February 19, 2010
Opposition calling again for explanation of US1 million

The question of the US$1 million alleged to have been deposited to the National Commercial Bank (NCB) is not going to go away any time soon.{{more}}

Opposition Leader and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace indicated at a press conference on Wednesday that he intends to keep this topic on the table.

“I want to say to the public that because Gonsalves does not disclose, you have the assurance that the New Democratic Party, in coming into office, will deal with him. We are going to keep this in front of him day after day.”

Eustace reminded those present at the NDP Headquarters as well as those listening on radio that days before the November 25, 2009 referendum, it was disclosed that the amount in question was deposited into the account of the Accountant General.

Since that time, Eustace has been enquiring of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves the source of the money, to which the Prime Minister has not responded.

The Opposition Leader said that it was unsatisfactory for the Prime Minister to avoid answering the question, and said “from the moment the money entered the country undeclared, this became a criminal matter.”

He opined that if the money were from a legal source, it would have been handled in a more transparent manner.

“Everybody in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would have seen at one time or the other the Taiwanese through the Ambassador making a contribution to the government of St. Vincent. You see the cheque being handed over and you know the amount being handed over.”

“That is how governments function; they have a ceremony and they hand over the money.”

Eustace called the matter a serious issue which affects national pride, and integrity.

He said that the people have a right to ask questions and demand answers from persons who are elected into office.

“A serving Prime Minister cannot be allowed to simply avoid answering the question and we will not allow him to avoid answering it…. The government is there to serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and when the people ask a question, you tell them you not answering.”

“We need a full explanation; the source, the purpose, and the conditions that apply to that funding.”

“We live in a country which is supposed to be a democracy, but I am now beginning to wonder sometimes.”