November 23, 2007
PM: Opposition taking low road

“The hallmark of the opposition is that they have decided to take the low road to high office, believing that they could get to high office by taking the low road.”{{more}}

This was the opening remark by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as he answered a question asked of him in parliament last Tuesday, November 20th, by opposition senator St Clair Leacock, who wanted to know the number and cost of the official business trips made by the Prime Minister this year.

Dr Gonsalves said that it was the second time in his six years in office that he has been asked such a question.

He told the House that he had made five official international trips this year, and 20 regional ones, at a cost of just under EC$80,000, which he notes is the amount Sir James Mitchell spent in travel in 2000, his last year in office.

He boasted that of his five international trips, one was to London where he met with representatives from the Italian state agency SACE and finalized debt relief for the Ottley Hall project amounting to some $159 million.

Another was to Malaysia and Taiwan, where in Taiwan US$5 million was secured for the construction of the Argyle International Airport.

In what has become a customary “fowl cock” square off between the two, Dr Gonsalves noted that his allowance as Prime Minister when he travels internationally (US$60) is far less than what Senator Leacock got, while he served as president of the football federation.

As regards his allowance, Dr Gonsalves said that when he travels with his wife, he is not given any additional allowance, saying that each time he travels on official business, it costs him personally. (KJ)