Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentian diplomat Camillo Gonsalves has compared the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) to the Tea Party Movement (TPM), the populist, conservative political movement in the United States that has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009.

Gonsalves, Kingstown’s ambassador to the United Nations, said that the TPM, associated with the Republican Party, does not have a strong candidate for next year’s presidential elections and is reverting to undermining the U.S. economy to bring down President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Gonsalves, the son of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, made the statement Tuesday on Star FM, owned by the ruling Unity Labour Party.

The United States credit rating was last week downgraded from a perfect AAA to AA+ for the first time.  Critics say it was tea party intransigence in debt ceiling talks that led to the downgrade.

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But Republican Rand Paul, whose surprise primary victory in May 2010 put the Tea Party insurgency on the map, said, “Blaming the tea party for America’s debt crisis and downgrade is like blaming the fireman for fires.”

The Tea Party says the way out of the debt for the United States is deep cuts in spending, no tax hikes, enforceable spending caps, and a balanced budget amendment to the country’s Constitution.

Standard & Poor, which downgraded the credit rating, was concerned that Washington doesn’t have the political capacity to solve its debt problem.