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Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves during the Budget Debate on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2014.
Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves during the Budget Debate on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2014.

Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves says that the EC$1.6 billion Budget for 2024 that Parliament approved on Wednesday after a premature end to the debate is also “an East St. George budget”.

Gonsalves is into the fourth year of a second five-year term as MP for East St. George.

He retained the seat in the 2020 election by 186 votes, compared to a margin of 607 when he was first elected in December 2015. 

“I’ll start … before I wrap up with the constituency of East St. George, which I have the honour and privilege to represent and to tell the people of St. George, that this Budget 2024, in addition to being a roads budget, in addition to be in a health budget, in addition to be in an education budget, this budget is an East St. George budget,” Gonsalves told Parliament as he wrapped up the budget debate.

He said he wanted lawmakers and constituents to know some of the larger projects slated to begin in the constituency this year, or that have already begun.

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“And this is not an exhaustive list,” the finance minister said, adding, “Because in fairness, if I say everything that’s in the budget for East St. George, some of my own colleagues might get a little jealous.”

He, however, said he would talk about some of the larger things that are taking place in the constituency in 2024.

Gonsalves noted that he had pointed out in this Budget Address that East St. George is the only   constituency in St. Vincent and the Grenadines doesn’t have a secondary school, despite its large population. 

He said proximity to school is a key determinant of success in education

“And we have decided and determined that it is time for this large population centre to get its own secondary school,” the finance minister told Parliament, adding that the conceptual designs are complete. 

“We have secured funding from the Saudi Fund for Development and we anticipate that construction on that school in Brighton will begin in the second half of this year.”

Moving to roads, the MP said that some lawmakers had difficulty getting to the temporary Parliament building in Glen that day, because of road construction in Calliaqua. 

“And that is part of the National Road Rehabilitation Project that we’ve all spoken about that is ongoing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and will ramp up to full capacity over the course of the next six weeks.”

He said there are 41 contracts that have been signed for road work in SVG and the government has paid the deposits to the contractors.

“And all of that roadwork is going to begin over the course of the next six weeks or so,” Gonsalves said, adding that Calliaqua is one of seven of those 41 projects that have already begun. 

“And that project is a $2.2 million project to resurface each and every internal road in the town of Calliaqua,” Gonsalves said.

He said that under the National Road Rehabilitation Project, a bridge will be built in an area called Pleasant Flats, where there’s a housing development in Brighton.

“…here’s been considerable requests to build a bridge across a small river that’s there to allow the better flow of traffic in and out of Brighton and through Pleasant Flats,” Gonsalves said, adding that work on the 30-foot, EC$886,000 bridge will begin in the coming weeks. 

The MP said that the section of road near Myah’s Luxury Suites Hotel in Diamond would be repaired.

The rehabilitation would include the construction of a river defence retaining wall and the addition of a suspended sidewalk and handrails for pedestrians. 

Budget 2024 also allocated $889,000 for the Johnny Hill Road, which connects East and West St. George.
Further, the minister said, there is a contract to resurface the road from Thomas Apartment to the Brighton Primary School and C Street as well as $1.9 million for both the road leading to Brighton and the internal roads within Belvedere and heading down to Diamond as well. 

“And again, I’m very grateful to the National Road rehabilitation project for placing that many roads from the constituency of St George in the program to be done immediately,” he said.

Gonsalves said 11 more contracts will be added by the middle of the year to the 41 roads for which contracts are signed.  

“So, in 2024. under that program, there will be 62 different pieces of road being repaired simultaneously in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.,” Gonsalves said.

“So, when people say they don’t know what the budget is doing for roads, I want you to know that 40 Something million dollars under this programme alone in 52 different locations will be addressed by the National Road Rehabilitation Programme and an additional $30 million worth of roads on the other programmes like the MDM, the disaster management program, and the European Union Feeder Road Programme. 

“… Barring a natural disaster, there’ll be more roads repaired in 2024 than ever in recent memory.”

Gonsalves said the government had announced previously the intention to turn the small clinic in Enhams into a wellness facility dealing, in addition to its regular clinical work, with non-communicable diseases.

He said the government has an agreement with the Rotary Club to use their building, located nearby to house the clinic while the upgrades are being done. 

 “So in addition to the regular clinical work that takes place there, it will be a wellness centre, it will have exercise equipment, a kitchen, a nutrition centre, so that people in the larger catchment area who have diabetes, or hypertension, when they go to the other clinics and the nurse or the doctor says you have diabetes you have hypertension and so on, they will be referred to the Enhams Wellness Centre because they will be taught how to prepare meals that have less salt [and] are more suitable for diabetics. 

“They will have free gymnasium activity. You could get on your little treadmill. They’ll have keep-fit classes for elderly people, but nothing too strenuous…”

The MP said the clinic in Calliaqua is one of the busiest in the country, and the government has decided to upgrade it to “a much larger, much more efficient, much better-equipped polyclinic at the same location”.

He said the clinic will. Be repositioned on the land and converted into a polyclinic. 

“… that again will deal with one of the largest areas of demand in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The designs for that clinic are still being done; they’re not yet complete,” he said. 

Gonsalves said the government has seen concept drawings and is fairly confident that construction will begin in the second half of this year. 

“There are other things. There’s a road in Villa, there’s a road in Glen that’s being done. There’re some other smaller work, but I wanted to highlight those particular areas in East St. George and to assure constituents in East St. George that this particular budget, Budget 2024, will nice you up like never before and I am very pleased with what is in this budget for East St. George. 

He said there are still some challenges as two roads in the constituency were supposed to be done under the Kuwaiti program.

The main road in the project was in Fair Hall from the top at Marcella’s Shop down to where the Calliaqua Anglican Church

“They have taken an inordinately long time building drains and doing some of the preparatory work. So, we’ve asked BRAGS to step in, and BRAGSA has begun paving the top half of that road at Fair Hall coming down. So, they will keep going from the top of Fair Hall coming all the way down unless and until KDL can get its act together and recommence their work.”

“… again, drains have been done, back walls have been done but the actual surfacing of the road has not been done. And we’re working with KTL on that. But if KTL is unable to fulfill their obligations, we will have BRAGS have to step in, in the same way that they’re doing on the Fair Hall Road at the moment.”

He said the road on the tourism strip in Villa that runs along Summer Rose, Mangoz, etc., will be resurfaced in February. 

“… these hospitality and entertainment zones are very important for economic activity and they are very important for socialization and it’s very important that we get that road done. That road will be done in February. 

“You know that if you approach now the Young Island dock the boardwalk to your left has been done.”

The minister said a contract has also been signed for the repair of the boardwalk in the Villa Beach area.

2 replies on “‘An East St. George budget,’ Camillo says”

  1. Ar yo really tink the people dotish eh or yo tink ah uge yo ah tak to ? which? ar yo really shameless

  2. Well Enhams is not a place in SVG anymore far less East St George-he means Calliaqua and Glen. My recent visit to Enhams was like I was going through a ghost town … and I feared for my life in high day time

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