February 25, 2014
NDP aims to raise $20,000 from radio-thon

The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) says it will stage a radio-thon tonight to raise the estimated $20 000 it believes will be required to pay the import duties and other charges on flood relief supplies being sent to the party from overseas.{{more}}

Party leader Arnhim Eustace announced the event on the NDP’s New Times programme yesterday, and said the party decided on this move after its request to Government for duty free concession was turned down last week.

The concession issue has become a source of heated debate, with the NDP leader repeatedly stating that it will not involve the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in the clearing of the relief supplies, and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves indicating that requests for waiver of duties must be made through NEMO, the state agency responsible for the relief effort. The NDP’s request which was denied was made directly to the Government.

“I don’t trust them (NEMO) to be involved in the distribution,” Eustace told a press conference last week, as he indicated he had evidence that flood relief supplies were not being distributed fairly.

He announced then that the NDP were expecting about 45 barrels and cartons of supplies, mainly from the Canadian diaspora, for which he had submitted the application for the waiver of the Customs fees, VAT and other charges.

Eustace said yesterday that while it is difficult to know the exact amount of the charges at this stage, he has someone with expertise in the area assisting.

The NDP Leader said to date the party has given out close to $100 000 in assistance to flood victims, with about $18 000 in cash and the remainder in material.