PM Gonsalves defends ALBA
May 22, 2009
PM Gonsalves defends ALBA

The Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration’s record of transparency and openness regarding agreements signed on behalf of St Vincent and the Grenadines has been defended by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

In a question submitted by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and read in Parliament last Thursday, May 14th by Northern Grenadines representative Dr Godwin Friday, Gonsalves was asked whether or not the agreement on the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)that this country intends to sign will be brought to parliament.

The question also sought to know how this country intends to participate in the proposed new currency of the ALBA, the Sucre.

“I need no lesson from the Leader of the Opposition in relation to transparency and openness of governance,” Dr Gonsalves declared.

He said that the ALBA agreement that this country will sign will be similar to that which Dominica signed about 18 months ago, save some editing that has to be done.

The Prime Minister announced his decision to sign on to the ALBA agreement on his return from the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad, which was preceded by a meeting of ALBA countries and friends in Venezuela.

In the House, he reiterated that the “ALBA is not subversive of CARICOM (Caribbean Community), the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) or the ECCB (Eastern Caribbean Central Bank).”

In this regard, as he has done since the first time he announced his intention to sign on in full to the ALBA, he stressed that neither this country, nor Dominica, will be part of the Sucre currency.

He also noted that since Dominica has signed on, that country has accessed some $120 million in grant funding from the ALBA facility and has access to the US$100 million ALBA bank.

Renowned regional educator Professor Norman Girvan has done a study on the ALBA, Dr Gonsalves put forward, and has found that the ALBA is a good agreement, a sentiment shared by the CARICOM secretariat.

On February 17, 2007, the governments of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Vincent and the Grenadines signed a document in support of the principles of ALBA.

This was done at a grand rally that was held at the Bureau of Standards compound in Campden Park during a two-day state visit to this country by President Hugo Chavez, the oft controversial leader of oil rich Venezuela.(KJ)