A facility should be named after Chavez – PM Gonsalves
March 15, 2013

A facility should be named after Chavez – PM Gonsalves

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that he believes a school, building or facility here in St Vincent and the Grenadines should be named after the late Venezuelan leader, President Hugo Chavez.{{more}}

The suggestion was made in the House of Assembly on Monday, as the Prime Minister paid tribute to the late president, and recounted the assistance this country has received from Venezuela.

Gonsalves also expressed dismay at the attitudes of some, whom he said expressed “glee” on hearing of Chavez’s death on March 5.

“It pains me that I have to say something that I am about to say,” the prime minister said.

“I really do not understand what has happened to some people here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, across the Caribbean, in Venezuela and other parts of the world; the glee to which some people greeted the death of President Chavez — I mean it’s just terrible,” he continued.

Gonsalves compared the attitude to those who would have the same kind of glee to see the collapse of projects such as the Buccament Bay Resort, the Argyle International Airport or the Building and Loan Association.

“It’s a kind of perversity that I can’t seem to fathom — the reasoning — we really have to get past these things.”

According to Gonsalves, he knew that there were those who disagreed with Chavez, but there were larger numbers who did not, and that was why he won as many general elections as he did.

The Prime Minister summarized the contribution made to this country by Venezuela, saying that while the Cubans provided the technical support for the VISION NOW programme, it was financed largely by the Venezuelan government.

Other forms of assistance to this country, as outlined by the prime minister, included the US$40 million in soft loans received from the ALBA Bank; the annual sums received from Petro Caribe of EC$20 to 25 million; the ten tons of food, clothing and water and the $9 million sent following the passage of Hurricane Tomas.

“They were the first to respond without us asking…this is the nature of the solidarity of the man,” Gonsalves said.

Other forms of assistance were in the form of fertilizer, which was provided to local farmers; a quantity of money provided to purchase equipment for the construction of the Argyle international airport and the subsequent assistance on that project and the dozens of scholarships for Vincentian students to study in Venezuela.

“How could anybody really be happy to see a man like that die? What has happened to some of us in this country and in the world?” Gonsalves questioned.

President Chavez died on March 5 after battling cancer for over two years.

It was announced that Chavez’s body will be embalmed and put on display at a military museum immediately following the state funeral.

An election to elect a new president is expected to be held on April 14.(DD)