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].
Why would Comrade Gonsalves, PM of SVG buy heavy hardware on behalf of the government from a firm in Jamaica? Why?
Why buy the pre-election giveaway materials, galvanize, lumber, steel, plywood, toilet pans from Jamaica? Why?
Anything that can be purchased in Jamaica is readily available in Kingstown, St. Vincent. It’s available and in stock, ready to go; so why pre-buy when it can be purchased at anytime night or day from the Kingstown traders? Instead of pre-buying and storing prior to distribution to ULP supporters, it can just be left in stock with our Vincentian traders.
SVG has the Caribbean’s main manufacturer of galvanized roofing sheets; they produce for export and are capable of supplying any amount in the quickest times should all the roofs in SVG blow off at one time. So why buy overseas? Why?
So what exactly is going on? Comrade Gonsalves recently told us he has a special relationship with the company in Jamaica who are called Tank-Weld Ltd. Just how special can this relationship be when the Kingstown traders are not even given the opportunity to tender or bid for the supply of the goods purchased from Tank-Weld Ltd.? I believe Tank-Weld did not even bid for the contract.
By the time you add shipping, SVG storage and double handling, it must all be very expensive.
By the time runners have gone around the villages getting lists of pre-election needs from supporters, and then calling the recipients to Camden Park when their order is ready for collection. My, my, the man power that goes into that, into what I would suggest is pure election bribery, election fraud or something along those lines. If it isn’t any of that why are the goodies not given out every Christmas, and not just every five years, prior to an election?
We have heard the story that Tank-Weld gives us credit, but I was told that we have been paying them monthly in advance since January, if anyone can confirm or deny that please do so. Even if they do give us credit, that cannot be a reason not to put the supply of government materials out to tender, and include in the tender required credit terms. But if we have been paying Tank-Weld since January that’s not credit, it’s pre-payment.
EC$10 million or EC$13 million spent in SVG with SVG suppliers would have an effect on the country’s fiscal well being, money spent locally goes around, but when it’s spent abroad, it is of no use whatsoever to our economy, except negatively.
I can hardly be right and proper to buy from a foreign supplier when the local traders are still owed $60 million dollars for the last seven or eight years.
Just as I feel sorry for the Argyle landowners who still haven’t been paid for their lands, I feel sorry for the Kingstown traders because collectively they are owed multi millions of dollars and cannot get paid by the ULP government. They have been shafted once by the government and now are being doubly shafted by not being able to share in the pie given to Tank-Weld. Comrade if you can pay Tank-Weld, why can’t you pay our own people what they are owed?
It must seem to our people that the country is being given away to foreigners. We have Cubans building our international airport, taking nine years to finish a project that was estimated to take three years. They have made a pig’s ear of everything that they have touched in SVG. They are also building the hospital at Georgetown, which, again, was a three-year project and will now take 10 years to finish. The overrun would not be such a problem to us if the Venezuelans were paying the Cubans wages, as the Comrade told us they would. But they didn’t, they haven’t, and they will not, so every month we pay out in excess of EC$300,000 dollars to the Cubans. That money is not spent in SVG either, it ends up in Cuba. If the Cubans were on schedule with the airport and finished in three years, we would have only paid them just under EC$11 million dollars but we will end up paying them something approaching EC$40 million. It’s OK for Gonsalves because he sees these people in a different light to which the Vincentian people see them. He sees them as his Marxist compatriots, his Marxist comrades, and sees our business relationship with them as solidarity under the red star, under the red flag flying. Personally I see the Cubans as blood sucking leaches.
Ralph E. Gonsalves is always being accused of things that he claims he did not do, such as rape and sexual assault against women. He is accused of using spite and malice even hatred against some Vincentian people, which he also denies. The poor man is being, according to him, falsely accused all the time; how dreadful it must be for him. But at least he is able to sue some of his accusers and he is able to control the press and online media by lambasting journalists during press conferences.
Even his friend Bruce Bicknell suffers from these false accusations. For those who do not know Bruce, he is a very nice and, some say, accommodating American man, the CEO and Chairman of Tank-Weld Ltd. I was looking at some headings under bribery in Jamaica and I came across the Comrades friend Bruce Bicknell in the Jamaica Gleaner on line.
“However, Lewis, who was being cross-examined by defence attorney K.D. Knight yesterday, said after explaining what happened on the day of the traffic stop, Llewellyn informed the meeting that the two $1,000 notes ‘could have been inadvertently passed to him in the envelope with the [motor vehicle] documents’.”
Then I found more articles in the Gleaner.
“Forbes and Bicknell are on trial for attempting to pervert the course of justice, arising from allegations that the businessman tried to bribe Llewellyn with $2,000 during a traffic stop last April. The case centres on allegations that they arranged, during a meeting days later, to have the bribery charge disposed of”.
Bicknell was also charged for attempting to pervert the course of justice along with former Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes in relation to the said incident. However, the businessman was freed of that charge in February, while Forbes was later tried and was found guilty. He was subsequently ordered to pay $800,000 or serve six months in prison but is currently appealing the conviction.
You must all research this matter yourself, because I believe it turned out that the Comrade’s friend just like the Comrades sex charges were falsely brought.
I just hope that none of it is true because I have seen so much bribery and corruption in Moscow and Lagos, Nigeria during my time in those places, I would hate to think that any bribery goes on in Jamaica, because like the sin of telling lies and being a serial liar, bribery can well become a serial event like in Moscow and Lagos.
What I currently find disturbing is the street talk about an SVG government minister who has a massive bank account in Panama. I hope it’s not true, because we still haven’t been told who owned all those millions in the Swiss bank accounts.
Well I have to go now, but just an afterthought: the money paid to Tank-Weld would have repaired all the roads in the villages. Instead it goes to supporters of the Unity Labour Party, so a few will enjoy their windfall whilst everyone suffers the holes in the road.
Just to clarify what I mean here, I believe that the sharing out of the building materials by the Unity Labour Party, or the Unity Labour Party government (they do not know the difference and currently nor do we), materials that belong to all Vincentians, is a corrupt act. It is in my view simply an enticement to the greedy, the poor and the ignorant, in that order, to vote ULP.
Read these also”
Peter Binose, Mayfair 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].