PM: Government performing well
January 4, 2008
PM: Government performing well

Barring snap elections, the next general elections are at least two years away, but this country’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that he is not only ready for the next one, but the 2015 elections also.

“The fact of the matter is this, if you plan just one election at a time, you are likely to run into difficulties,” said Dr Gonsalves, as he sat down with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, January 2. {{more}}

As he looked forward to 2008, Dr Gonsalves said that he is confident that his government is performing well, and believes that the people of the country will bear witness to this.

“The government has been performing well, so on what basis do reasonable people have to vote against the government?” asked a confident Dr Gonsalves.

He quoted figures which represented moderate to robust growth over the last four years, and said that he was confident that this pattern of growth would be good for the medium term up to 2010.

However, with 36 murders recorded last year, crime remains a problem to Dr Gonsalves.

One only has to listen to him on many occasions to know that he is aware that instances of violent crimes are a source of much concern to the average citizen.

“Dealing with crime, serious crime that is, involves no quick fix,” Dr Gonsalves, however, contends.

He said that the government’s move to strengthen the police force, the changes made to legislation, including allowing the Director of Public Prosecutions the right to appeal decisions handed down, are all part of the holistic fight against crime.

He said that the Education Revolution is also a crucial part of this fight, but stressed that it was going to take every one in society working together to keep crime in check.

As for the international Airport, Dr Gonsalves is adamant that it should have been built a long time ago, and is determined not to pass the buck to another administration.

“They (NDP) should have built the airport,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that the personal relationships that he has with the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago play a vital role in getting assistance for the airport.

“If Ralph Gonsalves’ leadership, with Fidel and Chavez in power, and the relations we have with Taiwan, and the links with Patrick Manning; if I don’t build it, who you think going to build it, and to build it far cheaper than anybody will be able to build it after me…I have an obligation to build it” Dr Gonsalves said.

In a press conference earlier on Wednesday morning, Dr Gonsalves announced that along with National Investment Promotions Incorporated (NIPI) chairman, Edmond Jackson, he was going to Brussels and London to meet with some investors.

One set of investors is interested in operating a first class resort on Petite Mustique, as well as taking over Plantation House hotel in Bequia. Another investor is looking into the construction of a resort on Balliceaux Island.

When he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT, Dr Gonsalves said that this type of investment, along with those that are still under construction, when operational, will help to generate wealth in the country.

He said that this, side by side with other government policies, will auger well for continued economic growth, muting the Opposition’s concerns about the national debt, and fears of fiscal disaster in the future.