On Tuesday 29 th January, Parliament approved the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for St.
Vincent and the Grenadines for 2019; totalling EC$1,067,343,283, in advance of the presentation
of the Budget.
Following the presentation of the Estimates by the Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, the
Leader of the Opposition Dr. Honorable Godwin Friday, led the response by the Opposition.
Speaking for approximately one hour, Dr. Friday pointed to many deficiencies in the Estimates,
including the ballooning “Other Capital Receipts” category of revenue, stated at over $198
million, which inflated the budget but will never be collected and spent. He declared that such
unrealistic and dishonest revenue projections make the Estimates exercise a mirage, far divorced
from reality.
Member for West Kingstown, the Honourable Daniel Cummings also responded. Among other
things, he spoke about the failure to address the dire health care situation in the country and the
poor planning and execution of river defenses in Kingstown. He was followed by Member for
Southern Grenadines, the Hon. Terrance Ollivierre, who pointed to the continued neglect of
public infrastructure, health services and education in his constituency.
It was obvious that after presenting their billion-dollar Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure,
those on the government side, including Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, did not seem very
committed to their revenue and expenditure projections, as only Agriculture Minister, Saboto
Caesar and Health Minister, Luke Browne spoke in support of them.
Why would a government that is so very media hungry bring their big Estimates to the House
and most of the Ministers fail to speak in support of it? Were they uncomfortable that the figures
were highly unrealistic and sensed that the Vincentian people would realize that they were being
misled again by the ULP administration? Given the 1% salary increase forced upon public
servants and teachers by the government and the resounding rejection of it by the teachers and
public servants, it is evident that Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP government are out of touch with
reality in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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