Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has denied allegations of political partisanship in the distribution of humanitarian aid, following the displacement of thousands of people here.
He did so in Parliament on May 11 in response to a question put by Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday, on the issue of the distribution of relief aid.
According to Gonsalves, those responsible for distributing items to individuals in shelters or in private homes were selected by personnel at the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).
“I heard it being said that the distribution of items is being done on a partisan political basis – I don’t know how that is possible,” the prime minister said.
“There is absolutely no evidence of that; and if there is any evidence of that, then somebody should draw it to my attention,” Gonsalves continued.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that he was aware that items had come in the names of other Parliamentarians on both the government and opposition side, and that individuals or organizations had sent relief supplies addressed to him.
But even in these instances, Gonsalves said, he indicated to groups and other governments to send items and to send it to NEMO as that was the agency coordinating all the relief supplies.
“I want to say this because it pains me knowing the facts,” he said.
There may be instances where an individual charged with the dropping off of supplies and food may distribute some to members of their families, he admitted.
“In some cases, they may do it – they are trained not to do that, but human nature being what it is, you may have situations like that happening, but frankly speaking that is de minimis,” Gonsalves said.