Mon. 25th Oct., 2010

No. 9 Fifth Session Eighth ParliamentMonday 25th October, 2010Prayers Obituaries Congratulatory Remarks Confirmation of the Minutes Statements by Ministers Papers Questions for Oral Answers Orders of the Day Motion SuspensionSAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) ADVANCE COPY OFFICIAL REPORT CONTENTS Monday 25th October 20101THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATESOFFICIAL REPORTPROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE NINTH 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.FOURTEENTH SITTING 25TH OCTOBER 2010HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYThe Honourable House of Assembly met at 10:20 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber, Court House, Kingstown.PRAYERS MR. SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR Honourable Hendrick Alexander Present MEMBERS OF CABINETPrime Minister, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, National Security, Grenadines and Legal Affairs Dr. the Honourable Ralph GonsalvesAttorney General Honourable Judith Jones-MorganDeputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Honourable Louis StrakerMinister of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Gender Affairs, Non-Governmental Organisations, Local Government, Persons with Disabilities, Youths and SportsHonourable Michael BrowneMember for Central WindwardMember for Central LeewardMember for West St. George2Minister of EducationHonourable Girlyn Miguel Minister 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 ThompsonHonourable Conrad SayersMinister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Physical Planning Lands and Surveys Honourable Saboto CaesarHonourable Julian FrancisMinister of State in the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Gender Affairs, Non-Governmental Organisations Relations, Persons with Disabilities, Youth and Sports Honourable Cecil MckieParliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Honourable Michelle FifeMember for Marriaqua Member for South LeewardMember for West Kingstown Member for East St. GeorgeMember for North WindwardMember for North LeewardMember for Central Kingstown/ Deputy SpeakerGovernment Senator Government Senator3Government SenatorHonourable Arnhim EustaceDr. the Honourable Godwin Friday 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 SenatorMember for South Central WindwardMember for South WindwardMinister of Rural Transformation, Information, Postal Service and Ecclesiastical Affairs Honourable Selmon WaltersMinister of Tourism Honourable Glen BeacheOTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEABSENT4ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY MONDAY 25TH OCTOBER, 2010PRAYER HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Let us pray.Honourable Hendrick Alexander read the prayers of the House of Assembly. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Pray be seated.OBITUARIES HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for East St. George.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I just want to acknowledge the passing of one whom, I believe as the oldest living person at the time, Mrs. Beatrice Caine who died at the age of 106, just under two weeks ago. On behalf of myself and constituents of East St. George and the rest of this Parliament, I would like to acknowledge [A PAUSE]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Minister take your seat and let us just sort this out.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the passing of the late Mrs. Beatrice Caine and want to express our deepest condolences to bereaved family and pray that her soul may rest in peace. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for North Leeward.HONOURABLE DR. JERROL THOMPSON: I rise to bring condolences to the family of Fred Beache Donnelly Providence who passed last month. He was a true son of Troumaca; a favourite son. And he hails from a family that continues to make a significant mark on the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He was as they say an early protégée of the Alfonso Dennie who was at the time principal of the West Wood Government School, and in those days it was rare when rural persons won a scholarship to go to the Boys’ Grammar School. But, he then embarked on a long history of public service in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He would later become the youngest Accountant General here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1978 and later the Director of Audit from 1981, to 1998 a total of 17 years. He has spanned the careers of many like Michael Da Silva, Monty Maule, Reggie Thomas of the NIS and others. He had six girls, but was the father of many. And he not only made Troumaca proud, I think that in view of his achievements he certainly made St. Vincent and the Grenadines proud.page5image196405I also take the opportunity to extend my deepest condolence on the passing of Lucille Antoine of Chateaubelair another humble benevolent, strong, royal lady. She was the mother of ULP, I would say, in Sharpes, Chateaubelair, and she would be solely missed and I ask too that she rests in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for West Kingstown.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise on this occasion to pay brief tribute to Miss Sylvia Wilson, on behalf of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and particularly on behalf of the Carnival Development Corporation and Carnival Bands Association. Most people would remember her as a very lively individual always ready to give assistance anywhere. She was particularly affiliated with Edison Sheggie John and her last portrayal I think was as individual of the band when she won Individual of the Year with Moon Goddess from the presentation Legend of the Cou Cou Macka.In the United States where she spent her later years, she was always present at Café Omar to greet me on my arrival there when we were promoting the carnival in New York City. Ms. Wilson served as a Carnival Administrator in the late 1960’s and 1970’s and was the first Chairperson of the Carnival Queen Pageant Committee, the forerunner of the beauty shows committee, in 1973 when the Carnival Development Committee was established. Many persons paid tribute to her at Requiem Mass which was held in her memory and I wish to let her family and friends know that she would be deeply missed. Her contribution to the carnival culture of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been indelibly marked the books of history when the CDC took the decision to name the Junior Band of the Year title in honour of Sylvia V. Wilson in the year 2005. May she rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for Central Kingstown.HONOURABLE CONRAD SAYERS: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to make expressions of condolences. First I want to associate myself with the sentiments of condolence expressed on behalf of Fred Providence and the late Sylvia Wilson. I know both of them having outstanding performance in St. Vincent Netball and so forth.Mr. Speaker, I really want to however focus on the sad lost of the late Derron Jack, son and only child of Tyrone and Johann Jack of Level Gardens. Mr. Speaker, this young man left St. Vincent three years ago, on a tennis scholarship to the Virginia State University. When I heard the news on the 5th of October, Mr. Speaker, it brought a tremendous shock and sadness to me. Few deaths hit me that hard, I sat on the platform at Paul’s Avenue and I took a few minutes to bring myself together. I saw him as a young man growing up, and I knew that he had a lot of promise.He was born on the 25th of August, 1987, he was given a tennis scholarship to study Civil Engineering, and was to graduate in December of this year. Derron, Mr. Speaker, has always been known to be a genuine young man. He gives, and gives, and gives. I tried my best to bring some consolation to the parents but I know it would take some time before they can get over this. I must say I am proud at the way they are handling it; even though pain is dwelling within their heart. The comfort of God is evident in their hearts. Derron was struck down by someone who could not show an apparent motive at this time, Mr. Speaker. But we know he had a lot of home and he had already started winning successes for his university, and we were hoping for him to get back here, to6do the same for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Fortunately, a tennis tournament was named in his honour and we are hoping that here in St. Vincent something similar would be done by those authorities within the sport. Mr. Speaker, it is with that depth of grief and concern that I wish the parents God’s best comfort and blessing at this time of their sadness and bereavement. I thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Member for East Kingstown.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to express condolences in respect of three persons, Mr. Fred Providence, who like myself a public servant for many, many years, a civil servant. I must say I think I knew him for all of my life, but I was very impressed with him as a civil servant in this country and the contribution he made particularly in areas on the financial side of government business, both in his capacity as Accountant General and also as Director of Audit. He was a person of great integrity and he spoke his mind and he acted and performed as a public servant always seeking truth in his matter that he dealt with. And over the years my respect for him had grown and it is really sad to hear that he has passed. I want to say to his family we offer them our condolences.I also wish to make reference to Sylvia Da Silva who someone I have known also for many years, and I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the Minister of Culture with respect to her contribution to carnival and also the assistance that she has provided over the years for various causes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from her home in the United States and even on her visits here. Once again to her family I want to express our condolences.Mr. Speaker, David Thompson the Prime Minister of Barbados passed away a few days ago and I want on this occasion to extend condolence to the Government and people of Barbados and also to Mara Thompson and the children on his passing.I recall very vividly, Mr. Speaker, when I went to Barbados to live in the late 1970’s, David Thompson then a teenager and a young teenager at that was on television virtually every Sunday evening, because they used to have debates among the schools on television, and even at that age he was outstanding. I mean, he was a household name in Barbados in late 1970’s when he participated for the Lodge School, I think, in those debates. It was clear to me even then that he would end up in politics. And he pursued his career with that in mind. And eventually at a very relative young age he became Prime Minister of Barbados. He has passed on now at the age of 48 and I simply wish formally on behalf of the New Democratic Party to express our condolences to his family and to the Government and people of Barbados and to the Democratic Labour Party. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator Leacock.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to identify with the several messages of condolence that have been indicated by members before me and I just want to add to that long list the names of Jeff Providence former manager of Building and Loan, Jean Anderson who was once a relative of Kerwin Morris, deceased as well, who was once a teacher at the Grammar School, we thought there together. Danny St. John, who was a popular figure around and assisted in football among other activities, my own cousin Rosita Snagg of Murray’s Village was also a domestic at my home before she7went to Marketing Corporation. Jericho John from Evesham, whose family is distinguished number of sons. In fact, his daughter worked at the Employers’ Federation at one time as a relief worker and yesterday I think the manager of the Employers’ Federation and I find of course as has been expressed by the Prime Minister of Barbados, I need not repeat the condolences message of my own leader. May they all, Mr. Speaker, rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the obituaries today are predominantly those relating to persons who have served the public, served the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the region. In addition, to Fred Providence and David Thompson, there is Sir Vincent Floissac, former Chief Justice, distinguished legal luminary, Vin Douglas, popularly known as Dillinger in Layou, and he was an interesting argumentative doer in heaven, himself and Fred Providence, an accounting matters and dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’; very much of the old school. John Saunders.Mr. Speaker, I identify with all the tributes paid, of those who have gone before in this Honourable House to speak on the various individuals. And I want to focus mainly on Sir Vincent Floissac and David Thompson about whom nothing has yet been said by this Honourable House, well save and except in relation to the Leader of the Opposition with David Thompson.But before I do so, Mr. Speaker, I would never forget when Fred Providence was Director of Audit I went into the Registry, practicing as a lawyer and I saw a lady who was in charge of the Cash Desk, and she was working later than usual, fine public servant, a woman, and she was saying to me, I am trying to find four cents, and I said why don’t you simply put the four cents, rather than waste all this time, no, no, you cannot put the four cents because Fred Providence would want to know where the four cents went, for you to be able to put it. And I met Fred, who was my good friend, I said, why do you put so much effort into what is something minimal, he said it might be four cents today, it might be $4,000.00 tomorrow, it might be $40,000.00 the next day. So they have to find out where they got it wrong an early lesson for me in the workings of the Director of Audit. He was a splendid gentleman and I am really sorry that he has gone to the great beyond. We all have to go but... you know, and when you see persons who were at the Grammar School with you and even a couple of years ahead of you, you would be insensitive if you do not consider your own mortality; because you may not be yet in the taxi on the way to the departure lounge of life but the taxi is probably somewhere around the corner. You are hoping of course that it would be as long delayed as possible but it naturally comes to you.Mr. Speaker, Sir Vincent Floissac is arguably the most outstanding jurist that I have ever appeared before in my 20 odd years at the active bar. And I have read judgments over the last ten years, important judgments, quality judgments, but I do not think that we have seen, certainly in the last 30 years, anything of the quality of Sir Vincent Floissac. Fine mind, lucid in his reasoning, concise judgments, beautiful and elegant language a truly great Chief Justice. And some of his judgments when he sat on the Privy Council are still being quoted extensively across the Commonwealth.David Thompson was my friend. I knew David since he was a schoolboy, because I went to work in Barbados in 1976, and I have seen him grow. He had a sharp intellect, a splendid wit, a man who loved to give you political anecdotes, a raconteur of the highest quality. Full of stories, some of them not experienced by him but8told to him by giants, like Errol Walton Barrow and Cameron Tudor. You know there is one of my favourites is, and it was confirmed to me by Owen Arthur, who was just been named Leader of the Opposition, shortly before David’s death. This is when Errol Barrow had his second coming as Prime Minister, and Richie Haynes was Minister of Finance. And Owen Arthur was given the task really to reply and to [and] confront Richie Haynes’ budget. And Errol Barrow was to speak just before Richie Haynes and he decided to take on Owen Arthur, and the story is that, it is true, that he said that the people of Barbados have to choose between two opinions of this budget. One opinion championed by Errol Barrow, a graduate of the London School of Economics, and who would have been the Father of Independence. They have to choose between that view and a young man from St. Peter, who came to the House by way of Cave Hill. He said who are you going to choose, somebody who graduated from Cave Hill or somebody from the London School of Economics. And as Owen himself would confirm, he said, the debate was over, because the people of Barbados accepted Barrow’s view of the matter.Now they are tall stories, I would really miss him. I got to know his family, I know his mother from my days in Barbados, and she is still alive, I did not know his father, but I have heard of his father. I know his children. And it is a very painful thing. They lose, as a wife you lose your husband at 48, with young children, it is a terrible thing. And here is a young man who spent on his life going for the prize of Prime Minister, work his way for it. Got it for a couple of years and then this debilitating illness took it away from him.People of this region do not pay sufficient attention to the pressures on political leaders and the matter of their health. It is something which we all have to reflect on and to see what provisions can be made. There are some who say why should the leaders have health protection, health care, well, any half decent company in Kingstown will have that. But we do not have this here inside of the House unless a special provision is made for by the government, because there is no health scheme of a contributory kind between the government which is our employer, the people and the Parliamentarians themselves. Imagine you are sick and you have to pay for all your medical attentions. It is a terrible thing, unless the government makes a special provision for you. A void has been left in Barbados and the region, it is not easy to fill. I worked with David very closely on LIAT and on CSME issues. We were working together on CLICO and British American Insurance issues, I know his successor, whom I congratulate in this process, who is an experienced politician, but you cannot go to the supermarket and buy a leader as you would buy a box of Wheata Bix, and we have to feel for the people of Barbados at this time. They are strong people and they will see through it with fortitude. On behalf of the Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and my own behalf and that of my family, I express deepest condolences to the Government and People of Barbados, and to his widow and children, his parents and his extended family. May his soul rest in peace. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, for Central Leeward.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: I would like to associate myself with the remarks of condolences offered on behalf of those who have passed the scene by my colleagues here but I rise particularly to offer words of commendation and condolence to one who died on the 30th of September, and known throughout the length and breadth of this country, Vince Gat Dillinger Douglas he was my cousin, his mother being Elaine Straker, my aunt, he was my constituent. Those who know Dillinger very well, know that he has given many years of excellent service of this country. I was asked to do the eulogy, and John Horne his good friend was9asked to pay tribute and John Horne said in his tribute, this is one of the greatest omissions that either the previous government or us in office has done in not giving recognition in a formal way to the service given by Vince Gat Douglas to this country. He worked for many years from Grammar School, the Ministry of Communications and Works as it was then called, but far many more years in the Treasury.Long before there was a computer he was referred to as the human computer, because they said long columns of figures he would stay there and add them up in no time. And he was so committed and dedicated to his work that he never left his desk until every penny was accounted for, just as was mentioned of Fred Providence. Maybe they are from the same school. And even though his social life had to be curtailed, he would stay at his desk and help others make sure that the books were balanced before he left his office. I think he has made a tremendous contribution to the Treasury in terms of a role model, to younger workers, by the efficiency of his work and the fact that he was always punctual. He was known as the old man who drove a Moke when he moved back to Layou, and it was said that if you ask him for a ride he would not deny you but if it rains he was not going to stop anywhere for either you or him to shelter, because he had to be on the job on time. So he would rather get there soaked than to be late. And he was always on the job.There is much that I can say, but there are some tidbits that I would like to mention they said he was one of the greatest dancers. Our Fred Astaire, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with his girlfriend at the time, and it is said that his name should be mentioned in the hall of fame in places of Habour Club, Aquatic Club, Peace Memorial Hall, those who were much younger would stand by the side and see all his moves, so that when they get home they would be able to practice those moves, Vince’s moves on the dance floor. Later when he retired, he was even called back in the Treasury to work because his efficiency. He was asked to return to the Treasury for a year or two in order to help the young staff in showing them how to perform their job.Mr. Speaker, he was never married, but he had one daughter whom he named after him Vince Gat Douglas, she is a teacher at the Questelles Government School, and his companion Eleanor Scarborough and of course, many, many relatives, and I can say that is the whole of Vermont Village, having come from the Straker family, every family up there probably is a relative of his and the Douglas Family in Layou and elsewhere. His passing is a great loss not only to the community of Layou but to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, he would always be remembered with great affection for the role he has played and the contribution he has made. Our sympathy goes out to his companion, his daughter, and other members of the family scattered in the United Kingdom, United States and in various parts of Barrouallie. He would always be remembered as one who has given much but received very little and never expected much in terms of it, his reward is that he has contributed and he has done so with style and contributed to the best of his ability, may his soul rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for West St. George.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, I joined with a number of earlier Honourable Members and I wish to add a few names very briefly. Firstly, in relation to constituents of West St. George, I identified to tributes paid to Fred Providence, Donny St. John, whose contribution towards the development of sports in general, football in particular is well known, Augustus Whippy Ellis, whose funeral I was not able to attend because, because I was attending the funeral for John Saunders, but I had visited the family, I worked very closely with the family in terms of the funeral arrangements, and I indicated to his widow that I would not10be able to attend the funeral on that particular day. Whippy was an iconic village figure and we salute his contribution. By connection to West St. George, Jericho John and mention was made by Senator Leacock the contribution of his children. I want to identify also with the tribute to Jeff Providence, a school mate of mine. He was in Canada when he died, having migrated to that country. When I spoke to our OECS High Commissioner, Brendon Browne, he was in fact visiting the family, so I had an opportunity to speak to Jeffery’s wife and to convey condolences on behalf of the Cabinet, the Government and the People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.I did attend the funeral service for John Saunders representing the government and a number of my colleagues, several of whom were overseas, and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to him that was done extensively by several persons. Just to say, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, that he did have a wonderful farewell service. As you now, he was a retired Public Health Superintendent; he retired in 1974 at the age of 55 having served outstandingly well, in this country. In one of the tributes they noted, “for him it was not simply a job but his duty to see that all was well in the health sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Following the ten years after his retirement, 1974 to 1984 he worked as a first administrator of the National Family Planning Programme, of course, he is the brother, of the renowned Vincentian, educator, Thomas Saunders, after whom the now famous Thomas Saunders School is named, and of course he is the father of the CEO of the CWSA Garth Saunders.Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I too, join the comments of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition with regard to David Thompson. I did not know him very well, I knew him occasionally when we came into contact and the last time I saw him was Sunday July, 6th when I was invited to attend the Sagicor Cricket High Performance Centre at University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. He came to that opening he was really moving slowly, he had lost a lot of weight and when he got up to speak, you could see he was under duress and he was really drawing on all his inner strengths, but despite his discomfort, he went up and he spoke to pay tribute to two Caribbean institutions, namely cricket, and the University of the West Indies, which were conjoined in this venture of the Sagicor Cricket High Performance Centre. And he began in his typical witty style. He said, that I am Deputizing for the Deputy, apparently the Deputy Prime Minister should have been there, he could not come, he told him that he could not make it, and then he came and was deputizing for him. Our heartfelt pain goes out to his family, his young family and the people and Government of Barbados. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.CONGRATULATIONS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for Marriaqua.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate three of our secondary schools who continued to do very well in their examinations and they are the Girls’ High School, St. Vincent Grammar School and St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown. I want at this time to mention in particular, the St. Vincent’s Girls’ High School because of the many names that I shall call to congratulate at this time. Thirteen out of the 18 of them would have come from the St. Vincent Girls’ High School, and it is something to remember in this time as you celebrate 100 years of existence.page11image3010411Firstly, I would look at the names of the seven national scholars. In the number 1 position is Shannell Clarke of the Girls’ High School, Natural Sciences. Javille Parris, St. Vincent Grammar School, Natural Sciences; Jacintha Browne, Girls’ High School Humanities; Esron John, St. Vincent Grammar School, Social Sciences; Omar Malcolm, St. Vincent Grammar School, Natural Sciences; Jeneel Dennie, Girls’ High School, Natural Sciences; Jeneel Da Silva, Girls’ High School, Natural Sciences.These five are the recipients of the National Exhibition Awards, Calisia Glasgow, St. Joseph’s Convent, Kingstown, Social Sciences. Shaneise Thompson, Girls’ High School, Social Sciences; Jenel Williams, Girls’ High School, Social Sciences; Amanda De Freitas, Girls’ High School, Social Sciences; Casika Hutchins, Girls’ High School, Humanities.These three are the recipients of the Science Scholarships, Ronnel Buntin, Girls’ High School, Natural Sciences; Sherina Slater, Girls’ High School, Natural Sciences; Asford Stephens, St. Vincent Grammar School, Natural Sciences.The recipients of the bursaries are as follows Canisha Da Silva, Girls’ High School, Social Sciences; Stacy Griffith, Girls’ High School, Social Sciences; Jeneel Ryan, Girls’ High School, Humanities. Congratulations to the staff and also to the parents who would have made their sacrifices to help our children. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator Mc Kie.HONOURABLE CECIL MC KIE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer congratulations to a number of our sportsmen and women who have performed well and done us proud over the past weeks. First of all, I extend congratulations to the St. Vincent and Grenadines Football Federation, and our senior national football team, Vincy Heat, for performing well in the recently held Digicel Caribbean Cup zone held here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We recently thought that they would have topped the group, but with their calculation as established by FIFA they came out in second position. However, they will go on to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the second leg of the Digicel Cup most likely in Trinidad and Tobago. The team is a young team and offers a lot of potential for good performances in the future, and we will continue to identify with them and congratulate them as they go along.I would also like to extend congratulations to Genita Lewis, for medaling once more for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the recently concluded Huntsman’s game in the USA. She would have participated in these games two previous years and would have done well, and this year, I think the competition was a lot stiffer and as a result instead of coming back with a goal medal, she did last year she came back with silver in the shot-put and discus, however, she would have qualified to participate in the World Games which will be held later this year, World Masters and Senior Olympics, both in the USA in 2011. Congratulations are in order to Genita and of course a lot of us would wish that we were performing as well as she is at this particular point in time.I also would like to offer congratulations to Natasha Myers the sprint queen of the region and of the Commonwealth. I think Natasha is now not only the toast of St. Vincent and the Grenadines but of the entire region for coming out in the gold medal position at the recently held Commonwealth Games in India. We all know that Natasha had her own challenges but she would have shown tremendous inner strength and discipline12and she would have worked hard to maintain her form over the years and once again she is at the top of her game in the Commonwealth. Congratulations to Natasha. It is for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that the Ministry of Sports and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we have decided that we will redouble our efforts to ensure that we produce a lot more Natasha’s to make this nation proud.We are looking at restructuring the National Sports Council, to incorporate coaches, to assist with the development of our athletes both at the schools level and to assist the National Associations with their own development programmes. We also have very much high on the agenda for 2011 the construction of phase 1 of the national stadium project which will cater for athletics, track and field, football and possibly cycling. And we also have on top of our agenda as well, the construction of indoor facilities to cater for the indoor sporting facilities for the young men and women of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Again congratulations to all of these persons who would have participated well in the regional and international events. Thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I recognize the Honourable Member for the Southern Grenadines.HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. I wish to join with the Honourable Minister of Education and Honourable Minister of Sports in identifying with the congratulatory remarks made to the various persons in particular the national scholars, those who won in the respective areas and along with the Minister of Sports also to mention the name Natasha Myers for overcoming all odds and achieving that remarkable feat for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Mr. Speaker, I also wish to congratulate Vincy Heat for continuing to play good football and let us wish them all the best in the finals.I also wish to take this time to congratulate Ms Genie Douglas better known as ‘Tant Genie’ who celebrated her 100th birthday on the 27th September, this year. The celebrations were held at the Roman Catholic Church and indeed it was a community event. People as far as mainland St. Vincent, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island were there at the mass to celebrate with her and the family. Many people came to see who they term to be a local hero. Indeed I think she was the second person in Union Island who would have lived to see 100 years, we had Tanty Ma who had lived to be 105. Tant Genie she is a pleasant woman, kind-hearted, always smiling. Much kudos are given to her daughter-in-law who have over the years taken good care of her and she attributed her long life to the blessings from her God and the good food which she would have had over the years also, the coocoo and the wango with the ohrach and fresh fish. Some of which she advised me that along with the blessings I would have received and still receiving from my maker to try these local dishes and maybe who knows I may hit the mark too. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for Central Kingstown.HONOURABLE CONRAD SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to gladly associate myself with the remarks of congratulations made on behalf of the students, the various scholars, and wish that they would continue to progress and achieve more and more for themselves and this country. I must observe, Mr. Speaker, that one would wish that there would have been a greater spread to the schools, but I think the way things are going; this is not too long in coming. I also like to associate with the remarks on behalf of those persons who did well in the area of athletics namely, Mrs. Genita Lewis, a well known veteran in the area of athletics. And not entirely a new kid on the block but an emerging athlete in Natasha Myers, who has done us very proud by13bringing home the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games held in Indian. Mr. Speaker, these are indeed outstanding feats and we must all feel proud especially as we celebrate our 31st anniversary of independence.However, Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay some attention to something that we dare not take for granted, the performance of the Leader of this House, and Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves who has written two very outstanding books and we need to recognize that. Outstanding, Mr. Speaker, not just from any personal literature review I may have done, from the responses of those who have read it, scrutinize it, analyze it, and come up with the assessment that it is a remarkable piece of work. First of all ‘The Diary of a Prime Minister - 10 Days Among Benedictine Monks’ in Trinidad and Tobago, this is a book that obviously focus on the Prime Minister’s spiritual inclination and experiences and has served as an inspiration for many in public life, and people in general. And Mr. Speaker, ‘The Making of the Comrade’, and book that tells you of his struggle and the events and experiences that shaped and moulded him to become the dynamic and outstanding leader he has become, not only to us in St. Vincent and the Grenadines but in the region and as we have seeing lately, throughout the world. Mr. Speaker, it is only one whose heart is full of malice, and falsehood would say otherwise, as it is often said ‘give jack his jacket’. And the work of the Prime Minister would go down in history as a remarkable piece of literature for scholars, young scholars, as classical literature that will inspire everyone who took the time to read it, to contemplate on it and they can learn a lot about leadership, about endurance, about perseverance, and about service. Mr. Speaker, may these works continue to enlighten and inspire generations to come both here, in the region and throughout the world. I thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for Northern Grenadines.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I too associate myself with the comments of congratulations to the students who won the awards in the Ministry of Education, and wish them well in their continued academic advancement. I also wish to congratulate Natasha Myers on her wonderful achievement of a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and I am sure this would be an inspiration to young athletes who are always in training here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you never know how far they actually can reach given the limitations that we have here. Well you can see from her performance that you can get to the top.Mr. Speaker, I also wish to congratulate all of those students, secondary school students who participated in the recently concluded Public Speaking Competition that was organized by the Lion’s Club. I think we all can agree that those of us who watched it in the audience or on television that the youngsters all did extremely well. I was very, very impressed with the performances and the poise that they all showed and I am sure that their teachers who helped to prepare them. Their schools from which they came would all be proud irrespective of where they placed in the competition I, in particular, which to congratulate the overall winner, Mr. Chizel Walker, who was outstanding in the competition and who was rewarded with the overall prize on winning all of the various components of the competition.Young Mr. Walker is not only just a very good public speaker, he is also a brilliant student at the St. Vincent Grammar School, he is a classmate of my son, they travel on the boat together from Bequia, and so I know a little about him, and I think that his family, his parents and grandparents are justifiably proud of his wonderful accomplishment and his school I am sure is delighted with his performance. Mr. Speaker, we look forward to14great things from him. He is in From 5 now, and I am sure looking forward to the upcoming CXC exams and we wish him all the best in his continued studies at the Grammar School and future endeavours. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator Leacock.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, our Parliament is meeting a few days before our country celebrates its independence, and as I did last year, I want to offer congratulations to our nation state and to reflect on the importance of the occasion, Mr. Speaker. There is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, that this is our last parliamentary session before elections and that when independence is celebrated next year, it would be differently configured, and so there is some history to today’s meeting, well the configuration I speak of Mr. Speaker, and the certainty is that eight of my colleagues on the other side will not be here. And I wish them well in their deserved retirement. But that is not the discussion for today, Mr. Speaker.Mr. Speaker, the very way in which we will celebrate our or have been celebrating our independence has become a matter for some discussion. In that, in that some quarters the emphasis on the military parade is not favoured. It is a debate in which, does have its own merit, and some of us may have different persuasion. Be that as it may, Mr. Speaker, those of us who have been on that parade square and those of us who will be there on Wednesday to witness the celebration of this country’s independence would no doubt appreciate that we are looking, in many respects at the best of what St. Vincent has to offer those who very early in their lives at a formidable stage and others by deliberate professional choice are putting the service of this nation before self. Something quite clearly that our country deserves.If I may depart tangentially to make another point, when we listen today at our obituaries and our congratulations it should remind us Mr. Speaker, that it is in fact, would not be too difficult for us to augment the current way in which we celebrate national independence by on that day recognizing all those outstanding individuals in sports, in culture, in business, in academia, political life, who have been standard bearers for this country and perhaps next year we may so do. But personally, Mr. Speaker, for one who was on parade 31 years ago and 31 years after have temperate privilege to be in the Parliament, I view these parades when I look at the Cubs, the Boys Scouts, the Girl Guides are always outstanding, of course, Mr. Speaker. The Cadets and in particular the female guard which I recall with pride came into being in 1975 when I was Commandant of the Cadets, the Auxiliary Police Force that moved into ceremonial uniforms during my tenure of Commandant of the Auxiliary Police and even the wearing of skirts by the Auxiliary Police Women.The Coast Guard Service, Mr. Speaker, a favourite of those looking at the parade, I recall when I asked, I was at the Grammar School then, as Commandant of the Cadets, when David Robin was asked to leave the school to form the Coast Guard, in 1981, I think it was, along with another three members. They gave me a great sense of pride Mr. Speaker, that whatever may be our differences in the political world, Mr. Speaker, that as I have said repeatedly we are still at that juncture in our history where the things that unite us as a nation are still greater than those that divide us. I want therefore in advance of Wednesday’s parade, Mr. Speaker, while we are still able to be sober to congratulate all troops that would be on parade.15I think the Cadets will have 75 years of activities sometime next year, and I think that would be a very big event for them. They are still hoping to have a home for the Cadets, something I think we should have no divide on in this Parliament but I certainly hope, Mr. Speaker, that and let me say it, Mr. Speaker, that we are in fact celebrating independence, there may well be a day when that is not the big parade or the big event because before that there was Queen’s Birthday Parade which used to be the big event, replaced by independence, it may well be one day, Republic Day. We never know how life and societies progress but for the time being it is our independence parade. I simple want to close to say that there is much to learn when we look at the honour, pride and the dignity of those who wear the uniform, because Mr. Speaker, it tells a story of valour and character that never leaves such individuals. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.CONFIRMATION OF THE MINUTES DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move theconfirmation of the minutes of this Honourable House held on the 30th of August 2010.Question put and agreed to. STATEMENT BY THE SPEAKERHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable members, I only wish to state that the Honourable Senator Julian Francis has indicated that he would not be able to attend Parliament today because of certain circumstances. The Honourable Selmon Walters and the Honourable Glen Beache are out of state on official business. That is it I think.STATEMENT BY MINISTERS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I have two brief statements to make one regarding the current status of the negotiations for the divestment of 51% of the shareholding of the National Commercial Bank and the second regarding of the policy of the government in respect of graduate entry of persons into the police force.Mr. Speaker, there are several questions on the Order Paper in relation to the National Commercial Bank and the divestment, and I would not want to traverse the terrain on more than one occasion. What I should do, Mr. Speaker, is present some information which would not be required to give, precisely in relation to the answers to the questions which are on the Order Paper. And to say by way of background, Mr. Speaker, that the National Commercial Bank was established in June 1977 with a stated capital of $14 million. To date the bank has experienced moderate growth in its asset base, averaging 7% between 2003 and 2008 and peaking at 15% inpage16image22848 page16image23008 page16image23168162007. In accordance with the regulatory requirements, which I have addressed in this Honourable House a minimum tier 1 capital of 8% of risk weighted assets is expected to be maintained.In a Memorandum of Understanding with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank dated March 2003, we decided to initiate steps to augment the capital base of the bank. The Board of Directors in 2003 implemented a policy of dividend retention, and as a result of the boards decision the tier 1 capital rose in excess of the regulatory requirements. Mr. Speaker, as I had pointed out earlier, the current tier 1 capital is in the region of 18%. But even though you satisfy the adequacy of the capital ratios, the question of the sufficiency in regards to providing significant loans, would still be limited because of the insubstantial capital base even though it is satisfied that the adequacy tier 1 capital requirements. In the past the bank has explored in some cases tentatively, in other cases more seriously, to augment its capital base by seeking strategic alliances with larger regional commercial banks and or divestment of majority ownership.The recent global economic downturn and attendant universal upheaval in the financial industry has once again elevated the issue of the capital adequacy of financial institutions to a high level of high priority and similarly its sufficiency. As we are aware a number of US and UK based banks capital was deemed to be inadequate based on stress tests carried out by regulatory agencies in those countries. Although the ECCB, our Central Bank has not mandated such requirements to date, the challenges facing the financial sector and some of the threats posed to the indigenous banks have been widely acknowledged. In fact, there is a possibility that the Central Bank might soon consider, based on the results of a series of stress tests conducted internally on banks in the Currency Union, for an upward adjustment of the capital requirements to 15%. If they were to even do that we would satisfy those requirements.Now the operating environment given the challenges from outside and given the fact that we have decided at the level of the Monetary Council to seek an amalgamation of indigenous banks and also to seek to provide financial safety nets that we took these two policy limbs of the eight point stabilization and growth programme quite seriously and proceeded to seek very proactively strategic alliances of the kind mentioned earlier and this is so within the context of deepening of the OECS arrangements into an economic union and in the context where we already have a single currency.Mr. Speaker, on the 29th of September, 2010 the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines reached agreement with the Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings on the divestment of 51% of the National Commercial Bank shares for a consideration of EC $42 million. On September 30th a joint press statement was issued with the initial details of this agreement and on 30th of September 2010, heads of agreement was also signed by the Governments of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings and details of both the joint press release and the heads of agreement were circulated to the media.We are now in the process, Mr. Speaker, of concluding all the legal and administrative arrangements to fully complete the transfer of the shares. There are two principal agreements, the sale and purchase agreement and the shareholders agreement. In fact, I have them here, I am going through them finally having done so earlier in the week, last week, they are now being finalized by the legal teams and all the personnel involved. The requisite regulatory approvals also are being finalized. They anticipate that all these should be completed and in place by the end of first week of November, but you never know with lawyers, sometime they want to dot an17extra ‘I’ and cross an extra ‘t’ – by which time the transfer date will be agreed. In the meantime of course the bank continues to do business as usual.Mr. Speaker, the benefits to the NCB of up streaming into a larger bank will be garnered in several areas of risks including, governance, access to a larger pool of core resources including funding and support for other cooperate activities. Human resource development, training, risk management capabilities, finance, fund management, marketing operations, systems and procedures and policy development. The provision of the necessary safety nets in event of external shocks, expanding the scope for the growth and the core business and diversification into other sectors of financial services. Localize decision making, which are important for the understanding of the needs of the productive sector that will continue, the productive sectors. Leveraging the strength of the respective boards to create or to be part of a unique strong regional brand and advance the contingency arrangements to negate the corresponding banking risks.Mr. Speaker, these are the basic reasons which have been advanced by the management of the bank and there was a press conference by Mr. Iton and the acting chairman, Mr. Allen. Mr. Speaker, may I say this, on these matters relating to the bank the government has been advised and I personally by three Vincentians I considered to be the best in the business, Andre Iton; Errol Allen, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank; and Mr. Maurice Edwards, a scholar, skilled technocrat, and long standing Director General of Finance and Planning; there are other persons, but those are the three. But, Mr. Speaker, I should point out the Governor of the Central Bank, another Vincentian, Sir Dwight Venner, has already given the endorsement to the public policy which we have adopted. I want to pay tribute to all of those gentlemen. I also wish to pay tribute to the members of the staff. Mr. Speaker, there would be no staff changes, no redundancies. I have already indicated that how the remaining 49%, would be divested. That is to say, the government would hold on initially to 20% and the other 29%, 5% to the National Insurance Services, 4% to members of staff and 20% to the general public.Mr. Speaker, the sale price is what is reflected of the book value, and I have been advised that companies including banks in the region trade more or less at their book values. The company into which has been buying the 51%; their shares are being traded at $13.80, I have been advised per share, these are now being traded from the National Commercial Bank which are being sold 51%, you do the calculation it is 88.24 per share. One expects the value of those remaining shares to go up and the total overall shares of the National Commercial Bank to be valued. I am hoping that when we complete this exercise and the sale is put out to the general public, Vincentians would be properly advised and we intend to carry out a proper education programme, so that the ordinary man, the small man, the man on the street would be able to have an opportunity to buy shares in the bank.Mr. Speaker, there are other statistics which I can address, but they would emerge out of my answer to questions which have been posed by Honourable Members, of this House. I am confident that it is the correct policy within the framework which I have outlined and for the benefits. The bank in 2010, it is bigger better and stronger than 2010, all the data show that and we intend to make it even bigger, better and stronger through this process of incorporation of the Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings, which are buying 51%.Mr. Speaker, may I just make one point so that there can be no query in relation to the National Insurance Services. At the moment, the National Commercial Bank owns 3% of Eastern Caribbean Holdings, and the18National Insurance Services owns 2% so that they have together 5%, simply because you cannot have a subsidiary holding for any period of time beyond the sale of this kind in the parent company, the shares in Eastern Caribbean Holding which is owned by the National Commercial Bank now would be transferred to the National Insurance Services. So they will have 5% therefore in Eastern Caribbean Holdings, and in accordance with the investment guidelines of the National Insurance Services they are not going to be able to hold more than 10% of equity in one company or associated companies and that is why they are being offered 5% of the 49%. So that they will have 10% together in the National Commercial Bank, and its associated holding, the associated entity, that is to say, the parent entity of Eastern Caribbean Holdings.Mr. Speaker, there is one other matter, which I do not think will come up in the answers to be given, it concerns the $100 million which we have negotiated from the Caribbean Development Bank. Mr. Speaker, this is caused some controversy in the general public. I said it once. I said it twice. I said it thrice. I said it several times repeatedly, in this House, at press conferences, at public fora, at public meetings; the $100 million is not new debt. It is the replacement of $160 million, public sector debt, which is lodged at the National Commercial Bank. And it is better arrangement because at the National Commercial Bank on an average, the interest rate is 9% for the public sector loans, not the government loans, but for the government and other public sector entities. We are just replacing $100 million there with the $100 million from the Caribbean Development Bank so that greater liquidity would be provided to the National Commercial Bank with this $100 million and where we would pay 4.5% at the CDB, Caribbean Development Bank rather than at the National Commercial Bank paying 9%.I also, want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the agreement which is being put in writing, is that the properties to the tune of about $37 million or so, Mt. Wynne and the like which were transferred earlier this year to the National Commercial Bank from National Properties will be returned to National Properties when the $100 million move from the Caribbean Development Bank. And I want to say that the Caribbean Development Bank, did not come to us, I went to the Caribbean Development Bank for a Public Policy Loan, PPL this is what it is. The CDB grants loans in relation to policy based arrangements, as distinct from project loans. They have been traditional project loans, you want to build a loan it is a project, the Caribbean Development Banks lends you money. On this occasion and in fact, it is a new instrument for policy based loans and since we know that the Caribbean Development Bank would support a policy, for the strengthening and integration of regional indigenous banks, I went to the Caribbean Development Bank so that we can get that $100 million to replace $100 million at the National Commercial Bank, not new debts, instead it is a swap of the debts. That is what it is, and we pay the Caribbean Development Bank at 4.5% rather than paying the National Commercial Bank at 9%. So I hope I again make that point with absolute clarity, so that there can be no mistake. And I want to say again the Reigate property had never been engaged, never been involved with the sale, never been transferred to the National Commercial Bank.Indeed, the National Commercial Bank had intended to rent one floor of the Reigate property which is owned by the state-owned National Properties, but since the St. Lucian company had come to the National Commercial Bank, and they see that the bank would expand its work, they want to have two of the floors, of the three floors of the Reigate building, therefore it would be more profitable for the Reigate building and the National Properties because there would be enhanced rental. Those are the simple, unvarnished facts of this sale. I am very obliged, Mr. Speaker, on this particular matter.19Mr. Speaker, in relation to the question of the entry of University graduates, into the Police Service at a particular level that came to the fore with the appointment of a young lady, 24, 25 years old Miss Kameisha Blake, as an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Miss Blake is a brilliant, young scholar. First of all, Mr. Speaker, before we get to Miss Blake and her attributes, the Durant Report had advised and recommended that we do like Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad to have university graduates enter the police service at particular levels if they wish so to do. The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines adopted that as a policy position.Miss Kameisha Blake is the first person to be appointed to a position. She was first of all, Mr. Speaker, a year ago, when she graduated with her Master’s degree in forensic psychology, she has a First Class honours degree in psychology, she did a masters degree in forensic psychology, a very brilliant, young woman. She was attached first, as would be in the case of this when you just come on as an Administrative Cadet. But, she wanted to be a member of the Police Force. And we wanted her to be a member of the Police Force to work with the Criminal Investigation Department, the serious crime unit, and to work with the Training Division. And given the fact, that it was an innovation, we wanted to see how she would fit before we actually did the implementation. And all the reports was that she fitted beautifully. A humble young woman, tremendous ability, tremendous integrity, but she was for all purposes public servant and not a police officer. She is now inducted into the Police Force, and she can better serve the police force.You take, Mr. Speaker, if the CID, the serious crimes unit, wants to call her out at 2 o’clock in the morning, on an investigative matter, if she is a public servant, they cannot do that, but when the Superintendent in charge of the serious crimes units summons her, she has to come, because she is a policewoman. What happens in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados, I have been advised, that there are special programmes for training such graduates, in the basic elements of the police, not to put them with the recruits coming in, usually. But there is no full programme for this here, simply because there are not many, so they are mounting a special programme, of course, she can do the drills and those basic formal things, in whatever form or fashion the management of the police decides.Mr. Speaker, the point here, is that one has to be careful how one expands this particular programme. Because you do not want to block all the spaces for police officers, for natural promotion who are in the police force and we have accepted that as part of the policy. But there are one or two areas, like for instance in this area of forensic psychology, where she would be of tremendous assistance in the solving of crimes, particularly serious crimes. There are other areas one can think of possibly in the police force for such entries, in the area of administration, in the area perhaps of Human Resource Development.Mr. Speaker, ideally, if we have a sufficiency of police officers coming through with sufficient rapidity as university graduates it will reduce the need for any such limited numbers to be brought in from outside. We are having a number of graduates already and that is to be welcome in the Police Force. For instance, Frankie Joseph has graduated a year ago in Criminology. I have been advised that he is to assume the leadership in the not too distance future of the National Commission and Crime Prevention and I believe that there is a review and an upgrading in that institution.20Colin John who has performed very well wants to go to the DPP’s Office and in fact he is there now, and a post has to be created in the new Estimates - an additional post for a Crown Counsel to accommodate Colin John, Officer Delplesche who has finished his university degree in Law but who has not gone as yet and I hope he goes off quickly to do his Bar Exams: his professional training whether two years at Hugh Wooding or whether to go back for a year in the United Kingdom, he is currently a Prosecutor and carries the rank of an Inspector. Superintendent Hadaway has graduated in Law and is now doing his Bar finals in England. I think there are about half a dozen other police officers who are overseas doing university training. Officer Ballah has just gone off to do Law, so the numbers are increasing and the Education Revolution has also hit the Police Force [applause].I remember, Mr. Speaker, not too long ago, earlier this year there was a debate, and I remember one and two members of the Opposition had argued that you should have these persons enter: the Graduates, almost in an wholesale manner into the higher ranks of the Police Force and I had made the point that in my judgement that that would be an error that we have to do it in a very balanced and focused way, in order to get the benefits from the specialised training, in specialised areas and Mr. Speaker, that is the position. I should point out that I should discuss the matter and outline it to the leadership of the Police Welfare Association.Mr. Speaker, certain of the details is being fashioned to the broad policy by a special committee of the Cabinet and also with the assistance of Sir Vincent Beache. Unfortunately, Sir Vincent was away and the document is before the Cabinet with all the details and I did not want it dealt with: he is now returned. And that is where we are with this.Mr. Speaker, it is a wonderful thing when we give these young people these opportunities and for them to fly and for them to take part in crime fighting and for the Police Force to be seen as a very respectable institution, a place where you can have a career not where you just go and wait until you are somehow retired and you are just looking for a job, no! To develop the professionalism and the modernisation of the Force and this is what is happening currently with the wide extension of training. I have been advised that between 40% and 50% of the Police Officers are currently engaged in one form of training to upgrade themselves; so that they can go on if they get the opportunity to university to pursue degree training. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.PAPERSHONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to lay on the table of this Honourable House the Financial Statements of the Memorial Hall for December 2005, 2006 and 2007; as well as of the Carnival Development Corporation, as stated on the Order Paper: item Paper No. 4.Carnival Financial Statements for the period 31st August, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and House of Assembly Paper No. 5: a list of Conventions and Recommendations adopted by the ILO for the period October 1996–June 2007. This is in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the ILO that the list must be tabled in our Honourable House.page21image2877621QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERSDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: May I take this opportunity to provide to the Clerk as a gift to this Honourable House, the two books which the Honourable Member for Central Kingstown had made reference to. Permit me.Mr. Speaker, I do not know if my Honourable friends on the Opposition have purchased, if they have not [interjection] well, I will give you; I will give you. This is it, I was not sure if you were purchasing; if you are not purchasing I will organise to provide gifts to each of the Members of the Opposition. I would not want to give you one, if you already gone to buy one but it seems as though ... I do not know if any member has purchased one, if not I shall instruct my staff to get five copies. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (1) Honourable Leader of the Opposition. HONOURABLE ARNIHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 1 standing in my name ofthe Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.1. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition) asked the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries:-Why is the Banana Spray Plane not carrying out spraying activities in accordance with the scheduled requirements for the Black Sigatoka and Leaf Spot disease?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister for Agriculture.HONOURABLE MONTOGOMERY DANIEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to state as a matter of fact, that Black Sigatoka is a Leaf Spot disease; as a matter of fact it is one of the major Leaf Spot diseases in the banana world. Mr. Speaker, there is also Yellow Sigatoka, again another Leaf Spot disease that is found here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but Mr. Speaker, there are some nutritional deficiencies that can be spotted on the leaves of plants which from time to time some farmers represent them as Leaf Spot diseases, I hope in this case that such reference is not being made, therefore I believe that we are talking about Black Sigatoka in this case as a Leaf Spot disease.Mr. Speaker, I want to also mention that there are no prescribed requirements for the control of Black Sigatoka here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Mr. Speaker, what happens is that there is a combination of control: of a control system of this disease by both the Aircraft for aerial spraying as well as by the ground crew for ground spraying. And it all depends, Mr. Speaker, on the level and the growth of infestation of the disease particularly in what field and or what area. Equally, Mr. Speaker, it also depends on the particularly climatic conditions as well as seasonal conditions. In other words, if the season is a dry one the applications required is going to be far less than if the conditions are very rainy and in fact the majority of the spray operations are really being done in the rainy season. And so, Mr. Speaker during this year, like in previous years we in the Ministry of Agriculture would have established approximately four aerial cycles on a yearly basis, but with the pronouncement of Black Sigatoka in St Vincent for this year, the Banana Services Unit would have identified basically for about six spraying cycles for this year for the control of Black Sigatoka.page22image2801622Mr. Speaker, let me indicate that of course, during this year there were some delays in the spraying operations, for the first time we are spraying for Black Sigatoka and so when the Ministry of Agriculture applied for the chemicals we were placed on a waiting list and so that took some time. Equally, when the second cycle of this year started there were some problems with the propeller of the Aircraft and the propeller had to have been sent to a workshop in Miami where it could have been overhauled. This is a requirement of the ECCA (Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority) and the Ministry has to comply. Equally, Mr. Speaker, there is the renewed Certificate of Air Worthiness on a yearly basis and at the time when the propeller was undergoing repairs the time came when the plane was to have been inspected, of course, the plane cannot be air worthy if the propeller is not functioning. And so when the propeller was returned indeed the Aircraft then had to go to Barbados to ensure this certificate. These are some problems that were encountered, and so Mr. Speaker, the Plane is in the air spraying, the Plane has been spraying and so in another week or so the fourth cycle will be starting. I am much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary question Honourable Member?HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Minister has indicated that you can spray in the wet season and the dry season but the spraying required is different. So, it appears to me that there is a requirement for spraying. Are you satisfied therefore with the spraying that has taken place so far this year?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Agriculture.HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Mr. Speaker, in relation to the question as is asked in terms of the requirements, yes the requirements have been met, the Aircraft is in the air spraying, the chemicals are there ...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I think the question is if you are satisfied? HONOURABLE MONTGOMERY DANIEL: Of course, Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied in terms of theoperations that are being done in relation to the control of the disease. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Question No. (2) Honourable Leader of the Opposition.HONOURABLE ARNIHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 2 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.2. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace (Leader of the Opposition), asked the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works:-a. How much money has been disbursed as at the end of September 2010 by BRAGSA for road repairs and maintenance; anda. How much is projected to be spent by year end?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Transport and Works. HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I must say that Iam much delighted that the Honourable Leader of the Opposition has considered it necessary to ask the question23with respect to the Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority. And this is so Mr. Speaker, particularly because when this entity was conceptualised and subsequently crafted and implemented the naysayers traversed the hills and valleys of our blessed land mouth their range of negative opinions in opposition to our plan. But we persevered, Mr. Speaker, we stuck to our guns, we were not daunted and I stand here today brimming with pride because BRAGSA is gradually emerging as an institution whose performance is worthy of the highest commendation.And may I remind this Honourable House, Mr. Speaker, that this institution has assumed responsibility for road repair and development, building, maintenance, the repair and maintenance of bridges, seawalls, jetties and so on, functions which were once performed by the Roads and Buildings Divisions of the Ministry of Transport and Works. Mr. Speaker, you know I am amused as I speak because there are some NDP fanatics who are persuaded that should their Party win the next general elections BRAGSA will cease to exist, and I really do hope that every single employee at BRAGSA is listening and paying attention to the implications of their plan, particularly those who were employed by the Board of BRAGSA. The NDP clearly does not understand and appreciate the rationale for the creation of BRAGSA.Evidently, Mr. Speaker, they desire to have a situation of business as usual, one which brings back to the table the almost insurmountable challenges which by now are legendary in our blessed land, but Mr. Speaker, this ULP Administration had no other alternative than to carefully and appropriately devise strategies to address the then highly untenable situation. As of August 31st, 2010 $9.550 million was disbursed to BRAGSA. The amount budgeted for the current financial year was $18 million. And permit me, Mr. Speaker, to highlight the following details of expenditure for example:-Road maintenance (that is for contractor and materials) Road cleaningSalaries, wages and allowances (and this is for all infrastructure staff including artisans) Building maintenance (that is materials only)School’s summer maintenance programme (materials only)General administrative salaries (that is Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology)Giving us a total of: -$2,779,125.00$847,062.00$2,328,827.77 $ 439,896.00$ 260,761.00$ 813,517.67 $7, 469,189.44page24image21928In addition, Mr. Speaker, there are some works in progress and preparations are being made to pay an outstanding amount of $1,405,368.53. The contracts have been signed but works were delayed for some time because of the unavailability of hot mix asphalt. This challenge, Mr. Speaker, has been nicely resolved for the next several weeks. It is expected that the amount budgeted for, for the current year would be spent. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (3) Honourable Leader of the Opposition. 24HONOURABLE ARNIHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 3 standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Lands Information, Legal and Grenadines Affairs.3. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition asked the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Lands Information, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:-What is the latest status of NEWCO, the company which is being established to deal with the persons who have lost money in the British American Insurance Company crisis?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I begin by reminding Honourable Members that on November 2nd, 2009 the Governments of the Eastern Caribbean announced a strategy to address matters concerning British American Company, this strategy was predicated on four guiding principles:-1. To ensure that British American does not become a systemic risk to the financial system.2. To protect as far as practicable the interest of the depositors and investors.3. To keep British American Insurance Company as a going concern in a form to be determined.4. To craft the solution that is regional in nature.The strategies announced by the Governments of the Eastern Caribbean contained the following major elements:- 1. The transfer of the property portfolio. (That was done in May 2010). 2. Establish a Health Insurance Support Fund to pay Health Insurance Claims. (This is anticipated to be launched next month). 3. Establish and capitalize the new company. By far the most significant and important component of the Government’s plans of the elements of the proposals are as follows, in relation to establishing and capitalizing NEWCO:-a. To establish this new insurance company in conjunction with a strategic investor with a strong brand and capital basis.25 b. The EC Governments and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago were to take a share in NEWCO using a special purpose investment vehicle called Hold Co with an interest of approximately 30% Class (A) shares; with appropriate super majority protections long term exit provisions; 100% of Class (B) shares, which will accumulate value and dividends only if super profits are achieved. c. New policies would be offered to British American policyholders for voluntary acceptance. d. Policy maturity dates will be extended by five years. e. Interest rates will be offered at market levels. f. In addition to the low returns and extended maturity; policyholders will have to take a haircut of approximately 30-40% of the value of their investments. As a condition of acceptance of a NEWCO Policy, British American policyholders would assign their British American Insurance policies with Hold Co, and to capitalised NEWCO with funding sufficient for policies to be issued to British American policyholders on amended terms. In addition to a $40 million proposed investment by the strategic investor funding of $228.6 million was to be contributed as follows:- Eastern Caribbean Government US$75 million.  Government of Trinidad and Tobago US$100 million.  Liquidity support fund from the Caricom Petroleum Fund US$48.6.  Government of Barbados US$5 million.The Government’s total sum US$228.6 million plus the investment from the strategic investor US$40 million giving rise US$268.6 million.A strategic investor has been identified and negotiations among the Governments, the strategic investor and the Judicial Managers were well advanced, with the next stage to be formal due diligence. Negotiations progressed well until around April 2010 when the Trinidad and Tobago elections were announced. By late April early May the status was as follows:- 1. The letter of intent was in an advance draft, which provided for a two months exclusivity period; to allow for the strategic investor to conduct due diligence and for formal documentation to be negotiated including the business plan. 2. The strategic investor had raised a number of concerns about risk relating to:- 3. Reputation – in particular the investor did not want to be seen to be responsible for any haircut. 264. Credit risk on the ECCU government bonds of some countries (not St Vincent and the Grenadines).5. Litigation risks, which was indicated as resolved due to the plan to have policyholders’ voluntarily take up the offer.Although preliminary responses were provided on these; the focus moves to understanding the status of funding from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. These matters which I have just indicated about the letter of intent and the position of the strategic investor were in fact dependant on what is happening with the monies from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Recent contact with the proposed strategic investor has yielded expressions of continuing interest by the investor in NEWCO; however, such interest is entirely preconditioned as I have just indicated upon the availability of all previously anticipated funds required for capitalisation.The establishment of NEWCO continues to be the Currency Union’s best hope for protection against any systemic economic risks and policyholder losses; however it is not a viable proposition without the originally anticipated capital injection particularly the contribution of $100 million from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.Now, since May 24th we have been in touch with the Ministry of Finance and I personally in touch with the Minister of Finance of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Fortuitously one day when he called me, the President of the CDB was in my company at the Office of the Prime Minister and he in fact indicated that he would wish our technical team to work with his technical team and the Caribbean Development Bank. President Bourne of the CDB quickly agreed that that would be so. There are meetings which are currently going on between the technical teams. As you will expect there was a new change of Government, there is a new individual who had been put in charge of the technical team so that the work which had been done by Mr. Nurse whom I believe you know: reputed Economist in the Region and in Trinidad and Tobago, somebody else had to pick up his work, starting in a sense afresh.On the margin of the meeting recently in Washington, the IMF World Bank, there was a discussion I was not present, but I was kept abreast of the discussions which were headed on our side by the current Chairman of the Currency Union Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance of Grenada; and I have been advised by Minister Dookeran of Trinidad and Tobago was pleasantly surprised at the extent of the technical work that had been done by my committee with the technical team: my sub-committee of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. He has asked for a meeting to be held sometime over the next two weeks and we are awaiting a date from him. I told them that this is of great importance any date would be good for us. We are seeking among other things a clear statement from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago within a month to six weeks as to their position of this $100 million. If that does not come we have to consider other alternatives which we have been working out, because this is not an easy problem.So, the preference is still for NEWCO in the way in which I have outlined, but until we know what is the clear position of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago we cannot proceed with NEWCO. In the meantime of course, as you would appreciate the financial situation of the branches of British American is becoming more and more precarious. I should point out that the judicial managers have attempted to pursue various assets of27British American including intra-group debts owed by C.L. Financial approximating some US$60 million. To date there has been little success though the efforts are continuing including the continuation of existing and the commencement of new legal proceedings.I want to say this that whether or not we have NEWCO or we do not have NEWCO there has to be a series of legal interventions: legal proceedings against a number of entities which we believe to have been negligent in this situation. It would not be prudent for me as Minister of Finance and as the Minister responsible in the Currency Union for this, but clearly it does not require too much imagination as to some of the entities for persons who would be informed of some of the entities which are involved. We have taken audited statements for example, which have not been qualified but we have found that those audited statements did not reflect the true positions of the companies including documents from the C.L. Financial. Also there are other institutions financial institutions which give certain warranties in relation to certain things that they were holding certain instruments on trust when it has turned out that those instruments were not properly held on trust, but we acted on those instruments to the detriment clearly of the policyholders, and so on and so forth. So that it is a ... I should point out that the real challenge here is ... and you can imagine a plan (b). There are two sets of instruments which we have remaining: the Life Policies and the others the Annuities and associative kinds of instruments, which some people call fundamentally banking instruments; not insurance products and there is a debate on that as is well known.Twenty-two thousand of the policyholders are Life Policyholders and that should be easy to hive off but where the bulk of the indebtedness remains ... because there are several companies which would love to buy the $22 million Life Policies because the people are paying premiums on them and they are normal insurance products for the future where whether at age 65 or upon death, where there is not so much of a risk involved with those, and it would constitute a healthy portfolio. But there are 11,000 of the other kinds of policyholders with other kinds of instruments including: Annuities, which are the ones upon which there is heavy indebtedness. It is not a simple problem; it is a complicated matter requiring great sensitivity and great creativity to get a solution, and we require very much the assistance of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago because a lot of investigations had been done by the prior administration in relation to several matters including for instance (delinquents) report. So, that we have to co-operate on a wide range of matters.One of the matters which I outlined to Prime Minister Bissessar, in the presence of Prime Minister King and Prime Minister Tillman Thomas of Grenada is that when we were in New York at the Clinton Foundation event that there are a lot of liabilities which the Eastern Caribbean Countries are holding but the monies were used to purchase assets in Florida and used also it appears to invest in assets in Trinidad and Tobago. Clearly, that is a matter of contention we would not want to have a war with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago on the question of monies from our jurisdictions, in the Eastern Caribbean going to finance operations, because money is fungible but there are all these sides and this is why it is important that we have a regional solution, but we know what the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has offered in their Budget for their policyholders. They will be constrained to offer something better to us, I am a practicable man of affairs, save and except that if we get the intervention of the Caribbean Development Bank which can provide an imprimatur in some particular avenue and all of these things we are still exploring.28I want to assure the policyholders that we are doing our very best but this is not an easy problem and I cannot put it anywhere than to be very honest and straight forward. People can see what we are trying to do, but it is not an easy problem to resolve without the assistance of Trinidad and Tobago. And if we were to proceed without them and we proceed with a lot of litigations it is going to take a long time. So that is the conundrum which we face. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary Question?HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I want to thank the Prime Minister for that response. NEWCO is as far as we know is the vehicle of choice and you have indicated what the problems are with respect to that as far as Trinidad and Tobago is concerned; but you did mention in your response that there could be other alternatives. Could you name one?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Well, I sketched some frame, but I would not wish to say all what we are considering until we have concluded the discussion with Trinidad and Tobago, this is why I say we would give them about four to six weeks for them to tell us in some definitive way what is the position with the $100 million. I should say just last week Thursday we had a big discussion on this at the Monetary Council. We had one which involved this matter by the Video Conference for the Monetary Council and we are trying to keep some of those options as close as possible to our chest because we do not want to prejudice any discussions which we are going to have with Trinidad and Tobago. As you know I have always been very open on these things but please just abide with me on this one at this time.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No (4) Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 4 standing in myname of the Honourable Minister of Education.4. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday, Northern Grenadines, asked the Honourable Minister of Education:-a. What is the status of the new national library building that was financed by the Taiwanese Government, and in particular, why is it still not operational and not open to the public; andb. what is to be done to ensure that it is opened very soon?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Education, your question.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: The National Public Library is part of a multi-faceted development of libraries, archives and documentation services in this country. The architectural designs for the National Public Library were done by Tomlin Voss Associates Limited and the original contract was signed between the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the TVA for Consultancy Services on November 2nd, 2004.29The project was constructed by Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Limited: OECC. Mr. Speaker, though the Project is a Ministry of Education Project, ministerial supervision is being conducted by the Ministry of Transport and Works. The Project is multi-faceted and includes the relocation of the YWCA building, the Kingstown Technical Institute and the National Archives as well as the soon to be implemented National Auditorium. The entire project is valued at approximately EC$50 million. The furnishings are jointly supplied by Express Data Systems, Décor Products, Caribbean Sheet and Cubula Industries Limited and Computec.The project is financed by the Republic of China and Taiwan and is now practically complete and should be officially handed over before the end of the present calendar year.Mr. Speaker, this Government is noted for taking education and the development of our human resource capacity very seriously. As revealed to the nation quite recently in a joint visit between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport and Works, to the institution on Monday September 27th, 2010 every effort is presently being made by the Ministries of Education and Transport and Works; the Contractors (OECC); the Consultant Architect (TVA); and the Department of Libraries Archives and Documentation Services to have the Library relocated to Richmond Hill. Currently, Furniture and Cabinetry are being installed in the facility, shortly thereafter the building and surrounding environs will be thoroughly cleaned and thereafter the transition from the present location at Middle Street, Kingston will commence. [Applause]Library personnel are continuing with the packing and cataloging of materials in preparation for the move. This process has been ongoing for some time now and as I indicated we expect full occupancy of the new facility before year end. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (5) Honourable Member. DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 5 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Education.5. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday, Northern Grenadines, asked the Honourable Minister of Education:- a. What is the status of the student loan programme; b. how is it administered; c. have all qualified applicants for loans received the loans for which they applied; and if not, what percentage of qualified applicants received loans in 2010; d. how will the sale of controlling interest in the National Commercial Bank to Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings affect the student loan programme? 30HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the National Student Loan Programme continues to be administered by the National Student loan Committee. The Student Loan Programme is administered by a National Student Loan Committee which reviews applications received under two modalities.The Regular ProgrammeApplications are received at the Ministry of Education, the Secretariat Section after ensuring that all applications lodged have been correctly completed and contained all relevant documentation; the applications are then forwarded to the financial institution of choice indicated on the application form. Applications so forwarded do not obligate financial institutions to the approval of loans, rather negotiations are undertaken between the applicant and the financial institution and the outcome determined via this process.The Economically Disadvantaged Programme1. As in the case of the regular programme, applications are received at the Ministry of Education Secretariat Section; however there are specific guidelines eligibility of applicants who are attempting to access loans under this programme. Similarly, to the regular scheme applications received are reviewed by the Ministry of Education for completeness but are then forwarded to the National Student Loan Committee for review, assessment and conducting of interviews as deemed necessary.Recommendations made by the Committee are then forwarded for review and approval as the awards made under this facet of the Student Loan Programme are guaranteed by the Central Government. Approved applications are then forwarded to the financial institution indicated on the application form provided that the institution participates in the Economically Disadvantaged Programme. Not all financial institutions participate in this programme.c) All qualified applicants have received loans for which they have applied.d) ThereisaStudentLoanCompanyestablishedinAugust,2010tocontinuethisprogramme.The sale of the majority shares in NCB will not affect this programme because of this new company.I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No (6) Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines. 31page31image17264 page31image17424DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: No. Mr. Speaker, could I just have a supplementary?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary Question.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: The Honourable Minister said that not all of the financial institutions participated in the Disadvantaged Loans Programme. Could she indicate which institutions do participate?HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: The National Commercial Bank and some Credit Unions. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (6).DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 6 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Tourism.6. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday, Northern Grenadines, asked the Honourable Minister of Tourism:- a. What is the status of the proposed Bequia Blue Marina Project at Friendship Bay and St Hillaire Point, Bequia that was recently considered by the Planning Board; b. Has the Government sold or leased land to the project developers; and c. Will you give the assurance that any marina project in that area will be subjected to strict environmental impact assessment and will satisfy all serious environmental concerns before any decision is made. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: As earlier indicated the Honourable Minister for Tourism is not present in Parliament but the Honourable Prime Minister would answer this question.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, may I just if you permit me to indicate to the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines data which may be useful to him in relation to the last question; from the standpoint of the Ministry of Finance.The regular student loans since 2001 stand at $22 million and the Economically Disadvantaged Student Loan in the region of $33 million with $5.3 million on this last occasion for disbursement to the Student Loan Company done by the National Commercial Bank on its behalf. So in all they have about $55 million through the National Commercial Bank. We have of course done guarantees on the Economically Disadvantaged Student Loan for Credit Unions like for instance the Teachers Credit Union and I think the Kingstown Credit Union [pause] yes. I just said that for completeness.32Mr. Speaker, this is a matter which has caused immense controversy in Bequia: the proposed Blue Marina Project at Friendship Bay and St Hilaire Point. Now, Honourable Members may laugh when they hear the answer. The project developers submitted an application to the Planning Division on July 21st, 2010 requesting approval for the construction of the Marina subsequent to a meeting with a gentleman who represents the investors a gentleman form Bequia but who lives elsewhere, Invest SVG again submitted a copy of the proposal to the Planning Division on August 30th, 2010. The process of due diligence commenced on August 24th, 2010 and is still continuing. So they went to Invest SVG submitted their plan to the Planning Division, the Planning Division having received and reviewed their application advised Invest SVG in September 2010 that further action is required from the Developers. The action required:- a. The submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment of the project to determine the positive or negative implications of the project on the environment. b. The submission of the Developers legal proof of ownership of the land that has been identified in the plans for the development and c. The submission of a survey plan of the property that has been identified for development. The information was communicated to the Developers on the 28th September, 2010. Planning has not yet been provided with any further information. The property is owned by the State owned National Properties and just in case the information which was given to me on paper that I could not understand how it is this bizarre; I contacted Holly Dougan the General Manager of National Properties and he has said to me that the investors (these prospective developers) have made no arrangements, no agreements concerning the lease or sale of the land and of course based on the Planning Division request it does not seem that anything is going to happen because they do not have ownership to the land. In fact they have not even contacted National Properties, so people in Bequia were getting excited about something which is just a fiction. I would not say that these developers were wasting the people’s time (laughs) in SVG but I find it almost humourous. It is the kind of thing you wonder sometimes how some people think. So you can tell your constituents Honourable Member, that people wound them up over nothing. I mean I am Minister for the Grenadines and I am in charge of National Properties ministerially and when I heard this thing and people called me, I said, “What are you all talking about?” I mean I found the whole thing quite bizarre actually. Maybe, the developers may come forward and explain what is happening; but they got the communication on the 28th September and it is a month more or less that is gone and they have not done anything.I can say though that there are some other persons who had contacted National Properties in relation to St Hiliare about three years ago and still have a continuing interest and they seemed to be trying to raise the money but not this lot. So that is how I could answer you about a fiction.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Just so that a timely response from some public authority on the matter might have allayed you know, a lot of public anxiety and fear about the matter.33HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (7)DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: May I just say, if perhaps... all you had to do I am suggesting the Honourable Member is to drop me a note and ask me what it is about and call me and I would have said to you I will find out and within 24 hours you would have known. You are the representative down there you know.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (7)HONOURABLE TERRAMCE OLLIVIERRE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 7 standing in my name of the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Lands, Information, Legal and Grenadines Affairs.7. The Honourable Terrance Ollivierre, Southern Grenadines, asked the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Lands, Information, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:-The recent incident in which an individual was seriously injured and needed to be transported from Canouan to mainland and the SVG Aircraft which was sent to assist went missing demonstrated the need for an effective service to transport emergency cases from the Southern Grenadines to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.Will the Honourable Prime Minister indicate whether this situation is under review and what measures he intends to take to improve the situation?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I am not so sure whether the Honourable Member for the Southern Grenadines, if he rereads this question, I think he would have written this one in a haste. I mean look at what it is saying: there was an SVG Aircraft and it went down. The SVG Aircraft was going to transport this person which is a perfectly normal way that has been going on. As I understand it has been said on the platform what you need is a helicopter, well suppose the helicopter goes down too? [Laughter] So the point about it is this, I mean I do not really want to make a joke of a very serious matter but it is the formulation of the question I am addressing.The point is this, for some time even before this I had asked about a possible ambulance service, the cheapest possible air ambulance service and the truth is this: it is extremely expensive to operate and to keep it for one and two cases a dedicated service. In a perfect world it would be good to have it, and I would really like us to see if we could afford it or see if we could get some kind of arrangement with some country and we are exploring; but ... I mean my son who got into a terrible accident went on an SVG plane, I went with him to Barbados. He lost his spleen and his hands were terribly smashed up. I mean if the SVG plane had gone down I would have gone down with it too with him. An effective service, a helicopter service or get the Air Ambulance from Puerto Rico, it would cost me a lot of money and I have to balance that with all sort of things.34I appreciate your concern but just like how the SVG plane can go down, so too can the helicopter unless you are implying that the SVG plane something somehow was wrong with it and it shouldn’t have been in the air and I do not think you would want to imply that.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (8), Honourable Member for the Southern Grenadines.HONOURABLE TERRANCE OLLIVIERRE: [Laughs] Mr. Speaker, I just want to bring this problem to the fore and to know that as responsible people in this parliament that we need to sit down and come up with a solution to the health problem being faced by the people in the Southern Grenadines and upon that I wish to withdraw question (8).HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (8), withdrawn. Question No. (9) Honourable Senator Leacock.9. Major the Honourable St Clair Leacock, Opposition Senator, to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Planning, Lands, Information, Air and Seaports, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:- a. Has any of the Caribbean Development Bank‘s (CDB) loan of $100 million for the National Commercial Bank (NCB) been drawn down; b. if in the affirmative, how much; and c. if not, what are the conditions to be met before draw down can take place? HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Senator Leacock, sorry I did not recognise you.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you are aware the Parliament has been postponed on more than one occasion since the last time we met; and these questions were presented in the earlier period. As you would have heard from the ministerial statement of the Honourable Prime Minister I do not think it is necessary to read these questions now save and except to say that we are now privy to answers to these questions from the formal documents from the Caribbean Development Bank, which gives greater clarity to the explanation provided by the Prime Minister; and therefore I withdraw questions Nos. (9), (10) and (11) and place my faith in the CDB’s Report. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Questions (9), (10) and (11) are withdrawn. Question No. (12).DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, may I just say one thing because my Honourable friend is misleading the Parliament on one important issue. He said that in the light of the postponement of the Parliament that these questions are no longer valid because they had gotten information elsewhere. But if you look at the Minutes of the last meeting, the 30th August at page (2), you will see all the35conditions set out there. The Honourable Leader of the Opposition had asked me and I had answered. The Minutes which you just approved had given all the answers of the CDB conditions.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: All right, well.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I just want to make that point. That has nothing to do with the postponement of the Parliament. If there are other reasons fine but do not blame the postponement of the Parliament.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (12) [interjection]. I will not encourage a debate on these matters. Question No. (12) Honourable Senator Cummings.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask question No. 12 standing in my name of the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works.12. The Honourable Daniel Cummings, Opposition Senator asked the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works:-In Light of the disclosures with respect to his behavior at the National Commercial Bank and subsequent court action of the bank, when would Mr. Desmond Morgan be removed as Chairman of the Roads, Bridges and General Services Authority (BRAGSA)?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister for Transport and Works, your question.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to this question by the Honourable Senator, but Mr. Speaker, as I stand here I am perplexed. I consider the Honourable Senator’s question mind boggling and Mr. Speaker, this is indeed passing strange. You see, Mr. Speaker, say for instance; if I were to say if the goodly Honourable Senator has not paid his personal property tax since 2007, should I then suggest that he should not be permitted to participate in the business of this Honourable House? Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, permit me to state that I am not aware of any disclosure at the National Commercial Bank of inappropriate conduct and subsequent court action taken by the Bank to which the Honourable Senator refers. I am minded however, Mr. Speaker, to advise the Honourable Senator that BRAGSA is not an entity of the National Commercial Bank. In addition, Mr. Speaker, I would also wish to inform the Honourable Senator that I would not be advised by him as to the composition and subsequent changes to any entity which falls under my portfolio [interjection and laughter]. And Mr. Speaker, may I also make it clear at this juncture that recommendation for changes to the composition of any Board must be done in collaboration with the Chairman of the Cabinet of this country. In addition Mr. Speaker, I consider this question by the Honourable Senator to be pregnant with malice [knocking on desk] and it can be deemed of the further indication of the current witch hunt orchestrated by the New Democratic Party with regards to Mr. Desmond Morgan and the Attorney General.36Mr. Speaker, I have not been advised of any criminal or illegal acts committed by Mr. Desmond Morgan with respect to BRAGSA. Moreover Mr. Speaker ....HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Point of Order.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute you cannot have a Point of Order ... please sit, Honourable Senator. Not you the Honourable ... you are asking a question? I do not know of a point of order being raised during the answering of a question. You can ask a supplementary question.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I have not been informed that he has committed any illegal or criminal act with respect to the National Commercial Bank. As far as I am aware, Mr. Speaker, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Commercial Bank, Mr. Morgan was able to enhance the Bank’s profitability and the records speak for themselves, they are available for public scrutiny and it is no secret, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, let me refer to some of what I am talking about. Let us look at proportion of delinquent loans to private sector from 2000-2007:- 2000- 7.66%  2001-12.34%  2002-10.61%  2003-11.53%  2004-14.31%  2005-10.83%  2006- 5.00%  2007- 2.69%Net Profit Mr.2000- 2001- 2002- 2003- 2004- 2005-  2006 -  2007 -Speaker, same period 2000-2007:-$2.3 million $2.2 million $5.7 million $6.9 million $3.2 million $7.6 million$10.1 million $14.2 millionWell, let us look at the Net Assets for the same period:- 2000 - $27.9 million  2001 - $21.1 million  2002 - $34.9 million  2003 - $34.8 million37 2004 - $31.2 million  2005 - $40.5 million  2006 - $51.019 million  2007 - $66.098 millionThis gives us a total Asset, Mr. Speaker, over the period of:- . 2000-  $368.5 million . 2001-  $395.073 million . 2002-  $472.3 million . 2003-  $514.2 million . 2004-  $489.2 million You can laugh over there. 2005 - $554.39 million  2006 - $605.5 million  2007 - $657.7 millionMr. Speaker, this is a man that has turned around the Bank but as I stated before you see what is happening. So, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Honourable Senator really ought to inform this Honourable House of the enormous amount of pain and distress visited upon the people of this nation, as a consequence of the unethical and blasphemous utterance of Sir James and Burton and others in their Party and tell us of any plans which are being crafted by their Party to discipline these individuals.Mr. Speaker, it is issue of this nature which ought to be of concern to the Honourable Senator not his evident attempts to demonize and disparage honest, disciplined, conscientious and civic minded citizens of our blessed nation. The personal attacks on all citizens must cease, Mr. Speaker, I am much obliged. [Applause]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (13).HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, given that very improper motives have been imputed to me; and I am unable to rise to seek your address, I have no further question for the Honourable Minister. [Interjections]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: This brings us then to the end of question time. [Knocking on the desk with gavel] Order please.ORDERS OF THE DAY Law Revision Amendment Bill, 2010page38image1668838HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, I think you need to ... DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move theBill for an Act to amend the Law Revision Act 2009...HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute Honourable Prime Minister, you are embarking on Orders of the Day I suppose you may want to invoke if you see us going beyond that time.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I may do so out of an abundance of caution Mr. Speaker, I do not think we are going to be here until beyond 2:00 p.m. I suspect.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: But I beg to move, Mr. Speaker, under Standing Order 12 (5) that the proceedings of today’s sitting be exempted from the provisions of this Standing Order hours of sitting.Question put and agreed to.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a Bill for an Act to amend the Law Revision Act 2009 be read a first time. The objects and reasons of the Bill are to amend the Law Revision Act to facilitate the establishment of the Law Reform Commission.Question put and agreed to. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move underStanding Order 48 (2) that this Bill be taken through all its stages of today’s sitting and pass. Question put and agreed to.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a Bill for an Act to amend the Law Revision Act 2009 be read a second time.Question put and agreed to.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the Bill as I indicated is to amend the Law Revision Act 2009 to facilitate the establishment of a Law Reform Commission. Section 19 of the Law Revision Act 2009, stipulates that the revised edition in force under that act may be updated in the manner provided under that section. In this regard the section provides that the revised edition 2009 of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, if it exists in the format of a booklet, CD Rom, Disc or other electronic means may be updated by its entire replacement. If the Laws exist in loose leaf format it may be updated by the replacement of pages or the insertion or deletion of pages. If the Laws are part of a data bank it may be updated39by the amendment of part or the whole of the data Bank and the replacement of the data Bank. It is therefore intended that there be an ongoing process of law revision: thus the need to establish a permanent Law Revision Commission. As we move to the actual Bill itself the clauses: -Clause 1 Clause 2Clause 3Seeks to provide for the ‘short title’ of the Bill.Seeks to amend section (2) of the Act by deleting the definition of ‘Commissioner’ and replacing it with the definition of ‘Commission’. It also seeks to remove references to the ‘Law Revision Commissioner‘.Seeks to delete and replace ‘section (3) of the Act’. The current section (3) of the Act empowers the Governor General to appoint a Law Revision Commissioner; the new section (3) will establish a Law Revision Commission comprising of the Attorney General who will be chairperson and not more than four other persons appointed by the Governor General.Persons appointed to the Commission by the Governor General must hold or must have held high office in the Judicial or legal field or must have experienced as Barristers and Solicitors or Teachers of law in a university or any other similar institution.The Commission would also be given the power to establish sub-committees to assist it in its performance of its duties.Seeks to add a sub-clause (2) to section (5). Section 5 stipulates that the Commission has to prepare and publish a revised edition of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in accordance with the Act. The new sub-clause will empower the Commission to delegate this duty to any one or more of the Members of the Commission.Seeks to correct the typographical error appearing in section (19) of the Act. seeks to amend the Act by deleting references to ‘Commissioner’ wherever it appears inthe Act and by inserting ‘Commission’.Clause 4Clause 5 Clause 6Mr. Speaker, before us are 15 of the bound volumes of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines the revised Laws, I will speak more to it when I come to the Resolution. There is also, Mr. Speaker, as in the Parent Act a loose leaf set of volumes and one would be brought shortly for us to show when we come to the Resolution. And it is an electronic format and I will explain when I come to the Motion.We are doing this amendment, Mr. Speaker and then we will do the Motion so that we will be able to have a date when these will come into effect, so that when they are quoted in the Law Courts or here in Parliament and40anywhere else these will in effect replace what are called the existing blue volumes of the revised edition of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 1990.For Members of the public to appreciate what is happening here these volumes bring up to date the Law to December 2008 but when we go if we say January 1st, 2011 we are going to proclaim them; we can do the Supplements for ’09 and ‘010 right away. And then persons can stay in their offices and access it for a fee on line so that there is no need as many of these volumes as hitherto or you can have the loose leaves volumes where you simply update them.It adds tremendously to efficiency because it is a very important capital project which we have here.What happens in the Law Courts; what has been happening since 1990 and they were done just like this, these would go to the archives. These are for the archives this set; there will be a set when we proclaim which will come here to the Registry, to the Clerk of the House and to other places. So, Mr. Speaker, if you want to look at a law 1995 which amends something in 1989, you have to walk with the blue volume plus the separate annual volume for 1995 and if there is a 1996 amendment you have to take it and so on. So, by bringing this update with 18 years you have made the justice efficient right away. Sometimes in fact people ... it has not been unknown that in the courts people apply laws which have been amended because they just do not keep track of the individual statutes or their annual bounding at the Printery.I want to commend the Honourable Attorney General and her staff, the Law Revision Commissioner and as the Law Revision Commissioner is Peter Pursglove, Senior Counsellor. And I want to thank all those who have been involved including the Publishers LexisNexis and I am very happy to have been the Minister of Legal Affairs when this important project was initiated and has come to conclusion. It strengthens our legal system, our system of justice, our democracy; it strengthens the efficiency of the Court doing its business and all around it is a tremendous addition and we cannot give too great a credit. In 1990 was the then Honourable Parnell R. Campbell who was the Attorney General who had done the 1990 volumes and that was a very important exercise and now we have this one done 18 years later by the ULP administration. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on this matter, Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines.DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as a practitioner in the legal profession, I welcome the consolidation of the statutes, it has been a long time and for people who have to apply them it has become almost like a maze or a jigsaw puzzle to try and put the various amendments together and come up with what the current situation is with respect to our statutes. So it is a welcome addition to our legal framework and I am sure that other members of the Bar will be very happy. For those who can afford to buy the new set because I do not know what they are selling for [laughs] because they are prohibitively expensive. Mr. Speaker, nonetheless the laws of the country, we debate them here in the House of Parliament, they are proclaimed, they become the Laws of the country and then they become inaccessible to most people because they are bound up in these very expensive volumes, what I would like to see is for the Laws to become available to all the people all the time on a computer database which would be free of cost to all the citizens of the country.41This is not a such a far-fetched idea, many other countries have it, you can sit in your office here, you can go through the Laws of Canada, the United States on your computer free of cost. The point that I am making, Mr. Speaker, there may be factors which militate against that here but the point is that is an ideal situation because then the Laws will be available to all the people all the time. Lawyers can interpret legislation but so too can the common persons ... can review them and see what is there before they go and consult their solicitor or anybody who wishes to know what the Laws of the country are. Obviously, when the new volumes are made public and they will be placed in the Public Library of some sort that people should be able to have access to them as well. So, Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House and during the debate on the Law Revision Bill earlier on in the year or last year we indicated our support for the consolidation of the Statute and the updating of them. It is really non-controversial issue, it is something that would benefit the access to legal services and hopefully will cut down the time that the Lawyers will take in terms of reviewing the Law and advising clients and make it more efficient; so maybe more cost effective for their clients as well. I am sure all members of the profession will welcome that [laughs]. So, Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House welcome the new consolidated volumes of the revised law of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and hopefully they will be accessible soon.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate, Honourable Senator.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, while I join with my colleague the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines and applaud the effort to upgrade the Laws in the way we have proposed, there is an area of our legislation that I believe seems to escape attention from time to time and must be addressed that is with respect to our Labour Laws. There is a procedure where we can have matters brought before the Hearing Officer and there is also there, Mr. Speaker, an appeals process and under the notion of the doctrine of precedents it is fairly well understood that we need to keep a close record of the rulings that are made from time to time there at the Labour Department (and I see the Honourable Minister of Labour nodding her head), and up to the last time I enquired it seems to me that we have not been doing this as assiduously as should be taking place, in fact it is a matter of concern, so we do not have a consistency of rulings when you have either changes with respect with the Hearing Officer or the Appellate Authority at that department because there is no bound documents available for them to apply precedents. I think it is in fact an oversight, I want to believe so and I want to suggest through the Honourable Minister of Labour that you bring this matter to the attention of the Attorney’s General Office because for those of us who go before that department to represent interested parties it represents a real problem and I just want to bring this matter to the [inaudible] the House. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Any further debate, Honourable Minister of Labour?HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to join this debate in the Act to amend the Law Revision Act and I wish to complement the Honourable Attorney General and members of her staff who worked with the LexisNexis in relation to this law revision. Mr. Speaker, it is a very tedious and long process and I was really surprised that they were able to do it within the timeframe that was allocated for them to ensure that we have. Secondly, it has been 18 years and it is as long time particularly the Parliament from 2001, we have been a very active parliament bringing new laws to the House of Assembly and so sometimes trying to42traverse the index of laws it is a very difficult task. I am hoping that the Honourable Attorney General with the new index that would have to come out after these laws are proclaimed; I know it will take some time because we have only got, I think the 2009 that was out.Thirdly, I wish to comment on the suggestion from the Honourable Senator Leacock. In relation to the rulings from the Hearing Officer, it is a directive which I have indicated to the Labour Office to keep these rulings together. Of course, you would appreciate that we are fortunate in having a Labour Commissioner who is a lawyer; that has helped; but the project was proposed by Mr. Burns Bonadie as part this worker researcher to bring together decisions of the Hearing Officer - report style like law reports, and also the decisions from the Appellate Authority, however we have not been successful getting the project financing that we anticipated we would have had to do that project but it is a project that he proposed and was put forward, and we are hoping that we can get at the lower level the skill of putting it together, but it is a particular skill in doing the Law Reporting.We have had about a few years back a course which was offered through the Justice Project and a number of young lawyers went to that course but they are in private practice so we are hoping that in the future we can extend the Department of the Labour Commissioner so that we could entice some young lawyer who like court reporting to be able to put those together professionally at least at that level, but it is a project that put it this way, in the works. The financing has been a bit of a challenge. The Labour Commissioner and I think the Permanent Secretary they were looking at the possibility of any monies we can get from the ILO because they publish so often it is difficult to even keep up reading with them; to see if we can get some assistance for that especially now we are doing the decent work agenda with so much work coming through under that; but we have to beef up. We have added an Economist to help us with the statistics, in putting together the labour statistics that is on its way and the Labour Information System so the next project is the reporting, so that we can keep those reports together. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.I wish to again commend this Bill and this law revision exercise; I want to highly commend the Honourable Attorney General who is a very distinguished legal scholar in her own right and she has been working on this project for some time and she must be commended [applause] for being one of the longest serving Attorneys General in St Vincent, if not the longest, I believe she is now in this Honourable House and in this country of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We oftentimes just simply ... it seems to be some part of our DNA that went wrong is that we castigate people and we do not look to uplift people especially when they are persons who have come through significant struggles to be where they are professionally and to apply themselves. And she has the good fortune of working with not just a ULP administration but having worked with a previous administration with an unblemished record [Applause]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Honourable Members for their contributions. I just indicate a few things: first of all, Mr. Speaker, the cost of this Law Revision Project is $1.315 million and when I come to the Motion I will indicate the cost for individual sets. These, Mr. Speaker, are the hard copies of the loose leaves, so you will be able to unhinge it here and put in at the appropriate place43and make it pretty easy. Of course, those who are savvy online will simply print it off when they are going to court from time to time. I do not have to bring out all of them but there are three here as examples Honourable Members can look at them.Mr. Speaker, may I just say something, while the project which Minister Baptiste has spoken about in response to the Honourable Senator Leacock’s observations, the Honourable Minister of Labour and I do not think it is too difficult to do, but I believe that and I stand to be corrected, that the Hearing Officers decisions and the decisions of the Tribunal I do not believe that the establish precedent to be followed, so that any subsequent Tribunal or Hearing Officer can overrule another on the same point. It is the case like the Magistrate Court. The Magistrate Court is not seen as a court of record in the way in which the High Court is, and not subject to issues of precedence as the High Court and the Court of Appeal. A number of legal issues would no doubt arise from those decisions upon which determination would have been made in several High Court decisions, several Court of Appeal decisions and indeed in Privy Council decisions or House of Laws decisions which are persuasive in our jurisdiction. So I make that point, I put on my legal hat and at that point advise myself, but I do not often do that, but I believe Honourable Attorney General, am I correct in this regard? Well it was confirmed to me that I am correct in this regard. But this does not mean that the exercise is not useful. But I was only addressing the point that Senator Leacock raised in terms of precedence.Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House resolves itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider this Bill clause by clause.House went into Committee. House resumed. Bill read and reported without amendment.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a Bill for an Act to amend the Law Revision Act 2009 be read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a third time by title and passed.RESOLUTION FOR APPROVAL OF REVISED EDITION OF THE LAWS OF ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members...,HONOURABLE MAJOR ST. CLAIRE LEACOCK: I just want to enquire whether the intention was that we are going to as close as 3 O’clock or 2 and then adjourn for the day. I say that because I intend to attend a funeral at 3 O’clock so that I would have the excuse of the House, I just want to know that.44HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes, I think so. HONOURABLE MAJOR ST. CLAIRE LEACOCK: That is the position? HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: yes.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, what has happened is this, that there is an important Bill on the Order Paper, the Status of Children Bill which replaces the old status..., which is intended to replace the old Status of Children Act. Now we have published it, it had been circulated, we anticipated that people would respond because the addressed issues of legal rights for individual for instance born out of wedlock, there has been an accumulation of case law from 1980 when the original law came into being, but nobody not even the Bar Association has responded by sending in a memorandum.Now I have discussed the matter with the Honourable Leader of the Opposition and my colleague in law, the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines and we would like to give another week to see if persons who call all the time for participatory democracy, and when they get it on an important subject they would only then begin to criticize after it has been passed and they come to apply it, but all of us have to do our bit in law making, so we will put it for a week to Tuesday next week and the other Bill with the Minister of Education would also, so we do both Bills next week. So that was the intention.Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name, it reads as follows:WHEREAS, in accordance with section 18(1) of the Law Revision Act 2009 the Attorney General caused the complete set of the Revised Edition of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be placed before the Honourable House;AND WHEREAS, section 18(2) of the said Act provide that upon approval of the Revised Edition by resolution of the House of Assembly, the Governor-General shall, by proclamation, order that the Revised Edition shall come into force on such day as may be specified in the proclamation;NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this Honourable House do approve by resolution the Revised Edition of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.HONOURABLE SIR LOUIS STRAKER: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and agreed to.Resolution move and seconded.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, a publishing agreement signed between the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and law publishers LexisNexis was signed on 23rd March 2009. All payments due under the contract are up-to-date. The law revision project costs $1,315,091.24 the laws of our country in this process have been updated and consolidated to December 31st 2008. Six, case bound sets, what you call the archives sets were delivered to the Attorney General Chambers; one set will be presented to the House today and have been presented to the House today in accordance with the Law Revision Act No. 9 of 2009 section 18(1). The other five sets would be distributed45after publication of the proclamation in accordance with section 18(3) that is to the Governor General, the Attorney General, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Registrar of the High Court and the Law Revision Commission.Fifty loose leave sets of Revised Laws have been delivered to the Attorney General’s Chambers. The Revised Edition of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is ready for publication. The date for launching and publication will be fixed in due course. Under the said publishing agreement, the Government is solely responsible for distribution and marketing of the printed sets within SVG alone to both government and non- governmental sectors. LexisNexis distributes outside our country. LexisNexis is responsible for marketing and administrative support for all electronic licences versions in and outside St. Vincent and the Grenadines.Additional licences for the electronic version for the government only we have provision for additional licences provided at costs beyond the 50 allocated without additional costs and for government use only as is set out in the agreement, the prices of publications to the non-governmental sector which is the sector which my Honourable friend is interested in.LexisNexis has the right to set the retail price for printed and electronic publication. Government has the right to buy at discounts as provided for in the agreement, the prices for the laws. LexisNexis has determined the retail price for the laws for the time being as follows: printed sets and I am giving it in US dollars. The printed sets Honourable Members are US$3,950 the approximately updated price is US$520.00. Now, these are not particularly exorbitant given the fees which are charged and I want to say this, well there are fifteen of them you are getting you know and high quality stuff and it will help greatly no doubt for when they are put as capital expenditure to be discounted for Income Tax purposes. I would be very pleased that if practitioners were to put the correct statement of their income in addition to having it discounted against whatever income they put. It would be a wonderful thing. I am sure that the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines would support me in that regard. You would [interjection] I was not talking about they, I was talking about you; you cannot speak for them [laughter].Mr. Speaker, we note that LexisNexis is responsible for marketing and for the printed edition outside of SVG and the government is responsible for sales of the printed edition within St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The online version, a single user for the online version would be US$2,350.00. For two users is US$2,750.00 going up to 11 to 20 users US$3,950.00. I want you to note again that LexisNexis is responsible for sales and support for the online version both within and outside St. Vincent and the Grenadines. So I make that point when my Honourable friend addresses the issue of making it available to everyone online.I want also for it to be noted that in order to maintain the viability of publishing and consistency within the market, LexisNexis requests that the Attorney General’s Office sell the print online to the SVG market at the above or similar prices. It is understood that government departments only would be supplied at concessionary prices which would be a discount of the retail price. So instead of the government departments having to pay US$3,950.00 they will pay US$2,808.00I want it to be noted too that the printed sets and online versions would be sold at separate solutions rather than combining the latter with the print. The exception is in the 50 units of each provided to the government under the terms of the contract. The government is committed too and LexisNexis is obliged to supply under the46agreement 50 sets without additional charge. These are available at the government’s discretion for distribution to government departments free or at costs and to non-governments, for example, legal sector on commercial terms based upon the retail price structure advised by LexisNexis.If prints beyond 50 sets of supply are required the government is to notify LexisNexis and they would do it very speedily.As you noticed, the agreement was signed in March last year and they are already here with us. Regarding the updating of the laws the agreement provides for the updates of the Revised Edition for each of four years for the 50 loose leaf printed sets and 50 licences of electronic edition provided to the government within the annual fee and I said earlier, let us assume that the proclamation date is January 1st next year, which seems to be a convenient date, we will do 2009 and 2010 is the supplement to these and they will be within the framework of the agreement. There will be two more and after that for any further additions a separate fee will be negotiated with LexisNexis.Mr. Speaker, the problem is this, the annual supplements is in the region of US$16,500.00 that is for the central. Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Attorney General would have to find out from the Bar Association how many more they would like to have and given the price to pay upfront so that the Honourable Attorney General’s Office can order them. We really cannot go about US$4000 almost for each set to go and order 50 sets of US$4000 and therefore have US$200,000 worth of books lying down. People would consider that, over half a million dollars worth of books, people would consider that not to be a sensible expenditure. So the professionals would have to order it and they will come within a very quick time. It is not like in the old fashioned publishing. These things are done very swiftly, but of course, it would be sensible for the lawyers clearly to buy the online version and they will be able to use it, they would take their laptops to courts or they can have them printed the laws off which you want to take to the..., if you do not want to spend all at one time, Honourable Member you are close to US$4000. So there it is. I cannot recall what is the price of the set in 1990, EC$2500 close to US$1000 in 1990. This is 18 years later and it is it is now 15 volumes instead of 8 in the previous, so it is twice the extent. So you see, it is not comparatively speaking, it is not such a bad deal, but there it is justice and democracy do not come cheap. So we simply have to do our work and do it in the best possible manner. I am obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Any further debate?DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, much of what I have to say on the matter I have said in the discussion of the Bill itself. I would just wish to reiterate that although the Prime Minister said that justice and democracy do not come cheap that they have to be affordable. So that is a consideration that we always have to keep in mind that we do all this not for the lawyers or for the jurists but for the people. Thank you.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I will just say this that I am sure that the Honourable Attorney General can agree for one of the electronic copies to be placed at the Public Library so that the public can have access. The point about it as you would appreciate, whatever the codes which have to be provided and you can just imagine, people who..., even at the Attorney General’s Chambers you know there is an easy movement, people who come and go. If they have it, the access and they go into the private sector they can use47it and not pay. So there have to be some control mechanisms put in place that is the world in which we are at the moment.Mr. Speaker, I thank the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines for his support and I put the practical issue again before him which I am sure the Honourable Leader of the Opposition would whisper into his ear having been a Minister of Finance what some of these practical issues concern with and I will read the operative section of the Motion, Mr. Speaker.NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this Honourable House do approve by resolution the Revised Edition of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.Question put and agreed to. Resolution adopted.SUSPENSIONDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, before I move the suspension for Tuesday 2nd November, I know the Honourable Attorney General would contact the Bar again, the matter has been put in the public domain, we have published it in newspapers, it has costs us a lot of money, but we have gotten no responses to Status of Children Bill. I am asking that those who have concerns, please, write in because this has been subject to tremendous review, as I have said, there had been case law since 1980, we have had now 30 years of case law and changes have been made in light of case law, but we want to make sure that we have the best possible law in relation to the status of children.I beg to move, Mr. Speaker, that this Honourable House, do stand suspended until 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday 2nd November, 2010.Question put and agreed to. House suspended at 2:00 p.m. until Tuesday 2nd November, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.page48image1554448