September 24, 2023

Peter Binose: Positive Evidence of Election Bribery [Saint Vincent]

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ralph-gonsalves-flag-740-700x466By Peter Binose

The Government decided to buy a shipment of building materials from Jamaica prior to the 2015 elections in SVG. Why did they buy it from a firm in Jamaica when they could have purchased exactly the same items from firms in Saint Vincent? Some of what they purchased was galvanized roofing sheets. Yet we have a galvanized roofing producer in SVG which is part owned by the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Well according to the story told to us they bought it from a firm in Jamaica called TankWeld Ltd because they gave them credit. But they could have taken credit from their own firm at Camden Park.

Buying from Jamaica means that Jamaicans have work and the sellers of the goods have the profit which would have given the Vincentian workers and business houses in SVG a financial boost. So what was really the reason for buying from abroad? Some say corruption was involved and backhanders were received. But that is only conjecture and certainly not based on any proven fact. So we will not follow that line because regardless of what we each personally believe or may think took place there is no evidence or proof to substantiate such beliefs. It would also be unfair to all concerned to make such unfounded allegations.

What we were told by the ULP Government about those who received the materials is that they were poor people who required urgent repairs to their dwellings due to past storm Thomas 2010 damage and also age deterioration of some old peoples dwellings. It was described as a government scheme to help alleviate hardship for poor people who could not afford to buy materials. But let there be no doubt in any one’s mind that is further from the truth than anything could be, that is a most dastardly lie, the whole reasoning is a concocted sham, a part of a political conspiracy. It was concocted to defraud the state of building materials bought and owned by the state and to distribute them through a political party to supporters of that political party, in particular those supporters of the Unity Labor Party. The materials were given to party members and also to anyone who promised to vote for the ULP in the December 9 elections. It was simply and straight forwardly a matter of outright and downright bribery and corruption.

Some of you will remember comments made by PM Gonsalves after the 2009 constitution referendum which was a failure to his wishes when the people voted no. Dr. Gonsalves said the people did not vote for it because he did not give them lumber, cement and galvanize. So we can see the mind frame of distributing such materials to ensure that people vote for the ULP in an election.

I have evidence and I have direct proof that it was not the government that gave away and distributed and chose who got materials and who did not. It was the Unity Labor Party that gave away and decided who got to share in the great giveaway. Here is how it worked, each ULP constituency office sent out runners into the villages and hamlets and enquired who wanted what, orders were taken, information was gathered, and promises and undertakings were sort and given in return for a promise of materials. So lists were made, names were taken and recorded, some were asked to give a written list of the materials required. Don’t forget this was not the government or a government department or a government agency, this was the Unity Labor Party taking orders for government materials to bribe the electorate. People were also able to go along to the ULP constituency offices and collect a written order on official government BRAGSA order forms, the recipient got the green page which they gave to the truck owners to collect materials from the government yard at Arnos Vale. Hence lines of vehicles for weeks collecting great loads of stolen government owned materials to deliver to those bribed by the Unity Labor Party with government owned materials.

I can give direct evidence about how this worked it is not an allegation on my part it is a direct accusation on my part of a government conspiracy with a political party to defraud the government to the benefit of the Unity Labor Party.

I sat in my car outside the shop of Miss Toney at Calliaqua opposite the sports field and adjacent to the ULP constituency office by the river there. I saw a line of people and sometimes people walking away folding a sheet of green paper, most of who had arrived in posh cars; none of those I viewed were poor people. So I went across a little bridge over the river and sat on a bench with a small group of people who were drinking their complementary Hairoun beer, under big red umbrellas. A well dressed man came and sat opposite me and had his order form in his hand which he turned and showed me. He told me I should go and get an order and it was free. He left a few minutes later and drove away in an SUV that was probably worth between $80,000 and a $100,000, this was most certainly not a poor person. In fact I sat there for about an hour and never observed anyone that was looking like a poor person, at least 50% of them arrived by car? This office is the constituency office of Camillo Gonsalves, but I will hasten to add I did not see him personally there at this time.

I also have in my hands a copy of one of the BRAGSA order forms listing the materials granted the recipient for collection from Arnos Vale. Yes that is an actual fact, when a certain recipient showed me his order I asked to take a copy of it and that is exactly what I did. That particular form was issued at the constituency office of Cess Mckie at Arnos Vale, I also have some paper work with Mckie’s phone number and name thereon.

So the top and bottom of the whole matter of the fraud and the offences under the Representation of the Peoples Act although wrapped up in Christmas paper to look like something it was not, is quite simply a conspiratorial fraud against the State of SVG culminating in the bribery of the electorate by a political party with government owned property.

Almost everyone on the island who went shopping at CK Greaves by the airport saw dozens of trucks lining up at the Government building material storage yard, well that was grand theft in action.

In SVG like in all the Caribbean island states there are state agencies most of which are called NEMO which distribute building and household materials after emergencies, not political parties. So in whatever way the ULP government tries to hide what the materials were given for and to whom, all they can produce are sham reasons. Remembering also that none of the materials went to NDP supporters, they did not qualify.

Latest: A business man Alwyn Lewis on a radio program ‘Keeping it Real’ last Friday 29 Jan 2016 alleged that Chairman of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council Monsignor Michael Stewart of the Roman Catholic Church asked Prime Minister Ralph Gonlsalves to leave the distribution of the millions of dollars of building materials until after the general election. It is alleged that Gonsalves refused to do that. Monsignor Stewart would neither confirm nor deny such, saying he prefers to wait until the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism’s Report on the general elections is made public.
It is now further alleged that someone ULP has asked Monsignor Stewart to omit from the report any references to bribery. That is an ongoing matter and several members of the Church are making enquiries.

It is my belief that what happened in Saint Vincent has turned thousands of Vincentian citizens into prospective criminals and shown the youth that it’s OK to steal and plunder state materials.
The very moral fabric of our society has been seriously damaged if not destroyed by the election corruption that took place with sheer blatancy. Many of our citizens have been contaminated by the ULP corruption schemes. The whole country has been cast backwards to things even worse than could have ever of happened under colonialism.

It is claimed by the government that the millions of dollars in building supplies was imported by the Housing and Land Development Corporation for the ‘Lives to Live Program’ and for use in the rehabilitation of houses damaged by hurricane Thomas in 2010. Maybe it was maybe it wasn’t but one thing for sure that is not where it went. I doubt there were any houses left unrepaired from 2010, if there were they would be NDP and they would not get any materials anyway.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Electoral Law
AN ACT to consolidate and revise the Laws of Saint Vicent and the Grenadines relating to the representation of the people and for matters incidental thereto.
Commencement: 28th December 1982
S.R.O. 60 of 1982

44. (1) the following persons shall be deemed guilty of bribery within the meaning of this Act-.

(a)any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives, ]ends, agrees to give or lend, or offers, promises to procure or to endeavor to procure, any money or valuable consideration to or for any voter, or to or for any other person in order to induce any voter to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election;

(b) any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, gives or procures, or agrees to give or procure, or offers, promises, or promises to procure or to endeavor to procure, any office, place or employment to or for any voter, or to or for any person on behalf of any voter or to or for any other person in order to induce such voter to vote or refrain from- voting or corruptly does any voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election;

(c) any person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement, or agreement as aforesaid to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure, or endeavor to procure, the return of any person as an elected member of the House of Assembly, or the vote of any voter at any election;

(d) any person who, upon or in consequence of any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement, procures or engages, promises or endeavors’ to procure, the return of any person as an elected member of the House of Assembly or the vote of any voter at any election;

(e) any person who advances or pays, or causes to be paid, any money to or to the use of any other person with the intent that such money, or any part thereof, shall be expended in bribery at any election or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge of repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any such election;

(f) any voter who, before or during any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan or valuable consideration, office, place or employment for himself or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote, or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any election; and

(g) any person who, after any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting at any such election.

I have had to speak out because the direct knowledge and evidence that I have has been eating away at my heartstrings now for weeks.

Read this also,-good-governance-and-the-politics-of-lumber,-cement,-and-galvanize-28254.html

When the yard at Arnos Vale recently went up in a blazing fire, it was said that the records of recipients of materials went up with it. I do not know, I can offer no evidence of that, but perhaps sometime down the road it will all come to light. Remember the more people that know the truth the more chance someone will eventually spill the proverbial beans.


DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ or official policies of iNews Cayman/

IMAGE: St Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

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