KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The late payment of the subvention for the National Irrigation Authority resulted in it workers not being paid recently, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said this week.

“I think, frankly speaking, it was the lateness of the delivery of their subvention. I don’t know who or what was the cause of the lateness of the delivery of their subvention …” he said at a press conference.

“It think there have been late payments because I have a couple of constituents who work there and they had complained to me and I know payments had been made and I thought that the issues had been solved since they had been paid their back payments,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.

The News newspaper carried a report last week of workers at the Authority complaining about late payments.

Gonsalves noted that the subvention is the National Irrigation Authority’s only source of income and said that Ministry of Finance officials should ensure that these types of monies are processes “with expedition”.

“The monies involved are really, properly speaking, not significant monies. … And there is no reason why they should not be paid and a person who works must get his payments. It’s as simple as that,” Gonsalves said.

“It is good when the press finds out things like these to bring them to the attention of the public and in the process for public servants to make sure that they do their jobs; that what Parliament had voted is delivered,” Gonsalves said.

“We are not talking about capital expenses. We are talking about the normal recurrent expenses to keep the thing ticking over,” he said, noting that the annual subvention to the authority is not particularly large.

Gonsalves also said that the National Irrigation Authority was a burden to the Central Water and Sewerage Authority when it was apart of that state-owned business.

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