SVG

‘Nothing wrong’ in Gonsalves’ family, bank dealings

PM Gonsalves says there is ‘nothing wrong’ with his family’s transactions with the state bank. (Photo: Oris Robinson)

TAIPEI, Taiwan:- There was nothing wrong with members of the prime minister’s family and high ranking officials of his party selling thousands of US dollars to the state bank in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) over the last month.

That was the word from the country’s Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to reporters this week.

“Nothing wrong has been done! Nothing!” Gonsalves said.

“The institutions are working. The National Commercial Bank [NCB], they have a fine leadership … and I expect that they will conduct their business within the framework of the law,” Gonsalves said.

Leader of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace last week raised questions about US$1m (EC$2.7m) in cash that the state bank reportedly refused to accept from a depositor.

He did not identify the alleged depositor but said that the bank refused to accept the money and requested that the person attempting to make the deposit return and collect the cash.

Eustace sent to Speaker of the House of Assembly Hendrick Alexander an early question for oral answer at the next sitting of Parliament.

He wanted Gonsalves to verify the information and if true say from whom the money was received and for what purpose.

Eustace also wanted to know who attempted to deposit the funds and why the bank rejected the deposit, the location of the money and if the Financial Intelligence Unit had investigated the alleged incident.

A flickr account last week displayed sections of documents purported to show the sale of US Dollars transactions to the NCB by members of Gonsalves’ family, including his Wife Eloise Gonsalves, daughter Isis Gonsalves and his son Storm Gonsalves.

The document also recorded transaction allegedly made by other high ranking members of Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP), including president of Unity Youth Rosette Bennet and Senator Saboto Ceasar.

“Does anybody believe that the only transactions conducted by the National Commercial Bank between the middle of October and the 17th of November, that the only transaction in foreign currency are those on that list?” Gonsalves said on Monday.

“You don’t think that there are other people in St. Vincent and the Grenadine [who] sold US dollars to the national commercial bank? Of course!

“But what they do, they select Julian Francis name and Eloise, the wife of the prime minister, and two of his children.”

PM Gonsalves said the opposition has focus on his wife Eloise (C), children and party members. (Photo: Oris Robinson)

He said that the NDP was encouraging and engaged in the dissemination of information that cast innocent citizens in a bad light.

“Rather than discouraging this conduct, operative within the NDP have been using modern technology to spread information all over the world traducing innocent people making it appear that to change money at a bank is a criminal offence.”

However, the NDP lashed back at Gonsalves on Tuesday saying that he had refused to answer its questions about the source of the US$1m and the “financial dealings by the Prime Minister’s family”.

The party said that Gonsalves seemed to suggest that the money came from individual donations from Vincentians, totalling US$1m and donated at the same time by the ULP.

The party said that Gonsalves, who is also minister of Finance, did not say why a Suspicious Activity Report was not filed by the bank for “such an astonishingly unusual cash payment”, or why the ULP neither announced nor celebrated “such a huge amount of supposed small individual donations”.

“The people deserve the truth. In fact, the people can state very definitely whether they believe the Prime Minister is telling the truth at the referendum tomorrow – by voting NO!” Eustace said in the statement.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “‘Nothing wrong’ in Gonsalves’ family, bank dealings

  1. I read the entire document and Ms. Baptiste stated that persons said to her that she make a good female Prime Minister. In one of her quotes she stated that someone told her she is their Rosa Parks. But what is God’s calling for her, did she ask herself that, considering she holds a high position in the Tusian religion.

    As a God believing christian, that should have been her first reason for becoming the first female Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    Posted by Ashelle McFee | November 24, 2009, 13:06
  2. There aren’t a shortage of people who aspire to the highest office of the land but it’s a rare occasion when people call for someone to lead them so Anesia is special in this regard.

    The passion, sincerity and fearlessness with which she defends that rights of the people has made her stand out as a leader.

    That being said I think she needs to think carefully about getting into politics. The qualities that has made her such a force as a champion of the people’s rights may work against her as a member of a political party.

    Anesia is an honest individual who always takes a principled stance on the issues. I think this may be a problem for her as a member of a political party as often in a political party one is required to toe the party line sometimes against one’s personal convictions. I don’t see Anesia fitting in well in this environment.

    If she’s intent on entering the political arena I think she would need to do it as the leader of the political party! This may mean establishing her own political party as I don’t see someone entering an established political party as a leader.

    I would welcome such a move as there is still a desire for a radically new approach to politics in St.Vincent and I don’t think anyone would dare claim that Anesia would be about politics as usual.

    But while an entrance into the political arena may seem like the next logical step for Anesia I would like for her to consider an alternative.

    She can remain independent and continue the work she has been doing with the thusian institute for religious liberty in defense of the rights of the people. All things considered this may be the best option.

    Posted by Kelvin Pompey | November 24, 2009, 13:08
  3. Thanks for the opinions expressed.

    Ashelle, don’t assume that I have not considered God’s calling for me. I know that God is leading me because I have done everything by convictions of truth driving me to sound my voice, study, research and expose things for the education of the people. I only answered Kenton in showing that people have called for me.

    Furthermore, I want you to consider that the voice of the people calling for someone has often in bible history represented God’s way of stamping his approval on the person for that purpose. In my case I believe this is what is happening and I would not have started my work had I not known it was divine will for me to do so. One thing is clear and it is that God loves all of us and wants us to enjoy the rights and freedoms with which he has made us. Although in heaven, he dwells in the affairs of men and will not remain silent while his creation suffers. Often he raises up voices among the people so he can show forth his glory through proving to us what he can accomplish in the human agent.

    Kelvin I appreciate your analysis and I want to assure you that whatever I do I will not compromise with wrong. So if it proves impossible to stand for principle in a situation I’m sure the same God will show me what to do. Besides, the people decide ultimately. I also want you to have hope that there is a kind of politics that is possible in the earth, despite what seems to persist. There is a kind of politics that is of an uplifting and edifying kind and sometimes it simply takes one good and persistent example to turn the tide.

    Posted by Anesia | November 24, 2009, 13:53
  4. Kenton,

    Thank you for publishing a very accurate account of the information with which I provided you.

    Anesia

    Posted by Anesia | November 24, 2009, 13:56

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