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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaks at the ULP's convention last Sunday. (iWN photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaks at the ULP’s convention last Sunday. (iWN photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wants Opposition Leader Godwin Friday to say who paid for his recent visit to China along with three other members of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

“Friday must say who paid for the airfare. Who paid for it? I know of the travel economy. He must say if he travelled business or first class,” Gonsalves told the 23rd national convention of the ruling UnityLabour Party in Campden Park on Sunday.

At a press conference in Kingstown last week Wednesday, the NDP leader said whilst in China “recently”, his delegation met, in Beijing and Shanghai, with ministers and officials of the China Zhi Gong Party.

“There, we discussed the possibility of investments in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including teaming up with local entrepreneurs to invest in any sector of our local economy. We believe that investment is needed in the country to help spur economic growth and to bring employment for our people, especially among the youth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Friday said.

The trip came two years after then opposition leader Arnhim Eustace announced that the NDP no longer recognised the self-governing Taiwan as a country independent of China.

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Eustace, who is Member of Parliament for East Kingstown, was part of the NDP’s delegation to China, along with Member of Parliament for the SouthernGrenadines, Terrance Ollivierre, and Benjamin “Ben” Exeter, who was the NDP’s candidate in Central Leeward in the December 2015 general election.

Gonsalves says his ULP government is committed in its recognition of the self-governed Taiwan as a nation, independent of China.

China regards Taiwan — which has diplomatic ties with 18 countries –as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force in its reunification quest.

The prime minister told Sunday’s convention that Friday must also say how much each airline ticket cost and who paid for them.

He wanted Friday to say, specifically, whether the tickets were paid for by the NDP or “men in China who want to sell economic passports”.

“A business class ticket to China ain’t easy money. Their passage alone is several tens of thousands of dollars,” Gonsalves said, adding that the NDP must say whether, as a political party, they got free accommodation in China.

“The NDP don’t have money to pay Douggie De Freitas, you think they have money to pay go China,” Gonsalves said, mentioning the manager of NICE Radio, on which the party broadcasts its daytime programme. 

“The player who paying for you to go to China to dance, is them calling the tune?” Gonsalves said.

He also wanted the opposition leader to say who they held talks with in China.

He noted that Friday had said that they were hosted by the China Zhi Gong Party.

Godwin Friday and Chairman Wan
SVG’s Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday, left, and Chairman of China Zhi Gong Party, Wan Gang in China. (NDP photo)

Gonsalves said the China Zhi Gong Party is one of eight “so-called parties and organisations” which work alongside with and follow the dictates of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

He said he has nothing against the CPC, but if the opposition is going to China, they should talk to “the main man”.

“Nah mek them send you to some intermediary to sue-sue (conspire).  They keep them in the outhouse,” he said.

Gonsalves reiterated that he was not saying anything about the CPC or China.

“All I am saying, if you establishing ties with them, go and talk to the jefe,” Gonsalves said, adding that the head of the China Zhi Gong Party — with whom Friday met — was given “a little job as minister of science and technology”.

The prime minister said the NDP has more members than the China Zhi Gong Party, although China has 1.3 billion people, compared to the 106,000 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The prime minister noted that neither Chinese nor Taiwanese need visas to visit SVG and further noted that there are more mainland Chinese than Taiwanese in SVG.

He further pointed out that both Taiwan and China belong to the WorldTrade Organisation, although China opposed Taiwan’s membership in the WorldHealth Organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (IACO) and other international bodies.

“Mainland Chinese are not dotish (doltish). They call themselves communists but they love plenty money,” Gonsalves said.

He said that SVG works together with China at the Caribbean DevelopmentBank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and in the Group of 77 States and China.

“But we have diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan)because we have had excellent relations with them since 1980 and we don’t intend to change those relations because we think that they are productive for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“But I ain’t pulling down Mainland China,” he said.

Gonsalves asked what would happen to the 70 Vincentian students in Taiwan if Kingstown cuts ties with Taipei. 

“You going pay for them? Because the Taiwanese would say, you don’t have any relations with us anymore. Take back your students.

“And anytime you have a break in the relations, these things happen. Fool ah talk, nah fool a listen,” Gonsalves said.

5 replies on “PM questions financing of NDP’s China trip”

    1. Do you think Ralph Gonsalves ever gives straight answers? Yes, I know he is appointed by God and that his son is comparable to Jesus and that the NDP is out to assassinate him so that the Garfuna can come and takes our homes, but where does he get all the money to fly around the world in First-Class luxury?
      Truth is that the Chinese have far more money than the Taiwanese and I sense some envy here by a man who bets our money on the wrong horse!

  1. What an absolute cheek of the man, we need to ask him who pays for him when he goes to Cuba and eats expensive dinners with airport project businessman and their wives at an exclusive restaurant. Who paid for the meal and why meet in Cuba when the business is in Saint Vincent?

  2. I think this is hypocracy on the part of the PM. If he is saying that the Chinese Government paid for the trip why doesn’t he just ask. Why don’t we ask how much the Taiwanese gives to the ULP? How does the ULP get all the millions that it gets for whatever it wishes? The NDP rarely asks because they know that our PM will never give any straight answer, evidence or truth to such questions.
    We also have to ask ourselves: Is it better that the PM uses massive amounts of the TAXPAYERS money to bring dozens of ULP people to multiple foreign nation, many going FIRST CLASS? Yes, at the expense of the Vincentian taxpayer?!?!?
    If the NDP had the trip paid for by the Chinese Government I applaud this action enthusiastically! I am insulted by how our Prime Minister spends OUR money for the lavish luxury lifestyle of the big ULP party bosses while we are stuck struggling to make ends meet.

    He says he “loves the people” Instead he loves the people’s money.

    Isn’t there a double standard here when Ralph Gonsalves takes money from the super-rich on Mustique, the Taiwanese and who knows who else, but the NDP is not allowed to get funds from anyone? Why do the Taiwanese and the super – rich get massive tax breaks but the working Vincentian has to pay through the nose for everything while they ULP bosses are going around in luxury, to include the foreign missions where they have luxury flats and chauffers?

  3. Mr PM.
    What’s the difference between begging from China and begging from Venezuela? What it boi6 down to is that we’re a begging , desperate, helpless and confused people who just like to argue all the time .China knows that and so does Taiwan. NDP begging from China really doesn’t matter to us..once we could get a food.

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