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A new vehicle purchased for use by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has evoked a criticism of excessive spending from Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.

The government has purchased two vehicles, a Toyota Prado, registration number G7, assigned to Gonsalves, and another vehicle for Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne.

The vehicle assigned to Gonsalves is the third since he came to office on March 28, 2001.

The first was G1, a Mercedes Benz sedan, a Volvo bought in 2007, and the Toyota Prado.

Prices listed on the Internet suggested that the government might have paid in excess of EC$100,000 for the latest vehicle.

Speaking on his radio programme on Monday, Eustace noted that former prime minister, Sir James Mitchell, who was in office from 1984 to October 2000, used one vehicle for 14 years.

Around 2000, when Eustace was Minister of Finance, the government budgeted EC$55,000 to buy a new vehicle to be used by Sir James.

“Ralph Gonsalves opposed that down the line,” Eustace said, adding, “How many vehicles he (Gonsalves) had? He had from Mercedes Benz, all kinds of vehicles since he is prime minister for a shorter time than Sir James.

“When I became Prime Minister I got the same car. I used to help push it when it breakdown,” said Eustace who was prime minister from October 2000 to March 2001.

“When I was Prime Minister, I pushed the car when it broke down in Government House yard, trying to get it start. Fourteen years Sir James had that car. So when you look at these excesses of expenditure and so, no wonder our financial position is where it is,” Eustace said.

But Gonsalves told I-Witness News that Eustace was speaking about the vehicle because he had nothing else to talk about.

“When a leader of the opposition doesn’t have anything else to talk but the prime minister’s vehicle, you know really that they are bankrupt of ideas,” Gonsalves told I-Witness News on Monday.

He said that for the last three months he has had to borrow a vehicle from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The G7 which was purchased in 2007 has some mechanical problems and they were trying to sort them out, and in fact, since last year it was having problems. A seven-year-old vehicle? The government will either put it to use somewhere else or sell it,” Gonsalves said.

He told I-Witness News that he was not involved in the criticism of Sir James when money was budgeted for a new vehicle, almost 15 years ago.

“In fact, the vehicle which Sir James left should have been changed before he left office because when I got it, the hubcaps and so on were falling off regularly,” Gonsalves said.

He said that when officials were discussing a new vehicle for him, they suggested several types.

“I said why don’t you buy a vehicle here, a Toyota, which they went and did and they did all the specs and thing and they get a vehicle. The previous vehicle is seven years old. Executives around town change their vehicles every three years. This is a 7-year-old vehicle which I am changing,” Gonsalves said.

He told I-Witness News that he believes that a similar vehicle was bought for the Governor General.

“The Governor General had to be driving his personal vehicle. The Governor General’s vehicle has gone into disrepair — his official vehicle,” Gonsalves said.

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13 replies on “New SUV for PM is excessive spending, says Opposition Leader (+Video)”

  1. I FULLY endorse the purchasing of a new vehicle for the PM! Has anyone seen the state of the roads? Horrible! If I had the opportunity to change my vehicle every 5 years or so why wouldn’t I? If I were not paying taxes and high vehicle licenses among other things, I would certainly save that money to pay for a new vehicle. Unfortunately, I am not an executive nor do I have the power to authorize the purchase of a new vehicle. I am a lowly worker who pays taxes so that my PM can buy new vehicles every seven years and compare himself to executives who do the same every three years! Of course I sympathize and understand- who wouldn’t? And how dear the OL open his mouth to talk about spending that amount of money for a new ride? Who cares about you trying to be prudent in your spending- talking about inheriting a 14 year old car? Who really cares? What? You want to tell the government how to spend their (our) money? You want to tell them that they should spend it on improving roads, schools, hospitals and clinics and services. No no no… We don’t want that!

  2. Hang on, this really can’t be a story.
    I see no problem even if a PM changes his vehicle every two years.
    I am a mid-level manager in a medium size company and I get to change my vehicle every 4 years.
    I think it’s within reason for the country to afford a change every 2 – 4 years.
    What should be considered is how these vehicles are subsequently disposed of.
    Who buys these used vehicles and at what price, now that is a potential story.

  3. Rudolph De Freitas says:

    I like reading your stories on a daily basis, however, I feel as though your reaction to everything by the ULP administration is somehow lack a clear vision on your path.

  4. Is Eustace for real? I cannot believe this man is grabbing as straws as he drowns in the sea of desperation. Our Head of State deserves a good car. Are we so backward that our PM cannot travel in modern cars. Oh my God, have mercies on Eustace. He is getting overbearing now. Every day and week is some non-sense from him and his NDP

  5. Mr. Editor, please continue to report on these matters. It seems as though most readers continue to use their partisan lenses when reading your stories.

    Now I would not want my PM to push any vehicle in order for it to jump-start, however, four vehicles in 13 years tantamount to abuse. Eustace should focus on this and leave the issue of free lunches at government meetings alone.

    Mr. Editor, it seems as though the “higher ups” in SVG are “sucking their teeth” every time we disagree with any of their actions.

    We said to give Bigger Biggs back his license and let the issue die a natural death.(strupes)
    We said no to Sehon Marshall (strupes)
    We said to make the former Registrar issue a teachable moment (strupes)
    We said to stop insulting people with different political viewpoints (strupes)
    We said to ease up on suing people because both parties are culpable.(strupes)
    We said to hold the bull by its horns and fix the houses (strupes)
    We said to clean house at HLDC (strupes)

    I can go on but time and space forbid. Government is by and for the people, and the stakeholders in government need to listen to the people. The government cannot continue to “strupe its teeth” at the people and expect law and order to prevail in the land.

    Please Dr. Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves listen to the voices of the people.

  6. This guy is real something else eh? Don’t stop Now PM buy everything new go out in style. Buy new clothes, new house, anything you want the people of SVG will pay. Buy a car for your partner Julian too man, people washing hospital clothes by hand because the machine broke but alyo big up alyo self.

    I am always amazed by Vincentians. Truly I am always amazed. The Last PM sir James wanted a new car, and this was when SVG was doing way better than now. And the opposition led by Ralph Gonsalves said that he was wicked. But now we can’t even keep up with his vehicles he has so many but yet Vincentians are suffering from no money and unemployment and people are still defending these thing?. Vincentians really deserve everything they get, for defending nonsense like this. Buy one for Camillo to Dr Ralph, enjoy yourself, and anybody who on the gravy train buy them a car too. Buy cars until your hand get weary, they bother with them, they just jealous they not on the gravy train like you.

    Below is a recording of Dr Ralph saying there is a Gravy Train in SVG.
    https://soundcloud.com/tags/ulp%20gravy%20train

  7. Its funny when the shoe is on the other foot its a problem. I remember when Sir James wanted a new car after 14 years.

    Ralph when to town, on how wasteful of the NDP…and that was in a time of surplus.

    And for those that cant see the problem, go to hospital and ask for the every basic stuff, like clean bed sheets and pressure tables.

    I also remember when Ralph use to call Mitchell the national bird because he fly so much. I wonder what he would call himself, because he only come to SVG to bath and get a change of clothes.

    Take off the red glasses…OWN YOUR MIND PEOPLE.

  8. junio cumberbatch says:

    DAT IS D MAN WHO WANT TO B SVG PRIME MINISTER.REALLY.LIKE JAMES MITCHELL SAID TIME TO GIVE UP UR POSITION.U HAVE NO VISION FOR SVG

  9. VINCENT KENNEDY says:

    What you eat and drink after many years will impact your thinking. For about 6 days now, I’ve been drinking a 16.9 oz bottle of water for breakfast. That kind of doing enabled me to take my medications on mornings. Yes, something in my stomach for medications: WATER…….

  10. Come on Hon. Arnhim Eustace you mean to say you cant find anything more constructive to focus your energies on. If the PM needs a vehicle to replace the aging one he has what’s
    the problem in buying one. If you want to be PM and operate like Barney and Fred by wanting to have a vehicle that you have to be pushing vehicle to roll start and horde your surplus that’s your choice. Could you imagine Arnhim Eustace PM in these hard guava crop times? How would he have been able to cope? In more prosperous times when there was surplus galore, all the police stations, schools, clinics and other government buildings were in such deplorable state you couldn’t believe. The police hardly had vehicles to respond to incidents. Teachers policemen and other public and civil servants were so much underpaid that they were almost or on the poverty line; reclassification solved that issue. Vincentian students almost got banned or thrown out of UWI because of lack of payment. SURPLUS SURPLUS SURPLUS. Do you think in these times Arnhim Eustace could manage an economy like this without civil unrest when his main focus is on Surplus and fiscal prudence. He could be a very good economist to work in institutions like CDB and others but really, to run a country, you need more than that. Running a country has a social side. There are instances where you have to make decision that may affect the books negatively but you know in the long run that decision impacted people’s life in a positive way. So in the books the country may incur a deficit but you have made life easier for the poor. Good examples: Duty free barrels, No income houses, $500 incentive for secondary school graduates, you know the criteria, increase in public assistance and i can go on and on. Remember as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister, Eustace managed an economy with poverty levels over 40% and indigence over 25%. It was he who said around 2000 or thereabout that he was not aware that there was so much poverty existing in St. Vincent.

    1. – In 2000 the “poverty levels over 40%” ?? According to what agency….CBD, World Bank, IMF? Or we just gonna make it up as we go along?

      – “Teachers policemen and other public and civil servants were so much underpaid that they were almost or on the poverty line” – So in 14 years they are given an increase far lower than either the cummulative rate of inflation OR that of VAT but somehow they no longer “almost on the poverty line” ? Can you explain how this is mathematically possible

      – “$500 incentive for secondary school graduates” – When they need help to make it trough school the book loan scheme is decreased, when they done school and need a job you give them $500…….SMH

  11. It would be wise if other NDP candidates take up issues like the “New Car” deal. We are not hearing from many of these candidates in waiting. Don’t let Arnhim carry the entire load, do something, take up your positions.
    I have a job for the “Young New Democrats”: Go out to the towns and villages and spread the word. Let the people know you are ready and tell them why they need to remove this evil, wicked, lying, unfaithful and obnoxious leader.
    You may be ready, but are the people ready? The only way you’d find out is to go out and ask them. Find out what ails them and try to convince them that a brighter day is coming.

  12. If the NDP makes this a campaign issue, it will be one more nail in the NDP coffin. So let it go ahead and tell the nation about the new car for the PM. The nation is a proud nation now than it was under the NDP and it will reject the NDP talk and ensure the NDP is defeated at the polls for all this non-sense and self hate talk.

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