Speaking in Parliament on Thursday morning, the leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says that there is not enough clarity on monies for Petro Caribe especially where payments to institutions and individuals are concerned.
Eustace noted that while he did not see anything improper he would like to have access to the information concerning payments, he said it is difficult to obtain such and the Freedom Of Information act which should allow such is still not assented to, after ten years since being passed by the parliament.
Eustace said that monies were paid out for certain services by PetroCaribe SVG, some 65 recipients according to his information, totalling 24,533,330.00 dollars for the year 2015.
He said that amounted to 386 cheques to 65 recipients, Eustace said he does not know if any of this money went in relation to debt, because the Prime Minister said it comes from inflows, but I don’t know because we do not have the information, but I know how much money was paid out, and to whom it was paid.
“I am not suggesting that it is a matter of corruption” I am saying that it is a reality of what was paid, some of the persons who received these payments are institutions the Prime Minister mention himself when he was speaking.
He mention tankwell, I see tankwell is one of those who received payments from Petro Caribe SVG totalling 3.6 million dollars, he mention the December floods that was 2.9 million dollars, Canadian Bank Note 2.57 million dollars, payments to local firms, I assume for business contracted to them Eustace said, I see one here 2.3 million for Coreas, Braggsa 2.3 million, Farmers support programme that’s there.
I also see monies to individuals Eustace said, the point here is that 24 million was spent in a year under this arrangement, but we don’t have knowledge about it, because these things are not made public, because they don’t have any accounts for some of these special arrangements that are put in place.
Eustace stated that we should be knowing what’s going on in relation to these things by seeing the documents, the financial statements.
I see payments to Liat for 200,000.00, the Prime Minister mention the housing rehabilitation of 250,000.00, I see payments to the tourism authority, why are these in special arrangements, why can’t these be part of the consolidated fund where you can have better control, a better reporting requirement.
There is a long list here Eustace said, “Long Long list”, and all this does is raise a lot of questions that should not be raised, but because there is no information presented we have this kind of problem, there is a need to know and a requirement to know by members of parliament as to what is happening with the public funds.
Gonsalves asking Eustace to gave way to ask the leader of the Opposition to state, according to the information he has relating to him Gonsalves about the amount that was paid and to what purpose was it for.
Eustace in response said that a cheque was paid in April 2013 for $5,365.88 to Dr Gonsalves and also to Mr Beache the same sum of money, however, I don’t know for which purpose but I know the amount Eustace said.
Responding to cross-talk Eustace said if you referring to Dr Gonsalves had published the accounts for Petro Caribe SVG we would have known.
Dr Gonsalves said on returning to parliament that the Hon Arnhim Eustace grossly misled the house and stated clearly that he did receive any cheque from either Petrocaribe or PDVSVG.