Sen. Camillo Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

Every time Camillo Gonsalves comes to these news sites, he writes articles that only a few can understand.  Some do not bother to read because they are written like his father’s speeches – long, rambling, and very boring.

Eustace is wrong on alleged IMF-SVG agreement

Like his father, he just had to introduce some insult against Arnhim Eustace. “The Hon. Leader of the Opposition’s experience, competence and vision as an economist is an oft-discussed topic in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”

What I will say about such a remark is that Arnhim Eustace does not knowingly tell lies and he has never been accused of rape or sexual assault.  He is very much respected as a very decent man and all his past fiscal information and forecasts regarding what the ULP government’s mal-financial matters and behaviours have all come true.   He has more experience regarding money matters, loans, borrowing etc., than any of the Gonsalves/Francis ruling family clan put together.

I would imagine Camillo sat down with daddy and they spent hours composing such a piece.  It’s what I will describe as a Gonsalves clan communiqué.  I would not believe for one moment that daddy would allow Camillo to publish anything without his approval or creative input.

It’s my belief that PM Gonsalves voluntarily introduced an austerity regime and it’s that what’s reflected in the wording terminology of the IMF contract and report.

You must remember we may never know what is in the original report, or if it was changed.  The Government gets to read the report before its published.  The government has the right to have anything that they object to removed from the report before it is published.  So if there is anything which may cause the government embarrassment or problems it is removed or re-worded.

I cannot see that the Honourable Arnhim Eustace is complaining about “austerity” programmes per-se. He is complaining that the public is not being informed of the truth —  as usual everything is hidden.  There has been a wage freeze in SVG now for years, civil servants pay awards drawn out over several years instead of paying them at the time of the award — a smoke and mirrors policy.

The Gonsalves clan, through their spokesman wrote,  “the Fund has also developed mechanisms that lend money to countries at extremely favourable terms, and without conditionalities”.

That is a barrel of crap. The IMF, like any other lender, always do so with conditions of one kind or another; so that is a very red (herring) statement. The difference is if the government does not want those terms to be put to the public, the IMF go along with that to a certain degree. According to the IMF, “A member country requesting RFI assistance is required to cooperate with the IMF to make efforts to solve its balance of payment difficulties and to describe the general economic policies that it proposes to follow”.

So sorting though the long protracted report by the Gonsalves clan, the truth is hereby exposed as being exactly as the Honourable Arnhim Eustace said, the IMF confirm that “describe the general economic policies that it proposes to follow”.

As for the airport I wish to reiterate my belief that the whole project has been built on a continual series of lies.  The whole project has been based on lies and untruths from start to finish.  Lies about funding, who was paying the Cubans wages, who was supplying materials and services free, the coalition of the willing, plant and machinery was being supplied free, when completed we would be completely debt free, land owners would be paid promptly (60 haven’t been paid at all after six years waiting), all lies.  In fact, I believe the project has been based on the mass deception of the Vincentian people, at home and abroad.

The ULP has proven to us that they cannot run the country let alone an international airport. I will refrain from saying they could not run a mauby shop, because it’s many times worse than that, and such a statement would be a gross insult to mauby shop owners. All the government buildings are falling apart and require urgent repairs and painting. Even government buildings that were built during the last 10 years are now looking like slums. All the roads are damaged further through neglect, to the state that many are now unusable, even on foot, let alone by vehicle.

There is no hospital in SVG capable of dealing with more than a one- or two-person emergency. When two people arrive at Milton Cato seriously injured, the second one may wait for a long time to receive treatment. No drugs, no dressings, sometimes no bedclothes, sheets, etc. Family and relatives have to scurry and scuttle around the island’s pharmacies looking for medication, to take back to the hospital.  Currently, they have no pain medicines or drugs, except headache tablets, and the mind and body damaging raw morphine.

If there was ever an accident at the airport those people would be doomed to die, if not in the crash, certainly by being unable to get proper and swift medical treatment.

They are building some kind of clinic at Georgetown, right at the base of an active volcano, have been building it for years, it’s only five years behind schedule.  One of the most stupid projects yet; not because of what it is, but because of where it is.

With regards to the Christmas disaster — a disaster that the Gonsalves clan describe as a natural disaster, it was a natural disaster, but one that was made worse by the failure of government and its ministers.  River defences that were subject to numerous reports over the last 14 years remain to this day ignored and not done.  Even to the point that many died at Christmas by the same government failures of duty and care at Buccament. I have pointed out that the government and ministries from top to bottom were aware of the possible outcome because of their failure to install defences could bring, and it did. I believe that Ministers, including the PM, must be held fully responsible and culpable for the deaths of everyone of those people, also the loss of property.   Yet they have tried to use the help from agencies, companies and individuals as their own help, they have turned it into an electioneering tool.

Then the Gonsalves clan describes the IMF loan as a paltry amount “in exchange for a relatively paltry $6.4 million”, what kind of insult is that to the IMF, it may fall short of the $200 million that daddy would have liked, but it’s much more and at a lower rate than we got or was offered by the ALBA, who we were led to believe were now covering us with a financial umbrella, which has turned out to be only a very limited sun shade.   It sort of reminds me of when the team of proposed ULP constituency representatives were described as the “Dream Team” but actually turned out to be our worst nightmare.

One thing about the IMF, whilst these debates rage on, they will never make comment, they will never get embroiled in the clans explanations, they will never confirm the correctness or incorrectness of what the Honourable Arnhim Eustace said. They rely on what they initially wrote and that is it.

We are all aware of what our budgets say, but unfortunately I believe little of what is written, or contained in budget speeches or addresses, if the author or orator is PM Gonsalves, because since he told us he sometimes tells lies I do not believe anything that he writes or says.

Again, the Clan spokesman wrote “small $6.4 million austerity package defies fiscal logic, especially when neighbouring countries have sought and received up to $118 million for IMF adjustment programmes”.

They are obviously deeply “hissed” off that the IMF didn’t give them the $200 million that daddy would have preferred to receive from the fund.

As for firing public servants, it is difficult for the ULP government to do that because just about every last one of them are base ULP supporters, many exchanged for NDP employees over the years; many from the Central Windward constituency.   You know the area, it’s where the clan have their castle.

Lastly, I ask you once again, Camillo, please ask daddy exactly what he meant when he said he is here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop. That statement by him worries me because part of Maurice Bishops work was to commit fraud against the IMF by keeping two sets of books/accounts.  A procedure demanded of him by the Cubans.  I am not saying for a moment that is what is happening in SVG, or that daddy is involved in such matters,  but as a matter of comfort for myself and others who worry about such statements, we must have the answer, which I have asked for on numerous occasions.  What exactly did daddy mean when he said he is here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop?

By the way Millo, just a thought, what is your view on finishing the work of Maurice Bishop, the dead Marxist revolutionary?

Yours with extraordinary sincerity,

Peter Binose 

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

3 replies on “A reply to Camillo’s letter about Eustace, IMF”

  1. The wording comes directly from the IMF press release. And yes, the IMF is always discreet. They say less rather than more. To do otherwise, would place an additional burden on the grantee administration and they would not want to be seen to be doing that.

    I believe that the leader of the opposition has decoded the language accurately. No amount of stylizing is going to convince me otherwise because it is as it is. Period.

    http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2014/pr14383.htm

  2. Millo, we are waiting for an answer and reply to every point and question that I pose above.

    Some of these questions have been owed a reply for years now, its not just that I raise them now.

    Millo, consult with daddy before Monday so as he can brief you on what to say to stay within the permitted parameters of his rules on divulgence and public statements.

    You may also want to consult with uncle, if daddy approves that of course. Perhaps not, uncle is a little prone to putting his foot in his mouth, and I know full well he would like to put his foot in my mouth.

  3. So the IMF press release states:

    “At the same time, they [the gov’t of St.Vincent] will step up their efforts to mobilize budgetary resources by increasing revenue collection, containing the wage bill, and reducing transfers to state-owned enterprises.”

    I think that the simple question which needs answering by our Prime Minister, or someone within his Ministry is:

    “How did we (through the Government of St.Vincent and the Grenadines) agree to increase our revenue collection, contain the wage bill & reduce transfers to State -owned enterprise?”

    Had there been full disclosure in the first instance, I do not think that this would have become such an issue. I doubt that anyone is disputing the need for the loan; the reason that this is now becoming an issue is that when the leader of the Opposition alluded to ‘austerity measures’ being agreed to without the knowledge of Vincentians instead of simply confirming what was agreed to, the Government and it’s spoesperson(s) thought best to attack the opposition leader.

    Personally, I do not care who makes the information public, as long as it is public and we as Vincentians know what we are being signed up to.

    Maybe the Government (current & and future) should always remember that they are elected to serve us; not the other way around. So if it’s a case where you agreed to certain conditions, simply let us know what those conditions were. Forget the need for political point scoring. As a Vincentian, all I am asking is to be made aware of what is happening in St.Vincent. We will have more respect for our leaders then; those in Government & in Opposition.

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