ST. VINCENT: – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has rejected the resignation of Communications Consultant in the office of the Prime Minister Elson Crick who on Monday, Nov. 14, sent to the media a speech containing an incorrect election date.
Crick on Monday said the faux pas was “an honest mistake” and apologised to the media even as he said he would place a letter of resignation at the prime minister’s “disposal”.
On Tuesday, Crick described as “doctored” photographs published by I Witness-News which clearly show that Gonsalves wrote the election date as “Monday December 15th” during the rally on Sunday when he announced the Dec. 13 poll. Dec. 15 is a Wednesday while Dec. 13, Election Day, is a Monday.
The photographs were taken by freelance photographer Oris Robinson at the rally on Sunday and published on I Witness-News on Monday. (See photos below)
However, while Crick, in his apology to news editors, said his “integrity is well known” and that he has been “an honest media person over the last 31 years, and no one should make mischief from my error”, he did not offer to show the media the original document on which Gonsalves wrote at Calliaqua.
He further said that contrary to what the photographs show, Gonsalves “never wrote anything marked December the 15th”.
“He wrote the 13th,” Crick said on WE FM’s “Shake-up” on Tuesday..
The copy of Gonsalves speech which Crick sent to the media on Monday mentioned the election date as Dec. 15 rather than Dec. 13 as Gonsalves announced at the rally.
Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace had on Saturday told supporters of his New Democratic Party (NDP) that Vincentians will go to the polls on Dec. 15.
“And he is intending to announce it tomorrow. … And, if he change it, I will know!” Eustace said.
Gonsalves described Eustace’s statement as “childish”.
During the rally on Sunday, Gonsalves wrote on blank lines in his prepared speech the dates for the dissolution of Parliament, Nomination Day, and the election date.
Robinson took photo of the document as Gonsalves held it in his hands after filling in the dates.
Officially, elections will be held on Dec. 13, Parliament would be dissolved on Nov. 15, while election candidates are to be officially nominated on Nov. 26.
Gonsalves’ press secretary Hans King, along with Crick on Tuesday hosted “Shake-Up”, during which King announced that Gonsalves had not accepted the resignation.
“There’s been an issue and it’s been in the newspaper this week…” King said of the development.
“As all who were there at Calliaqua would have seen, that was a document that the dates were blank. There were no dates written in on that document,” he added.
“Of course, yesterday, I would have received a request from Kenton Chance — as I am sure you (Elson Crick) would have also received — for a copy of that document. Of course, you would have then gotten the document — soft copy, email on the internet — and you proceeded to put in the date and you would have erroneously put in December 15th and sent that document out,” King said.
“I first became aware of it when Kenton Chance, in a story that he did, made reference to that and when I looked at the document that you have sent to me — you had copied to me as well — I realized that in fact that was an error and that you had December 15th,” King added.
“And, of course, you are a big man and you have apologized for that and tendered your resignation to the prime minister. And, of course, the prime minister has not accepted that resignation,” he further said.
“Your facts are indeed correct,” Crick said to King’s account of the development.
“I really can’t explain how that happened. It’s a mistake that I believe I will live with for the rest of my life. It is something that has really traumatized me a lot and I didn’t sleep properly last night because I couldn’t figure out how this mistake could happen, how could I put in – it’s something I really can’t explain,” said Crick.
Crick said he had also apologised to all the persons to whom he sent the erroneous election date.
“…I have outlined the fact that I made a mistake. I apologized. I tendered my resignation to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. He, of course, said he is not going to accept it, which means that for all intents and purposes, I am still employed as the communications consultant at the Office of the Prime Minister despite the rantings and ravings of some persons this morning,” he said.
“…the important thing to note is that yes I made a mistake. Fine; I will take the blows, I will take the licks for that because you can’t defend that. But, basically, the Leader of the Opposition got the date wrong. That is the bottom line,” Crick said.
“There was no hanky-panky. There are people who are – in fact, I can tell you right now there is a document that is being displayed right now on the internet in Kenton Chance’s blog site which was doctored. It was doctored to show that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves wrote in December 15th on the night at Calliaqua. That is a lie.
“He showed the blank document to everybody. In fact — and I don’t know how to mentioned this– he wrote the date in on the back of his wife — never wrote anything marked December the 15th, he wrote the 13th. So, it was my error and my mistake,” Crick said.
He said that Gonsalves had given clues about the election date, having mentioned Proverbs 12:13 at several events over the past weeks.
“If Arnhim Eustace was smart, he would have told his supporters, “I giving Ralph Gonsalves the time to call the elections, he must call it between the 13th and the 15th or the 13th and the 17th”, if he had done his maths right, if he had gone and checked the date,” Crick said.
Eustace has maintained that he was right when he mentioned that the elections were slated for Dec. 15.
“When I said that, I had the information that allowed me to say that and I believe that what I said then was correct. In fact, I know that what was said was correct,” he said on Monday on “New Times” on Nice Radio.
“This thing about we got caught with our pants down, if we predicted accurately the date that Parliament would be dissolved, how we could have been caught with pants down?” he said.
“The 15th was the date. He can say whatever he wants, but I know it was so,” Eustace said, adding the election date was change after his statements on Saturday.
“We are going to keep focused. We are going to keep our attention on the ball. We will win the election,” Eustace said.