As he seeks a second term as MP for East St. George, Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves says he feels like boasting about what he has done in the district over the past five-years as it relates to public infrastructure and the private sector.
“The ULP has done great, great things in East St. George during my first term in office, even with more great things in store for my next term,” said Gonsalves, who was elected in December 2015, after two years as a senator.
“East St. George is rapidly transforming for the better, and permit me to remind you of a few of our accomplishments. Like Jamesy P says, ‘Ah feel like beat me chest. Ah feel like beat me chest’,” he told the ULP’s virtual public meeting last week Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Gonsalves said that the ULP built a top-class temporary school and is building a completely refurbished and expanded Calliaqua Anglican School.
“And when people said that board school wouldn’t make it, Calliaqua Anglican School recorded this year 100% passes in their CPEA exam.”
The government also opened the “top class, modern” Calliaqua Town Hall, which he said is the best in the country.
“We’ve constructed multiple Lives to Live homes in Enhams, Glen, Brighton, Junction and other places,” he said, referring to the programme under which the government builds houses for indigent, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged persons.
“We stopped sand mining in Brighton; we cleaned up Canash Beach. We built a new Brighton tourism facility. We upgraded the Glen and Calliaqua hard courts and built a whole new hard court in Choppins. We upgraded the lights at the Calliaqua Playing Field, expanded the bleachers, added a washroom, re-fenced the whole facility.”
Gonsalves said that his government also constructed four foot bridges in Brighton, Diamond, and Calliaqua, adding that each of them leads to a school.
“And little children were crossing rivers and now they’re all safe and secure going to and from their school.
“We build new roads … brand new roads where roads didn’t exist in Revierre, and in Diamond and in Brighton Salt Pond and we’re continuing to repair roads throughout the constituency, even as we speak.”
Gonsalves said that his government also completed paved footpaths and steps in Glen, Brighton, South Wood, Choppins, Fairbairn and other areas of the constituency, with more to come.
“We partnered with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation to rehabilitate the Brighton Football Field. And we welcomed and equipped a talented new team of brilliant young pannists in the Epic Sounds Steel Orchestra. And that’s just a few of the accomplishments of the government.”
Gonsalves said that the private sector of East St. George is more vibrant than ever before.
“In the last five years, we welcomed OSV — One St. Vincent group, SVG foods, new restaurants in the constituency. Hundreds of rooms of new apartments have been built mainly to service the growing medical school community but also for locals.
“We have new restaurants, new grocery stores, and a new auto parts store and on the top of the hill in Ratho Mill, overlooking Calliaqua, we have the Royal Mill hotel, an over 70 million US dollar facility.”
The MP noted that the hotel will be, by far, the tallest building ever in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We have Myers luxury suites built by a local hotelier. That’s going very well. We have Rainforest Seafood in Calliaqua being built. That’s going to spend $20 million every year buying fish from the local fisher folk of the area.
“Those three alone is over $200 million in construction and over 500 workers from the area,” Gonsalves said, adding that he hopes to get the opportunity during the campaign to detail the length and breadth of the job plans of the Unity Labour Party.
“In the next term, this ULP government will — and I just talked about East St. George — will rebuild a modern Lewis Punnett Home. We will construct a temporary Parliament that will become student dormitories for the community college.
“We will build a golden years activity centre for active elderly in East St. George; we will develop enhanced coastal and river protection. We will ensure improve community centres and offerings. We will construct a non-communicable diseases wellness centre at Enhams. We will extend and repair the Villa boardwalk and construct a tourism facility there. We will expand our existing programme of road repair and construction and we will create more affordable housing options for our young and fast growing constituency.”
The MP said he had printed a 40-odd-page booklet called “East St. George Building Together With Labour.”
“And I will be distributing to constituents all over East St. George this booklet in the coming weeks. It will show, in brief, what we have done, what we plan to do to make East St. George the best place to work, live and raise a family anywhere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
The MP had earlier said that while many of his colleagues like to debate about whose constituency is the prettiest or the best, he likes to answer those things with data.
“The largest constituency in the country is East St. George. The [constituency] with the largest migration internally is East St. George. The constituency where most people move to every year is East George. So people voted it with their feet; already, the people of St. Vincent have determined that the best constituency is East St. George.”