An opposition lawmaker says churches should not distribute the government’s “Love Boxes” of food unless they can also help with handing out building materials.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on NBC Radio on Wednesday that his government will distribute “Love Boxes” of food to 3,000 persons affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And St. Clair Leacock, member of parliament for Central Kingstown, commenting on the programme on NICE Radio later that day, said:
“… Look how they bring themselves. They’re giving out love box. You could get some ginger and eddo and tannia and plantain and some dasheen.
“…that is like when people go — when they serving food and you in the line you could take up any amount of ground provision you want but them sharing the meat. Yo’ can’t go in the meat. They will control the meat…”
Leacock further stated:
“No church, absolutely no church, should assist the government in distributing any Love Boxes of provision, except if the government is prepared in the same breath and by the same argument and with the same sincerity, hand over the cement, lumber and galvanize to the same churches, civil society, including the trade unions, to do that distribution to improve the lot and lives of the people in the same way.
It’s good for the goose; it’s good for the gander.
“If they can’t do that, it means they are less than genuine in what they’re offering. Because the fact of the matter is, that is part of the manipulation of the political process.
“And they’re doing it using taxpayers’ money to give themselves an unfair advantage. But God don’t sleep. He don’t sleep and the New Democratic Party … has to make sure that all 15 candidates are doing the work so that we are firing on all pistons; all pistons. And we can do it once we present ourselves well and package ourselves well…”
The opposition had repeatedly accused the government of distributing building materials in election years in an effort to sway voters.
Gonsalves said last week that he had given no consideration to altering the timeline for the next general elections, which he had said would be held by year-end.
General elections are constitutionally due by March 2021, and Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party will be seeking an unprecedented fifth consecutive term in office.