NDP Vice-President, St. Clair Leacock, has accused the ULP administration of not keeping its manifesto promises. He is seen here in May 2014. (Photo: NDP/Facebook)

Opposition lawmaker St. Clair Leacock read from a Director General of Audit report as he told Vincentians in New York Saturday night that there is “deep-seated” corruption within the Unity Labour Party government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The Central Kingstown representative, who is also a vice president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), said he was borrowing Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ expression, “the gloves are off”, and outlined what he said was the failure of the ULP to keep many of its 2001 manifesto promises.

Speaking at an NDP organised town hall meeting in Brooklyn, Leacock quoted the manifesto and the 2010 Audit report and spoke of breeches of government procedures at the SVG consulate in New York.

“… I find it a remarkable document as a point of departure for the quagmire, the mess, the despair, the hopelessness that we are in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at this time,” Leacock said of the manifesto.

He noted that the ULP had promised to wage a war on corruption in government, but said, “Satan can’t correct sin.

“They have to be the architects of corruption,” Leacock said, adding that the ULP’s promise to introduce integrity legislation was the “first lie”.

He noted that former national security minister under the ULP, Sir Vincent Beache, had told Vincentians “don’t look for me” if the ULP did not introduce integrity legislation within 100 days of taking office.

“And as faith would have it, it turned out to be the NDP, with two efforts, to bring that piece of legislation to the Parliament and failed to have the support of the governing regime to bring integrity legislation to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Leacock said.

“What a shame…” Leacock further said as be likened the government to “back-back turkey” — the Vincentian term for the larval form of antlions.

He further said that the ULP had promised to strengthen the criminal laws against corruption.

Leacock quoted the audit report as saying that “the financial statements presented for audit did not, in all material respects, fairly represent the financial position of the government of St, Vincent and the Grenadines as at 31st December 2009 and 31st December 2010.’

“In other words, they got a qualified audit report,” Leacock said, adding that in the private sector, the CEO would be fired in such a situation.

NDP meeting

He further said that he ULP, which came to office in March 2001, had said it would stop the widespread racketeering and thievery at several government departments.

But Leacock added that the audit reports highlighted “deep seated sets of conflicts of interest which have allowed government officers to rob … government ministries and those officers have been promoted from the ground floor to the upper floor.

“And a prime minister sits there and does nothing about it,” he said, adding that he would not call names, “out of the sensitivity for the persons involved”.

The ULP had said that under the NDP administrations, there was a lack of financial accountability in SVG’s overseas missions. “Well mouth open and story jump out. … With respect to ending corruption, this is the crowning jewel for the ULP administration,” Leacock said, referring to a Sept. 9 to 21, 2013 Director of audit report on the SVG Consulate in New York.

The report said the records presented by the consulate “were extremely disorganised, and devoid of important supporting documentation, hence the scope of the audit was limited and as such, significant errors and irregularities may not have been detected”.

Among the significant findings of the audit, Leacock said, quarterly allotment remitted to the consulate officer were not transmitted on a timely basis, there was no monthly expenditure summary to reflect the expenditure incurred for the period under review, and no bank reconciliation statement prepared for the operating of passport accounts for the period under review.

Other significant findings were frequent withdrawal of sums of $200 for petty cash, without any supporting invoices, an outstanding balance of $16,964 on the American Express card as of July 1, 2013, receipt books otherwise than those prescribed by the financial regulation were used by the consulate general office for a significant length of time during the period under review, and the consulate offices continued to collect passport fees without the requisite authority.

“This is the auditor general speaking about a government who speaks about transparency and accusing people, and administrations past,” Leacock said.

“You know, it’s painful to go through this,” Leacock said, adding that the report said that payments made on behalf of senior government officials were not reimbursed to the consulate office, expenditure of $61,000, which was incurred for the purchasing of furniture for the consular general apartment was not cleared from the advance account…”

“… the consul general has indicated that US$2400 that was paid on his behalf by the consulate in 2011 to secure living quarters is still outstanding and will be paid early in the new year,” he further said, quoting the report.

“And I can go on and on. A litany of woes in a consulate office by a government, and people are on Facebook pointing fingers at others in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Leacock said.

5 replies on “Leacock says ‘the gloves are off’, accuses gov’t of ‘deep-seated corruption’”

  1. The NDP party continues to speak about SVG as if it is doom and gloom. SVG is alive and well, its struggles continue just like any other nation. The difference between the NDP in power and the NDP now, is the party structure is led by one group who seeks to demonize the Government or anyone who supports the good governance.
    Since 2001 the balance has been shifted from the wealthy to the middle-class so that the poorer people could get an opportunity, the NDP is not discussing that change.
    More schools are being built, the poorer class now have a fair and square opportunity to go to university one child at a time. It is time the NDP stop spreading the message of doom and gloom in SVG.
    Eustace seeking to demonize the woman whom he owed for long time but was forced to pay under pressure is an example of a spiteful, revengeful political party.

  2. Just reading and learning of the ULP’ corrupt practices and blatant disregard for the rule of law in SVG, just make me sick to the core. I am convinced now more than at any time before that many key members of the ULP gang of pirates, buccaneers and thieves will be residents at Belle Isle Hotel for crooks and criminals, for a very long time. The rapist can run but he can’t hide. He and he cousin going down big time!

  3. For sure quite a few of them are going to prison, leaders have went to jail for way less than whart these guys did in vincy. It is sickening and sad because no amount of jail would ever be enough for doing such wicked things. Look at SVG today and know that Vincentians would be paying for debt for years to come is really sad. But at least with jail we would set an example of these crooks.

  4. Junior says that “Mr. Eustace was forced to pay his former employee under pressure.” Well, Junior, Mr. Eustace had the right just like any other employer in St.Vincent to have the matter of employee dishonesty dealt with by the Labour Department. Unfortunately, the matter was ruled against him. That’s no big deal- since the lady was paid every penny and she was very happy. But have you and your fellow band of badminded ULP victimizers anything to say, when the Comrade fired Anesia Baptiste-( who was an excellent public servant), for no just reason, and put her on the bread line? Which institution of Government could she have gone to for redress? None! Because they have to listen and take telling from ‘papa’. Or are you Junior aware that the court ruled in Mr. Otto Sam’s favour but the ULP badminded government refused to comply with the court ruling? Or are further aware that the three teachers from the last general elections (2010) were not reinstated because the Comrade spitefully refused to honour the agreement signed between the Teachers Union and trhe Government? Did they received any compensation from the Comrade and do you know how they are providing for their families? You might quicker know, however, that all the failed ULP candidates were given sweetbread big jobs and so they continue to live the good life. So Mr. JUNIOR please take off your ULP dark shades and respond to my questions.

  5. @Khales….Certainly you seem blinded by the fact that the state of SVG economy by the time the ULP took office was in total chaos. What happened to Ottley Hall Marina? You remember who build the Kingstown Market? Who owned the former National Lotteries Building and rented it back to lotteries office? Tell me under the NDP how many scholarships were given to the poorer class of people?
    The big names family in SVG are members of the NDP party that they are the wealthy ones, they were the ones who benefited under that party while they were in power, now they want to still drink soup off the backs of the poor?
    I could list more and more, you have to take off your dark glasses and support good governance or at least appreciate it. Under the NDP they were two classes of the island WEALTHY of SVG and the POOR. You know the wealthy by name because they STILL own majority of the wealth in SVG.
    I thank God for the Comrade that he aided, educated and assisted some of the very people who turn back and bite his hand.

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