News
January 24, 2014
Eustace names persons that he claims were snubbed in relief efforts

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace read out a list of names in Parliament Tuesday whom he claims have been victims of political discrimination.{{more}}

Delivering his response to the budget address, Eustace said the persons identified were affected by the current or past weather diasters but were not assisted because they were believed to be supporters of the New Democratic Party.

“Already, there is much discussion of distribution of relief supplies by Government to party faithfuls only. This is totally unacceptable and is already affecting the attitude of many,” Eustace said.

He said although Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that no such discrimination is going on, this is not so.

Included in the long list of names were Norma Nanton and Albertina Forde of Redemption Sharpes and Albert Russell of Georgetown.

“I’m talking about events since (hurricane)Tomas. I therefore reject the comments that you made yesterday that there is no discrimination,” Eustace said to the Prime Minister.

In response to Eustace, Gonsalves read a letter from the chair of the Roads, Buildings and General Service Authority (BRAGSA) Beresford Phillips, which indicated that some of the persons on the list did in fact, receive help following Hurricane Tomas.

Before reading the letter, the Prime Minister apologised to Albertina Forde and Norma Nanton, for the public discussion of their matters.

“People of conscience will speak out. I have a letter here dated January 21st sent by Beresford Phillips because he heard the Leader of the Opposition,” Gonsalves said.

In the letter, Phillips explained that he visited Forde after Hurricane Tomas and assessed the damage done to her property. The letter states that the procurement officer for Housing, Lands and Development Corporation was contacted and materials for repair was transported to Forde.

Phillips also stated in his letter that Forde informed him that the materials were received and thanked him for his efforts.

With respect to Nanton, the letter explained that she occupied a parcel of land that was prone to slippage.

“Sometime before hurricane Tomas, a landslide damaged her house. I personally got involved and assisted her with the removal of debris and other material that were lodged against her house. She was again asked to be relocated but again refused expressing her previous statement that she loved the spot and refused to act on our recommendation. During Hurricane Tomas, there was a massive landslide and her chapel house fell and broke into pieces. On this occasion, I personally spoke to Miss Nanton. I asked her what her intentions were. I wanted to assist her. Her reply to me was that she would stay with her daughter while she decided what she was going to do,” the letter said.

Phillips further wrote that although he sees Nanton everyday, she has not informed him on any final decision.

The Prime Minister also revealed that he knew Albert Russell and his wife from Georgetown.

He explained that while the couple’s house and shop were severely damaged, he believes that they own other houses and they currently occupy one of them.

However, the Prime Minister admitted to a weakness in the relief efforts after Tomas, stating that “there was no provision made to assist the small businesses”.