Kalvitis' carrot and stick approach

  • 2007-10-15
  • From wire reports
RIGA 's- In his latest colorful 's not to say bizarre - outburst, Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has railed against the twin evils of inappropriate housebuilding and unsightly hogweed.

Kalvitis told attendees at a cabinet committee meeting on Oct. 15 that he views the contruction of new homes on former carrot fields in Olaine, near Riga "with horror".

"I do not understand this philosophy. Why are we afraid to build houses in the countryside?" the prime minister asked.

"We are double-faced - we allow building private houses on the outskirts of Riga, but we are afraid to allow construction in rural areas with scarce population," he said.

"Why do we not permit building houses in the countryside?" Kalvitis said, adding that the whole northeastern Latvian region of Vidzeme is already covered with hogweed, a poisonous and harmful plant. Kalvitis sees housebuilding as an effective means of keeping the noxious weed at bay.

Kalvitis also urged to facilitate the reconstruction of historical buildings that are characteristic of Latvia. "Historical buildings have to be reconstructed! Latvia is full of old houses, and they do no harm to the environment," he said.