Former Government Minister in the Keith Mitchell-led administration, Kenny Lalsingh has accused THE NEW TODAY newspaper of misrepresenting comments he made on a local radio station about the effects the new wave of taxes by the government are having on the population as part of the three-year Structural Adjustment Programme.
Lalsingh’s outburst on the radio programme two weeks ago primarily surrounded the increase in the Petrol Tax on the island from $3.00 to $5.00 over a four-month period.
The comments of a recording of the former Minister of Implementation in the Prime Minister’s Ministry which is in possession of this newspaper says, “ That (the petrol tax) has created also a political and a psychological problem because your sister countries in the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States), their petrol is cheaper than Grenada.”
The St. Patrick’s-based businessman further stated, “People are complaining. Some people may not tell them (the government)… but when you go around people are complaining… but to add more (taxes) would be counterproductive.”
Lalsingh who was removed as Leader of Government Business in the Senate by the Mitchell government said on the radio programme that the taxes that were recently implemented are justified but felt that “it is harsh on the people.”
However, during his in-studio appearance on the same radio station last Sunday, the former St. Patrick West Member of Parliament said he made the bold statement that “we have to also be careful that you don’t overplay, you don’t over-react in terms of raising taxes because it can have adverse effect.”
“Yes, I did say that while some of us can pay, some people may not have the ability to pay, there is no perfect situation. Some people would be better off, some would be a little worse off,” he said.
“I am one who say how I feel all the time, and I believe when I speak, I speak because of my love of country and the people,” he added.
Lalsingh pointed an accusing finger at former Editor of the now defunct GRENADA TODAY newspaper, George Worme who now serves as Consultant to THE NEW TODAY as being the author of the story which headlined, “Lalsingh: The Taxes are harsh on the people.”
“I made some remarks, things that I am not afraid to say and repeat, but it seems as though there are Journalists in this country, particularly George Worme who would take what I’ve said and try to twist it, but whatever I’ve said, I stand by it,” he told the FM radio station.
Host of the programme, Andre Donald who jumped in to correct Lalsingh’s comments indicated that Worme has nothing to do with THE NEW TODAY.
“Based on what is… in black and white, and what is in the (Supreme Court) Registry… George Worme, based on my knowledge has absolutely nothing to do with THE NEW TODAY Newspaper,” Donald said.
“Grenadians may know different, or should know differently, but you cannot say George Worme is the Editor of THE NEW TODAY … because he could take me to court… so let’s leave that there – based on black and white, he has nothing to do with The New Today,” the radio host added.