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].

The coalition of chaos, the pacts or treaties that Prime Minister Gonsalves claimed he had established between a number of countries to cooperate in a joint action to build the Argyle International Airport, simply did not exist in the way he led the country to believe they did.

Usually, an alliance is a temporary agreement or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant, best described as a joining of “factions”.

What we got was nothing much like a coalition. We were told that the Mexicans promised to supply all the cement for the project. The Trinidadians promised to supply all the tarmac. The Cubans were to supply all the labour and the Venezuelans were to supply all the wages of the Cubans. The Venezuelans were also to supply all the plant and machinery. We were told about many others who were going to supply millions in cash aid.

What did we in fact get? Well, the Mexicans supplied not one single bag of cement. The Trinidadians did not supply 1 ounce of tarmac. The Cubans charged us many more times than what they paid their people in wages, but they took some credit for some of the planning. We got nothing at all for nothing from the Cubans, whatever we paid them doubly covered anything that they did for the project. In fact the Cubans took a three-year project and stretched it out for coming up to ten years. They have made many blunders and the site work and compaction was found to be substandard and remains substandard in many areas. The sea is already reclaiming huge backfilled seaside areas. The Venezuelans who promised to pay the Cubans wages have paid nothing — zilch. They also undertook to pay for the plant and machinery for the project but only paid about US$12 million dollars out of EC$110 million that we have spent on equipment. There were some small amounts from countries such as Austria and some money said to be paid by Iran into a bank account in Cuba which appears to be beyond the reach of our government auditing department, no accounting whatsoever from what I can see.

I know you will find it rather unusual that I have not mentioned the word “liar” anywhere in this letter, nor the word deception, or theft. I have not done so because a number of readers have objected to me using such terms saying it is washing our dirty linen in public.

Despite my mentioning this matter on a number of occasions, no one has ever explained the situation of the Iranian money, at least US$6 million, perhaps more, said to have been paid to us. We know that because of sanctions the Iranians were unable to use normal banking arrangements, unable to use international banks to transfer money to us, except those within Cuba and Venezuela, Iranians are also known to deal in bags of cash when funding some of their rebel groups. How can we, the public, see where that money is and, if spent, where it was spent and on what?

Do you all remember the scandal of the Iranian with Vincentian citizenship who was laundering money in the Caribbean for the Iranian government? That was not satisfactorily explained to us, he was not on any list here of Iranians with Vincentian citizenship, no mention of whether he had a Vincentian passport.

We were told that Ralph Gonsalves was going to instruct his son by his first marriage, Camillo Gonsalves, who just by a fleeting chance he chose as a senator in our parliament, Millo is also the minister of foreign affairs, so daddy asked him to get in touch with the United States and sort the matter out. Since then, months later, we have heard nothing, not a word from the father, the son or any other member of the family, or extended family, cousin’s nieces or nephews.

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Peter Binose

London

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].