ST. VINCENT: – Former Prime Minister Sir James wants the two organisations to which government leased two car parks to ensure that the monies they earned benefit the members of the organisation.
The Dr. Ralph Gonsalves administration has leased the state-owned car parks in Kingstown and Arnos Vale to the National Labour Congress (NLC) and the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA).
“I want to know what kind of auditing will be in place to see how they move the money to the farmers; what kind of auditing will be in place to see it moving to the workers and the trade union,” Sir James said at a rally staged by the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“First of all, I am saying in the laws of this country, trade unions are supposed to file, like any company, their returns with the Registrar every year. And I want to find out if those organizations are filing their returns so people know what they doing with their money,” said Sir James, who was prime minister for 17 years.
“If you [are] giving it to an organization, let us see how the organization works. We don’t trust them,” the retired politician added.
Sir James raised questions about the process through which the car parks were transferred the NLC and WINFA after the Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s lease was not renewed this year, after two five-year terms.
“I cannot understand why these things are not being done by public tender,” he said. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
He said if the government has anything to sell or dispose of, it should be done by public tender and offer.
“You should not be putting one of your friends and say ‘You take that over and run with it’. It can’t be done that way. There must be equality of opportunity in this country and people must have a chance to make their proposal and to develop themselves,” he said.
“We keep talking in this country that it is the private sector or business that has to create jobs. Yet, here is a government that is not interested in the development of the private sector; they’re only interested in the development of their friends. You can’t run a country by only giving opportunities to your friends; a country has to be one with even opportunities for everybody,” Sir James added.