Note from the blogger: I Witness-News was not updated over the past few weeks because of other personal commitments by the blogger.
ST. VINCENT (Feb. 25):- The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has described as “blood money”, EC$667,500 (US$250,000) the nation received from Libya on Monday to assist with hurricane recovery.
Libya’s Ambassador to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Ammat Ali, presented the cheque to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security in Kingstown, Godfred Pompey.
The presentation took place as the Moammar Gadhafi government in Libya staged a bloody crackdown against citizens protesting against his regime, which came to power during a 1969 coup.
The presentation, made without any remarks, was witnessed by Michelle Forbes, Acting Director of the National Emergency Management Organization.
Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, told party supporters at a rally on Thursday, Feb. 24, that the Dr Ralph Gonsalves government in Kingstown was accepting Libyan aid even as the Gadhafi government was “shooting down people in Libya…
“You know, that is blood money! That is blood money!” Eustace said during the rally held to whip up support for a protest march against two controversial bills to be taken to Parliament next week.
Eustace said that Libyans, over the years, allowed Gadhafi “to be a dictator and now while they are suffering, he is sending a few dollars to ralph.
“I want Ralph to tell the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines … what is his position now about Gadhafi,” said Eustace, whose party has been critical of warming relations between Kingstown and Tripoli and other leftish nations, such as Iran.
“When we complained about our relationship with Libya and these countries, they say we are not progressive. They say we backward and we dotish (stupid). Well, what is going on in Libya now is neither backward nor dotishness (stupidity). It’s just wickedness — sheer wickedness of a man who seeks to hold on to power forever until God takes him,” Eustace said.
Eustace said that Gadhafi has had 42 years in office “and he doesn’t want to go.
“And I watched him tonight on television and I came to the conclusion that he is a crazy man. But he came to that position, because, in many ways, people allowed him to come to that position, including some of our leaders here in the Caribbean,” Eustace said.
State media in St. Vincent quoted General Manager of the Housing and Land Development Corporation, Maurice Slater, as saying that the Libyan funds will be used, along with other funds from Venezuela and the Corporation’s monies, to continue the recovery programme.
St. Vincent was severely impacted by Hurricane Tomas, which swept over the Eastern Caribbean region on October 30, last year.
In St. Vincent, the storm damaged over 1,200 private homes, as well as public buildings and infrastructure, roads and power systems along with three public schools and five community centres.
According to international media reports, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay has said on Friday that Libya’s bloody crackdown on protesters is “escalating alarmingly” and “thousands may have been killed or injured”.