September 6, 2011
Gonsalves explains IMF visit

A visit by representatives by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week was nothing more than a scheduled meeting between the organization and government officials.{{more}}

This is according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who at a Unity Labour Party rally in Barrouallie on Sunday September 4, used the opportunity to debunk talk that the international organization was here to put pressure on St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“What happened is this: there are two IMF teams which come every year, one which comes to discuss the national economy and one which comes to discuss the economy of the East Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).”

“Sometimes they come together and they discuss both; but on this occasion because of scheduling problems… the lady who is in charge of the national team Article Four consultation came two weeks and the others they came here (after).”

“Somebody who driving them around went round by Peanuts (brother of Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace) and tell Peanuts. He gets and he tell Arnhim and… Arnhim calling about… telling all his people them: ‘Boy the IMF come down, they were here two weeks ago, they come again, must be really something.’”

The Prime Minister said that the assumption of the Opposition Leader was that the team was in the island to force government to send home public servants.

The Prime Minister said that this was one of the major issues to be discussed at a retreat of the New Democratic Party scheduled to begin today, Tuesday.

“All the people came to talk about was the insurance issues in the region and the indigenous banks, and to congratulate the government for what we did in selling the 51 per cent of the National Commercial Bank.”

“So go on, hold your retreat and talk about a mirage. Talk about something phantom.”

“This government is making certain that in so far as the revenues are concerned, we’re being responsible, so we’re having fiscal consolidation mixing prudence and enterprise, but we are also putting things in place for the future economic growth and we put things in place also for social development in health, in housing, in education and in physical infrastructure.

“Despite all the challenge, we’re holding it and we are going forward and we’re making the progress with God’s help,” the Prime Minister added.(JJ)