Gonsalves laments public service tardiness
May 13, 2011
Gonsalves laments public service tardiness

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves this week lamented the tardiness of Ministries and statutory bodies in getting relevant documents to him, which are required for the disbursement of funds.{{more}}

Gonsalves disclosed that his Cabinet on April 8, 2011, took the decision that EC$2million out of a US$1 million fund granted by Qatar’s Government to this country be disbursed to the Housing and Land Development Corporation and EC$700,000 to the Ministry of Agriculture to help with non-banana/non-plantain farmers.

He stated that even though the money is available, it was only on Monday, May 9, that a Special Warrant arrived on his desk to provide the appropriation.

“It ain’t suppose to take four weeks, can’t take four weeks and should not, because it means persons who are supposed to be helped, they hear that I got this money and they ain’t see it reaches them in a practical way,” said Gonsalves.

As a result of this, he appealed to public servants and employees of statutory bodies to lift their game.

He said this country is within a special period and every instance of undue delay means fewer opportunities to issue relief for persons.

“We ourselves are holding back our own growth. …You notice, I am not quarrelling with the public servants. I am not doing that, because they are good people, honest, patriotic Vincentians. All I am asking, consider this to be a special period,” said Gonsalves.

He said when he speaks of the time being a special period, this is as a result of the international economic recession, the hike in oil, and two back to back disasters that affected this country.

“If this is a special period, it is my duty as the Prime Minister and as the leader of the country and the Government to ask, to plead for an extra effort in the interest of the nation: those who are indifferent to lift their game; those who are good, strive for excellence; those who are excellent give me something extra ordinary,” said Gonsalves.

“I make this point because if I don’t make it publicly there is a danger that some public servants may take the period in which we are in as business as usual. It is not business as usual,” said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves said he also reckons that everyone will not perform at the same level, but if everyone tries, they should be able to lift their game.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves explained that the list of farmers due to receive income support because of the effects of Hurricane Tomas will be cleaned.

He said farmers who had done nothing with the $400 support for each acre of farm they have and fertiliser granted by the Government cannot expect to continue to receive support. Likewise, he said the income support programme is not for professionals who receive a salary, but do farming on the side.

“Clearly, the income support can’t be for you,” said Gonsalves.