ST. VINCENT: – A Dr. Ralph Gonsalves administration would not allow Vincentians to be held at ransom by “undemocratic powers” as has been happening in part of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, since last Friday.
“We have a lot of copycats [but] I assure you, it aint going [to] happen on my watch. I assure you of that,” Gonsalves said on Tuesday.
“That is one time, as I have always said, the … state … has a legitimate monopoly on physical coercion. And I just hope it has come home to Vincentians,” he added.
Police in Jamaica have reported that 26 civilians and one lawman have been killed in gun battles as security forces try to execute an extradition warrant on allege drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who is wanted by the United States.
Some 25 civilians and seven law men were also injured while police have detained 211 persons, including six women. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“Now this is what happens when you allow these things to get out of hand. I am not talking here … of some noble ganja farmer 30 years ago or 20 years ago… I am talking about organized crime,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said he was considering whether he should travel to Kingston next week to deliver a lecture that was planned before the volatile developments.
He further noted that the West Indies Cricket Board was observing the situation to decide what to do regarding the One-Day International and Test matches carded for the Kingston next month.
“This government would not allow an undemocratic power, through drugs or guns, to hold territorial sway over any part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security.
“You see the consequence of allowing this sort of thing to fester,” he said, nothing that the gun battles were not taking place in Mexico or Columbia as often seen on television.
Gonsalves said the opposition new Democratic Party (NDP) had accused the government of planting a rifle, capable of discharging 700-900 rounds per minute that was discovered by police last August.
He further said NDP activists had distributed drinks to backers of an alleged money launderer who had gathered outside a court building to support him.
He said the accused money launderer was “a kind of mini Dudus, a micro mini Dudus, a Dudus in an earlier evolutionary state”. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
“But mark my words, you give them a chance, they will do exactly like Dudus. I want the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to understand that,” Gonsalves said.
He further he mentioned an incident in SVG last year in which Coast Guard officers met resistance as they tried to apprehend two men who had entered the country on a boat.
Gonsalves said keeping law and order does not earn a politician votes since doing so invariably results in some sort of criticisms.
“It does not give you any vote. But not having law and order will lose you plenty votes. But more than that, [it] would make it difficult for you to enjoy any of your rights: your natural right to life and the protection or your person and the whole range of cirial rights, including the right to property, the right to speak, to associate,” he said.
“I hope that what is happening [in Jamaica] has come home to Vincentians – that you cannot give these organised drug traffickers and money launderers any space,” he added.
The situation in Jamaican came to a head on the heels of mounting increasing pressure for the Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding to resign since he told Parliament last week that he had sanctioned an initiative for persons within his party to lobby the United States against the extradition request for Coke.