A house of cards”, “the worst nightmare”.What I saw in Michigan was indeed a nightmare, in the great America, Mr. Speaker, but Mr. Speaker, whilst so many persons are losing their jobs in the United States of America, in small St Vincent and the Grenadines we have created 171 new positions [applause] and that speaks of the great work that we would have placed in crafting this Budget, the Budget presented by the Honourable Prime Minister. Mr. Speaker, this Budget is one which brings hope to our people; it is one which brings great promise and Mr. Speaker, I want to spend a few minutes on the word ‘promise’ because this administration is an administration which has lived up to its promises and we have fulfilled the expectations of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. This administration promised an International Airport and many of us from the Windward side as we journey to work in the mornings we look and we marvel at the extent of the work done on such an excellent project. And Mr. Speaker, as I sat here this evening and I listened to the Honourable Member from the Northern Grenadines92when he basically said that he is against the Argyle International Airport it pained my heart. And you know the reason why it pained my heartDR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you [inaudible] Mr. Speaker, that is why I said my words are on the record. I said what we are against in this airport, what concerns us is the way in which it is being financed and then I explained my problem with the debt and the enormity of the task with the financing of the Airport that is what I addressed in the matter of two or three sentences.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No, I think he is correct, he did not really say that he was against it; but I do not think he said that. He did not like certain arrangements [interruptions].DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: He was being negative.HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, I stand corrected but the way in which in which he made his formulations, Mr. Speaker, it left me with very little doubt that he was negative on the issue and in his ordinary style he was able to highlight the problem but what he was basically saying, he would not have a part to do with the solutions because he did not go on further, yes you have a problem but what is the solution. Mr. Speaker, this administration promised an international airport and we are working steadfastly towards keeping that promise and fulfilling that task. What was more, Mr. Speaker was when the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines he made a dash at agriculture but Mr. Speaker, if you analyse the development of a small vulnerable economy, and particularly the Agriculture Sector and you do it carefully, your analyses will reveal that once we have an international airport our farmers will be much closer to international markets [applause] but in his ordinary dashes, the Honourable Member did not put the whole pack together.Mr. Speaker, on the issue of education a most important issue in the development of any country Universal Secondary Education it is one of the most important policies ever to take root in this country [applause and knocking on desk]. Mr. Speaker, on the weekend I visited the constituency of North Leeward and I was speaking to a gentleman and he said that he wrote his Common Entrance before your government, referring to this administration had the policy for Universal Secondary Education. Mr. Speaker, he said the first time he wrote the common entrance he failed by two marks, the second time he failed by four marks and when he went into senior school he failed outright; that man today he was saying to me on Sunday that if he had another opportunity to live again, to be born again he wanted to be born under this administration; because this administration [knocking on desk] is the administration which takes into account the needs of the poor and working class people of society, and those who are particularly vulnerable. [Knocking on desk]Mr. Speaker, yes, I sat there and I listened to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition as he twisted and turned both physically and in his words; he said Mr. Speaker that this Budget brings a deep sense of shame on this country; a deep sense of shame. I cannot wait to see students leaving in the evenings from secondary schools throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Colleges to study in the excellent conditions which will be provided at this country’s National Library [knocking on desk]. Mr. Speaker, I could recall using the Kingstown Library when I was a student at the A Level College, in fact sometimes we used to have what we will call a93library marathon because the Library, the Kingstown Library at 2:00 o’clock it will definitely not be an environment conducive for learning. Mr. Speaker, you know what we had to do? At about 2:00 we had to go up to the Financial Complex because we wanted to study but we did not have a place and it was too early to go to the University Center, we had to go and ask the Librarian in the Documentation Center if she could give us a space: a corner, so that we could do some work and it is the worst thing because the books are in the Public Library and you are now in an environment that is much cooler but you do not have the books there and definitely, I know that this National Library will bring about a definite change in academics and in our learning in St Vincent and the Grenadines because our students will have a more conducive environment to study in.And to really see the changes which will be brought about when you go to Mona, St Augustine and Cave Hill many students will tell you when you see other students doing work in a conducive environment: it gives you energy to also do work. It is much harder ... I remember during the last two years when I was pursuing Masters Studies and I would use the Learning Resource Center at North Union at nights being there alone sometimes you wonder if you really have to do this, but when you are in an environment where persons from different secondary schools would come together and you would see the students from ‘A’ levels and you would go and ask them some questions you do not understand in geography, in tectonics, in economics or in history: this is a government that has a vision. And it was sad to hear that the Budget which will make these dreams and this vision a reality, it was described as one which has absolutely no credibility.But Mr. Speaker, the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines they are listening and they are taking careful and copious mental notes and the time will come, Mr. Speaker, when the Honourable Leader of the Opposition would have to face the Electorate and I am certain that he would have to make a roundabout turn in his analyses because no one will be convinced by his arguments. Mr. Speaker, I will now turn to the Ministry of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Lands and Surveys and Physical Planning which all fall under my portfolio. Housing for the poor and working class people of St Vincent and the Grenadines has been an issue of first importance to this administration. Mr. Speaker, the Housing and Lands Development Corporation (HLDC) in 2009 continued to fulfill its mandate by providing affordable opportunities for Vincentians nationwide, while at the same time ensuring the sustainability and viability of the corporation. Mr. Speaker, it was under this administration that we were able to restructure and modernize the HLDC so that it can better serve our people. You know, Mr. Speaker, from time to time when you visit different areas throughout the length and breadth of St Vincent and the Grenadines I must say that the Ministry of Housing has left an indelible mark in any area where it has operated. Low income houses have been built at several places: Petit Bordel, Peter’s Hope, Ottley Hall, Green Hill, Diamond, Brighton, San Souci, Colonarie and Richmond. And Mr. Speaker, I would have visited a low income housing development in a Caribbean Island and it is nothing to compare with what we have here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.Mr. Speaker, we cannot just only view the low income housing project as just a project designed to create a shelter for someone, but we have to analyse the importance of this project holistically. A case in point, in the low income housing district in San Souci, there are many young persons who occupy these homes. Mr. Speaker, this gives the young people of St Vincent and the Grenadines an opportunity to exercise their independence at a much younger age, to get marry, to foster families and the well being of these families and to also create an94environment so that they can contribute to their society. Mr. Speaker, there is nothing harder than living in a house in which you are not comfortable because I remember the joke once I got: “yes you can lime out all day, you can stay on the block as long as you want; at some point and time, you have to go home”. And the worst thing is to be at home in an environment where you cannot get a good night rest; this government has at the helm of its agenda to provide housing for the poor and that is the main reason why we are pursuing an excellent policy as it pertains to the construction of low income homes. Mr. Speaker, the first phase of the low income housing programme at Clare Valley is completed with the construction and sale of 18 houses. Sixteen houses were constructed at Fitz Hughes and are currently offered for sale. Mr. Speaker, further Golden Vale has been subdivided into ... Golden Grove has been subdivided into 38 Lots and also offered for sale; at Petit Bordel, Mr. Speaker, an additional 10 lots have been provided with the necessary infrastructure and also offered for sale. A total of 61 Lots are currently being developed and offered for sale at Queensbury and Mr. Speaker, these are directed to the poor and working class people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Twelve houses have been completed in Byera while an additional 10 houses are under construction in North Leeward but Mr. Speaker, the low income programme is a well-executed programme, however on analysis this government is working on the no-income Housing Programme. Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to explain this concept to a policy maker in Trinidad and Tobago and it took an extremely long time because her questions were: “What is a No-income Housing Programme”. Mr. Speaker, this touches the inner core of the poor and working class people of our country and in drafting this Budget the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines we ensured that first and foremost we must provide for the vulnerable. Mr. Speaker, this year there will be the construction of 300 houses. Mr. Speaker, I repeat, this year 2010 there will be the construction of 300 houses on the no-income Housing Programme at several sites all over St Vincent and the Grenadines [Clapping] and this is financed by the Republic of Venezuela. Mr. Speaker, on the lighter side 300 houses in one year, 25 houses per month ...HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I just rise to ask for the assistance of the Honourable Minister in pointing me to the Budget item that speaks to that activity, so that I can follow the debate.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable ... HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: I am just asking if he could point me so I can follow the debate. Iam just seeking his assistance. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister.HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, the monies that we will be getting from Venezuela is in the tune of $9 million and we have counterpart funds under HLDC.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, in the Estimates there is a sum of money for the No-income Housing Project, and the loan which is being had is being had by the Housing and Land Development Corporation that does not have to be in the Expenditure Estimates, sorry a Grant, for the simple reason that Housing and Land Development Corporation is an independent entity unless it is being channelled95through the Central Government like the US$20 million which we are putting into the Airport, it will not be in the Estimates an elementary point really.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Continue Sir.HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, the project is designed to construct and repair houses for persons with a monthly income of not more than $750. Mr. Speaker, this Ministry also commits to complete and renovate 140 houses for the poor under the Low Income Housing Programme by December 31st, 2010. Mr. Speaker, it is a well-known fact that this government like none ever before takes care of persons affected by disasters; this government has built and will continue to build houses for persons affected by disasters; houses have been built at several places including Rose Hall, Langley Park and Byera for persons whose houses were destroyed or damaged severely during storms or hurricanes. Mr. Speaker, the Government has also provided 100% mortgages through the National Commercial Bank for all public servants and this has definitely benefitted the public servants of St Vincent and the Grenadines in an enormous manner. Mr. Speaker, when you compare what this administration has done for housing when it is compared with what was done on the Colonial Homes: the Colonial Homes Project you will see that this government is better by far than those who would have meddled with the issue of housing. And Mr. Speaker, when I look back at some of the adjectives used by the Leader of the Opposition to describe the Budget, he said it was a fraud perpetrated on the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines; fraud.Well, Mr. Speaker, when you talk about fraud, I have in my hands here because, Mr. Speaker, I have been at this Ministry for under a month but one of the first things I did when I went to the Ministry was to do a historical analysis of what pertains in housing for the past 30 years; and there were best practices; and there was a list of things notto do. And Mr. Speaker, I would like to make reference to the Commission of Enquiry into property issues relating to the Diamond Estate and I am certain that it is already a document of the House. Mr. Speaker, I read from page 28, and when we speak about fraud without being able to substantiate it, we have to be careful because in this instance I want the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines to analyse this and see where they place this on the scheme of things, as it pertains to accountability, mismanagement and incompetence. As an attorney, I do not really like to accuse people of fraud because it is a very hard thing to prove as the Member for the Northern Grenadines will know. Page 28; I find the under mentioned sequence of events, disquieting because you have to be careful. Mr. Speaker, it is always good to analyse things within a particular historical context, especially when you are placed in a leadership position so that you will not make mistakes, and here I am highlighting a mistake of immense proportions made under the administration, which comes here today to speak about mismanagement and to speak about fraud and to speak about inconsistencies and fake analysis. Mr. Speaker, this is what the report had to say:-“The evidence was that government officials Mr. Speaker, it is here you know, sometimes you can run but you cannot hide. Justice Joseph had this to say:-96“The evidence was that government officials had no knowledge of the mortgage on land at Diamond”.So, when fraud is being discussed here, bring your track record let us measure you against this when issues of inconsistencies are raised and mismanagement tell me what this is.“The evidence was that government officials had no knowledge of the mortgage on land at Diamond. Is it that the only persons who knew of the mortgage are the persons whose signatures appear on the mortgage document?That question was asked. It went on to say Mr. Speaker:- “True the Deed is registered”And this is the part that really, this elementary point, an elementary point, which I do not know how it slip pass the past administration.“In the Registry of the High Court and is therefore a public document.”Mr. Speaker, you do not have to do the search for yourself, it would not have cost $50.00 to do the search; $5.00 could have been paid to do. You could have used $5.00 [laughs] or the [laughs] you could use $5.00 and do the search; but could you imagine a sovereign government going into a joint venture, and I know that this would pain deeply the heart of the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines; could you imagine you are going into a joint venture involving land; you do not have to watch the ‘Law and You’, to know that once you are dealing with land ownership and title is of extreme importance. You must do a search but under the former administration recklessness, gross mismanagement and negligence of the highest order and that same administration comes here and listens to an excellent budget in the most challenging of times and wants to cast all kinds of aspersions. Anyone who aligned themselves with that administration has no authority to speak on the issue of inconsistencies and mismanagement [knocking on desk] and gross negligence of any order. But Mr. Speaker, as the ladies in Lauders would say, some persons are more bold face than others. Mr. Speaker, the Report went on to say:-“True the deed is registered in the Registry of the High Court and is therefore a public document despite this I consider that it was a well-kept secret.”Mr. and that is why I stood here before Honourable Senator Leacock interjected and I was going out and outlining to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines exactly how we are going to finance the low income and the no-income because I do not deal with secrets when I am dealing with public matters. My personal life is an open book; I do not even keep that as a secret, far less matters of the public. Mr. Speaker, it went on to say:-97I think ...And this is the admonition, they were being admonition, the former administration was being admonition as the children at Girls High School or Grammar School would say or North Union: they were being scolded. They get buss up in North Leeward [laughs]:-I think that the lesson to be learnt from this arrangement with Colonial Homes 1994 is that it is critical for government to ascertain, the financial integrity of an entity”.I mean you do not just meet a man on the Ferry going to Bequia in the middle of the channel waters are rough, he says to you he wants to join business with you, yes if it is your personal money you could invest it without doing a search; but you do not tie a sovereign government in such a wily nilly way to such a project. [Interjection]“I think that the lesson to be learnt from this arrangement with Colonial Homes, 1994 is that it is critical for government to ascertain the financial integrity of an entity before entering into a joint venture partnership with that entity”.And Ottley Hall is being mentioned, so when the Honourable Leader of the Opposition stands up and speaks about a house of cards my question is, what was this? This is one of the worst nightmares ever to happen as it pertains to housing in St Vincent and the Grenadines [knocking on the desk] and that is what we are here to correct, [knocking on desk] [interjection] my record now?HONOURABLE ROCHELLE FORDE: You want record? [interjections]HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, I will answer the question, I could see why now that persons ... and I actually heard the Honourable... I heard the Member for the Northern Grenadines going up and down St Vincent and the Grenadines and he was propagating that persons should vote no. But it was a long time ago that he was supporting things that are colonial, colonial in name, in attitude and stature [interjection] [knocking on desk] Colonial Homes and there is where Colonial Homes landed you and that is why we have the HLDC now which is doing an excellent job [knocking on desk] But Mr. Speaker, he has touched a part of me, when persons want to run a sovereign country as if it is a crown colony; what this Report is actually saying you know is that the government at the time was an absentee government; absentee government, do not want to use $5.00 to do a search before they enter a joint venture. Yes, you get me started [interjections]DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Not that the Honourable Member whatever he is saying is causing me any discomfort, not at all but the point is that we are here to discuss the Budget and I remember earlier today or yesterday that you made a ruling regarding that when I think it was the Honourable Louis Straker got up and complained about something. I mean he could rant on about what he wants to talk about with Colonial Homes and all of that it does not trouble me at all but it is just that we are here to discuss the Budget, and he is taking an inordinate length of time in dealing with it, maybe he has not read the Budget.98HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, [interjections] [knocking of gavel] Mr. SpeakerHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I ... well actually when he stood up I did not understand the point he was making but when he sat down he said a point of, he was being irrelevant. I do not know if that was the point he wanted to put forward. Make it clear. [Laughter]DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: [Laughs] Mr. Speaker, I thought my point was clear, yes because it is clear to everybody what he is saying is irrelevant to the debate. [Interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I do not think [inaudible] I am still searching around in my mind, I do not [inaudible] [interjections] [inaudible]HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, I would have prefaced my submissions by saying I did a historical analysis of housing in St Vincent and the Grenadines over the past 30 years, I repeat myself you know, over the past 30 years and what this government is doing today is a best practice and I also mentioned for those persons who are listening that there was once a worst practice under the NDP administration that is all I said [knocking on the desk]. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry is also advancing technologically. I can recall when I served for a very brief period as Acting Registrar that a group of persons came to me from the Ministry and they discussed the whole issue of how the Land Registry can operate in a more effective and efficacious manner, I remember the Honourable Member for North Leeward was there and never in my mind, because this was about five years ago, four years ago when I had a short stint as Acting Registrar when the Honourable Member for North Leeward came to my office to discuss about how we can modernize the Registry and how can we ensure that searches are done in a more efficient manner. I did not know that 4 years after that I would be the one to implement and execute that very policy so it is a matter which is dear to my heart and I am certain that this Ministry will be working steadfastly with the Physical Planning Unit, Evaluation Unit and the Registry Department to establish a Data base so that we can obtain information when we are building, when we are doing our searches for Deeds in an easier fashion. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will further upgrade this year the Land Information Database by scanning 5000 Plans and transforming manual data to digital data form by October 31st, 2010.Mr. Speaker, I turn now to Informal Human Settlements, the Ministry has elaborated a comprehensive policy not only on housing but on Informal Human Settlements. During the year 2009, Mr. Speaker, the department worked closely with the HLDC to begin the process of the regularization of an ownership of lands in areas where there were informal human settlements. Mr. Speaker, this means a lot to the poor who are landless and who have lands in an informal settlement but they do not have legal title to these lands. I was speaking to a family on the weekend, Mr. Speaker, and they wanted to send their daughter for an operation and they went to the Bank and of course we know what the Bank would require, security: they wanted a Deed and because of the fact that they did not have a Deed: a Title Deed that daughter had to seek alternative ways of obtaining the money and to date she has not yet obtained the full sum. However, the Ministry is working steadfastly to ensure in the shortest space of time if that title can be given to that family so that it can be used as a means of security99at the Bank. And Mr. Speaker, this will definitely go a long way for the poor and working class people of our country who would have lived on a piece of land, sometimes your grandparents would have lived on the piece of land and you want to do significant repairs to the dwelling house but you do not have a Deed to take to the Bank.Mr. Speaker, this Ministry has worked on informal human settlements in Diamond, Queens Drive, Lowmans Bay, Trigger Ridge, Campden Park, Largo Height, Glen, Owia and Preparatory works have already started in Lauders. I had a brief conversation with my Permanent Secretary this week and Cuba has pledged to assist us with surveyors and Mr. Speaker, it is so heartwarming that in every material particular, every time we have asked for the help that the Government and people of Cuba that they are always there to support us and to assist us as we work in partnership to develop our blessed country. Five surveyors are earmarked to come from Cuba and arrangements are being made to obtain four more so that we can execute this programme in a most efficient manner. Mr. Speaker, as our society progresses it continues to evolve and the central role of local government will always be important as we attempt to nurture and to develop and structure a modern society. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will continue to do reform to our small Town Boards, our Village and District Councils and the special services will continue. During the course of 2009, Mr. Speaker, we held several consultations in villages; there was one in Lowmans, there was one in Georgetown, there was one in Park Hill, there was one in Layou and one in Barrouallie and these consultations will continue during the course of 2010 because, Mr. Speaker, it is essential to the execution of the policies of this government that we meet and consult on a regular basis with the people. When we meet with these smaller groups you can give explanations and we can also harness the human resources from within the very same village to assist Central Government in moving many of its policies and programmes forward.Mr. Speaker, the people and the residents of the constituency of South Central Windward, they have benefitted immensely during the period 2009 under this government. Mr. Speaker, in the village of Diamonds, the Social Investment Fund has constructed a playing field in Mt. Grenan as well and a pan yard is to be opened in Lowmans, yes. Mr. Speaker, South Central Windward is a district known for producing excellent farmers and I sat here and I listened to the Honourable Member for Marriaqua and I recalled many of the meetings two weeks ago that I had in Greggs and the farmers are in a veritable competition as to who could produce the biggest dasheen and this is sign of growth and it is sign of life. When I heard the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines speak on the issue of agriculture, I knew that, as I would say in South Central Windward, he was trying a thing, because it was under ... and I must say Mr. Speaker, for those who did not have the benefit of hearing his address the Honourable Member spoke very unfavorably about the Ministry of Agriculture and the Minister of Agriculture, one of the hardest working individuals in this country [clapping] and I could tell you that as a matter of fact because I have worked with the Minister of Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture. But Mr. Speaker, I do not have to leave this room and go and do a research to find the track record of the New Democratic Party on agriculture. I do not have to go far and wide to search because it is easy. It was under the New Democratic administration that Diamond Diary was closed, but I did not hear the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines speak about this; it was under that administration that the oil factory was closed. It was under the NDP administration that four out of five of the Arrowroot Factories were closed. So, when the issue100of closing down and opening as it pertains to the agriculture sector is being mentioned the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines..., in an honest manner...,HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: [Inaudible].HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: thank you, Mr. Speaker, would have drawn a comparative analysis as to what would have pertained under the New Democratic Party in all these closings and I will read them out again: Diamond Diary - closed; Coconut Oil Factory and this touches the corn of the farmers in the rural areas. Mr. Speaker, I recall as a child growing up, the art of coconut peeling was a profession, they had a man in every village you know him as the coconut peeler, and persons would go to the area where the coconut peeler is and they would stack sacks of shells to go home and bake on a weekend but the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines failed to place this in the context of his presentation. He said he did not know ... He said ... and I agree with you [interjection] yes, but if you do not know do not speak on it and do not try to sound authoritative on an issue. [Interjection] If I know the grape fruit peeler, [laughter] the grape fruit peeler [laughter]DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: If the Honourable Member will give way. [Laughs]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: I do not know what the Prime’s Minister reference is to Toronto; but you know it seems to me he has to stop ‘disin’ the Diaspora in this Honourable House; you know every time he comes here he tries to remind me that I was in Toronto and then he goes to New York and he goes to Toronto and he tries to hob nob with the people up there to make them feel that they are a part of the country. Is either you think that they are worth something or do not talk about them; you ‘disin’ the Diaspora.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: [Inaudible] [laughter] HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, could you continue, I believe the HonourableMembers was just being jovial really. HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Yes! Yes! And I take it in good spirit. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Right.HONOURABLE SABOTO CEASAR: Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is working extremely hard and I say extremely hard taking into context that we are living in challenging times. And mention was made, Mr. Speaker, of the price for fertilizer and I recall an advocate for the Opposition to this administration said openly; he said that only one tranche of fertilizer will ever come at $55.00 per sack, but Mr. Speaker, tranches has already come and it will continue. When you go to St Lucia and they ask you about the price for fertilizer in St Vincent and the Grenadines and he tells them it is $55.00 per sack they ask if you are speaking about half101sack, I say no! A whole sack for $55.00 because the price for fertilizer in Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada and the other Caribbean Islands is extremely expensive and we have decided that we will be selling the fertilizer at half price to assist our farmers and it goes an extremely long way in many areas, in many of the farming districts [knocking on desk] throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines.Mr. Speaker, mention was also made of the Black Belly Sheep being brought in from Barbados. I did not hear this when the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines when he spoke but our analysis should be honest and holistic; 85 Black Belly Sheep did not just show up on the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines just like that. This is not a joke; they did not swim across, it is a serious matter. We studied and we analyze exactly what was going on and we decided to see how best we can support our small farmers and the first set of animals which came in will be distributed next week to small farmers: sustainable alternative livelihood because this is an encouragement, an incentive to ensure that our farmers they see hope, promise and vision. And you know I was listening to ... in passing a radio station and you know what the Talk Show host was saying: “What one sheep could do?” But you see is the principle, it is the principle. “What one sheep could do?” But I spoke to the Chief Agriculture Officer and he said that most of the animals here already have had lambs since they came across, and we are seeking to purchase a total of 500 animals. We got 85 already and we will deal with commercial farmers at a different level but we want to ensure that those persons on the Sustainable Alternative Livelihood Programme; those persons who we meet every weekend when I visit Fancy. Last weekend, I was in Rose Hall, the weekend before that after church, I had to go to Petit Bordel and I have to come to Lowmans and Vermont because government is serious business. And whilst I would joke outside of this parliament, we must take this nation and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and give them their due respect; it is not a joke.Mr. Speaker, the issue of praedial larceny continues to be a troubling issue and during the course of last year on the Legislative Agenda we would have passed legislation for the prevention of theft of animals and produce and this year during the course of this year I know that the farmers in St Vincent and the Grenadines, be it in South Central, North Central, North Windward on the Leeward side of the Island that they would welcome the implementation and operationalisation of this legislation. Mr. Speaker, as I bring my address to a close, I will begin on the same note that I started that if we are to look to the outer world where things may look gloomy and things may look dark and if we are to sit here and do nothing we will all die. This Budget presented by the Honourable Prime Minister is an excellent budget; it is a budget that takes into consideration the poor, the working class people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the vulnerable within the context of taking the entire nation into consideration. Mr. Speaker, I am most ... I am certain that despite the challenges in the international world may persist into 2010 that with the prudent implementation of these policies and programmes that I am certain that the love of God will continue to shine upon us as a people.Mr. Speaker, we are a people of significant achievement and this administration has proven and will continue to prove especially through this Budget that we can weather any storm even though there are some who look to it and look to the circumstances in utter despair. Mr. Speaker, I commend this Budget [applause] for a safe passage through this Honourable House. I thank you. [Applause]102HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Further debate; any further debate on the Bill? Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, we had a long and mainly fruitful day [knocking of gavel] tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, as I indicated we will finish a little earlier 7:45 the latest to facilitate Sir Dwight Venner, the Governor of the Central Bank who is on his radio broadcast: radio and TV and who would have an interactive discussion with the people in the sub-region including here. We start tomorrow again at 9:00HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: At 8:00 o’clock.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: That starts at 8:00 o’clock tomorrow evening.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Oh, I thought we start at 8:00 tomorrow morning.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: We could do that, Mr. Speaker, [laughs] I beg to move Mr. Speaker that this Honourable House do stand suspended until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.Question put and agreed to House suspended at 9:06 p.m.103