KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday that, unlike his Press Secretary, Hans King, he would not have said on radio that he considered killing someone who made malicious comments about him on Facebook.
Gonsalves, however, said that he would not discipline King for saying on Aug. 15 on Chris “Too Kool” Jones’ “AM Mayhem” on Hot FM that he contemplated killing Bryan Alexander that weekend.
“Hans and I spoke about it. And I would not have gone and said it on the radio having spoken to the person man to man,” Gonsalves told reporters.
He further explained that because a talk show host was talking about the incident, King “wanted to quell it”.
“But by saying what he said, [it] didn’t have the effect of quelling it [but] had the effect of providing some kerosene to the little fire,” Gonsalves said of King’s actions.
“I saw the comments which were made by the gentleman who had caused Hans King to get angry…. And what he said about Hans was untruthful, defamatory and, in fact, was a matter which would have warranted criminal prosecution. Because … on the face of it, it amounted to a criminal libel, completely untrue,” Gonsalves said.
He said Alexander, whom he described as an opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) “activist”, removed the post from Facebook after King telephoned Alexander “and reacted very robustly to him on the phone.”
“If I were Hans, I would have left it at that but he went on the radio and he said what he told the gentleman,” Gonsalves said.
“But as I understand what Hans said, Hans didn’t threaten the gentleman. He said that this is the sort of a thing that could get people to behave in a particular way and he said what the particular kind of a behaviour that he would get people to do. Not that he will do it,” Gonsalves explained.
He further said that while there is “a lot of comment on it, a lot of hullabaloo”, many who are criticizing King have not said that “the falsehoods” should not have been posted on the social networking Website.
He said those who condemn King must also condemn “this untruth and this terrible libel, amounting to a criminal libel, which has been uttered against Hans”.
“So now, that has become an issue, apparently … among some people, for me to say that this is a matter that trespasses upon discipline,” Gonsalves further said.
“It wasn’t even something proximate to a threat,” Gonsalves said, adding that some people have said that because he had not “issued a statement disciplining Hans or proportion to discipline Hans, it must mean that I harbour those thoughts, too.”
“I mean, it is an incredible jump,” he remarked.
Asked if he has ever harboured such thoughts, Gonsalves laughed then told reporters, “I have been in a political activist for … 43 years and nobody had ever gotten me to even harbour thoughts of hatred in my mind, much less to go beyond those thoughts.
“… Even when some say terrible things about me and even when I have to take the recourse to the law courts, I don’t hate anybody,” said Gonsalves who has successfully sued several persons for statements made about him.