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The Prime Minister’s official vehicle in Richmond on March 11, 2022.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says that while some people complain when the government buys SUVs to transport him, he was not riding in a donkey cart before he assumed office.

He made the point at a press conference last week as he responded to suggestions by Opposition Leader Godwin Friday to help to ease the impact of the high cost of living on Vincentians.

In a national address on Aug. 11, Friday proposed, among other things, that the government grants concessions to public service vehicles.

“Of course, a lot of the speech deals with Ralph at the party convention and so forth,” said Gonsalves, who was in Taiwan on official duty when Friday made the address.  

“Apparently, the NDP is in a state of apoplexy because they have to face Ralph, they have to face De Comrade, God willing, in 2025, or whenever the next elections,” Gonsalves said, referring to his party’s decision to keep him as leader rather than transition to a younger person.

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“They, like the proverbial cat on a hot tin roof — jumping and skipping — the state of apoplexy, in which they’re engaged,” he said, adding that he can understands why the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is behaving this way.

“If I beat you five times in a row, chance is I will beat you six. If I’m a betting man, I’d bet on the man who beat you five times already.”

Gonsalves said it was he who, while in opposition, forced the NDP government to give 75% duty concession on public service vehicles.

He noted that parliamentarians were giving themselves 75% duty free concessions, and, as a lawmaker, he was entitled to it.

“When I bought my SUV, my long SUV, the Pajero, I paid nearly $40,000 duty. I refused to take the concession. I say, ‘I’m not taking the concession so long as you don’t give the minibus operators to transport schoolchildren’, and I paid it.

“I say, ‘I can’t pass Colonarie, the children can’t get a ride on a duty-free concession bus come into town and I driving duty free concession, I wouldn’t do it.’ I shamed them into doing it. This man. I refused the concession  — nearly $40,000 on my SUV,” said Gonsalves, who was first elected to Parliament in 1994.

“By the way, when government buys SUV to drive me as prime minister, they talked about it. I wasn’t riding a donkey cart before I became prime minister, you know. Apparently, they want me to move from SUV to a donkey cart,” he said.

“You see why they’re in a state of apoplexy when Ralph is around. Because you know my tongue ain’t easy.”

Since Gonsalves was elected prime minister in March 2021, the government has bought at least four vehicles to transport him.

The first was a Mercedes Benz sedan, then a Volvo bought in 2007, a Toyota Prado in 2014, and the current vehicle is a 2019 -2020 Toyota Prado.

Former prime minister, Sir James Mitchell, who was in office from 1984 to October 2000, used one vehicle for 14 years.

Around 2000, the government budgeted EC$55,000 to buy a new vehicle to be used by Sir James but Gonsalves’ ULP, which was then in opposition, objected to it.  

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14 replies on “‘Apparently, they want me to move from SUV to a donkey cart’ — PM ”

  1. The forked tongue demon day pan e pulpit again. El Presidente counting on aryo being so dumb and backward he can chat any f an get away with it. As you have read in the article while he object to concessions for anybody else but himself he continues to play the victim. He already planning fo fingasmit d neks elecshan. A sad delusional senile bang guts ole half dead crappo who cyan tell he a from a hole in d ground.

  2. No surprise. Watch d size ah d man. Tell me how long u think a vehicle could last under that size. D man wearing out d vehicles at taxpayers expense. Taxpayers lucky d change is not more frequent. Need to Stop this waste. Some civil servants working for years and can’t even buy a donkey cart because of low salary and high cost of living so what he talking about. Guess that’s all u have going for u now….Hot air. Will soon come to an end.

  3. Urlan Alexander says:

    This fella so lie it is not easy. He made ndp government have concession on vehicles to puix servants and mininus operators whontramsport school children. This among many things he said must be taken with a pound of salt. He is a seld.comfesses profound liar.

  4. Please let the man have his ride have mercy on the donkey in any event I don’t think donkey and cart can carry that much load

  5. Donkey Cart or Lamborghini?
    As a rule of thumb I am very skeptical when some politicians make subtle complaints about the perks they enjoy at the expense of the public purse, Generally it is NOT what they say that concerns me ; but what they OMITTED to say.
    In this case I ask the question; Is he hankering to splurge on purchasing another luxury G1? Would he really do this when the country is so broke that we recently had to beg another country for two school buses? When we are struggling to pay civil servants salaries? Yet, I suspect the Arrogance of Entitlement may deem him “deserving” of the perk and luxury of a brand new Lamborghini, …regardless of Friday’s opinion! Enough, no more. Time for a change!

  6. Didn’t I hear that the leader of Holland rides a bicycle to work. On the way he stops and talks to people.
    The leader of Syria drives (himself) a small compact car to work…not a big gas-eating SUV.
    Our PM also has a security detail of about 80.
    Why do Vincentians have to see such flamboyant costs that approach those of the USA, when we have a nation of only 110,000?

  7. What d kissmeass nonsense me a hear ya. Ralph just been to Asia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, UK and nobody know for what. Now e want new transport when notin wrong wid d won he got. When he done he will brag bout how much hand outs he giving families. My God, Ralph have a heart. Half a d country jobless. Half living under the poverty line. And yo wah cum tark bout yo wah new caar? Boi pitch yo tail outta here.

  8. Nathan J Green says:

    Ralph cannot ride a bike, it would completely disappear if he sat on it. Also only truck tyres would support him.

  9. Night does run till day catch um,the people who store of riches on earth will have to leave it ,one thing we all have in common,no matter who you are or what you have (DEATH),you can’t buy yo way out of that ,praises to the most high ,he was and is a step ahead of this wicked world where the worst kind of animal you can find now is us humans

  10. Some complaints are quite petty in my opinion, the leader of any country is entitled to a decent and safe transport regardless the economic status. SVG is not as poor as some are labeling it to be. Try to find a parking in Kingstown and you will see how poor we are not.

  11. As far as I can see here they are right. Visiting St Vincent after so many years, Ralph this place is a pigstye. It is the most disgusting roads I have ever seen. What happy to all the money that you all say you have to fix the place. Cars have to creep on certain parts going to country. You all is disgusting. Saint Vincent is really going to dogs. I wanted to move back here so I come to check it out. But there is no way I am going to give up my home in north America to come back here. I am commenting on this site because you need to start riding in a donkey cart for the way I see your government has this place.

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