News
September 10, 2010
PM clears the air on Park Hill comments

Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves has sought to bring clarity to a comment he made on August 29 at a Unity Labour Party meeting in Park Hill.{{more}}

At a press briefing on September 3, he said he has never been involved in doing anything “disadvantageous” to any family on the basis of their politics.

“I have never done it, and I don’t intend to start,” Dr Gonsalves contended.

“What I said in Park Hill was that there are some public servants, particularly now in an election year, some of them want to sabotage the work of the government,” he continued.

All public servants are required to do is to shape and implement the policies after they have been made by government the prime minister said.

He went on to explain that within recent times, he has had an issue with some public servants in relation to the economically disadvantaged student loan programme.

“Difficulties more than any time before, where I had to make it plain to an accounting officer in a particular Ministry that something was going on,” the Prime Minister told members of the press, adding that in such situations, he would direct his complaints to the Permanent Secretary and not the politician charged with the particular portfolio.

More and more persons are taking up the offer to pursue a tertiary level education with over 80 applications for economically disadvantaged loans coming in this year, which according to Dr Gonsalves has been the largest number yet.

“So can I have any public servant try to undermine such a public policy? No!” he declared.

The Prime Minister indicated that from time to time he may have to “ruffle a few feathers, bruise a few egos and pain a few vanities.”

“But if I don’t do it, the poor and working class, in fact the nation as a whole would not benefit.

“I am elected to lead and I am leading and sometimes in leading you may have to take certain positions in which some people in the bureaucracy may not like,” Dr Gonsalves said.

“If you just go and be calm and you behave like a Sunday school teacher with everybody, you wouldn’t get anything done.

“So when I made the statement in Park Hill, it had to do with persons seeking to sabotage the government and not their families,” Dr Gonsalves continued.

“Of course, the NDP (New Democratic Party) went on the war path, but now they end up with egg all over their face,” he said. (DD)