KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A dinner for 20 New Democratic Party (NDP) supporters, each paying EC$5,000, could raise monies to help former party talk show host Edwardo “E.G.” Lynch to raise some of the money he needs to seek eye treatment overseas.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the suggestion on Monday as he denied that he or his government intervened to stop the U.S. Embassy in Barbados from giving Lynch a visa to seek medical treatment in the United States.
Lynch, who hosted the NDP’s “New Times” for 11 years, recently announced that his sight is diminishing and asked the public to donate money to help him seek medical attention in North America or Europe.
Gonsalves, who has won defamation cases against the NDP propagandist, said that while he is not obliged to personally help Lynch, his office and government would help, if possible, as it would for any other citizen.
“People must stop with these lies and especially when it concerns people’s wellbeing, even when the wellbeing is … for people on their own side,” Gonsalves said in relation to Internet reports that he or his government had hindered Lynch from getting a U.S. visa.
“… this is such a dastardly lie,” he said, adding that he thought Lynch had a U.S. visa. “I was the most surprised man to hear that he got turned down with his visa. So I concluded that he had a visa, it expired and he went back for one. I don’t know the fact. I could only assume that.”
Gonsalves noted that when the United States turns down a visa applicant, it would not grant a visa immediately after unless there is substantial changes in the circumstances that led to the application being rejected in the first instance.
He said that a former NDP officer and a supporter of his Unity labour Party (ULP), both living in the United States, telephoned to ask him if he or his government could help Lynch.
Gonsalves said he told both individuals that, as for every citizen of this country, there are mechanisms through the Ministry of Health and the Cabinet Secretary or the Prime Minister’s Office to provide assistance, if possible, to Lynch.
He said the government has arrangements with Cuba, which are “open to Eduardo Lynch, as it is opened to any Vincentian, where we make arrangements to try and help”
“Anybody in their right mind would think that I would discriminate against a citizen, first of all, and then discriminate against someone who has a medical problem on the ground of politics. What happen? You think I am a beast?” Gonsalves said, adding, “I know some of my supporters they would say even though you have a policy you shouldn’t even help Lynch.
“But they could answer to my politics but I have my god to answer to. And my god would know whether I am discriminating against somebody, particularly at a time of their illness,” he further stated, adding that he is not obliged “to put my hand in my pocket to give him money.
“And if I were to do that, that’s my personal money, that’s my business. So I am not discussing my personally business.”
Gonsalves said that Lynch’s receiving help from the government has nothing to do with the fact that Lynch and BDS NICE Radio owe him over $200,000 because of defamation judgements.
“Maybe we can’t help. But we have helped people to go to Cuba. He may not want to go to Cuba. But I know that if Lynch was in the ULP and had served the ULP faithfully and well as he has served the NDP, I would have gone home and I would have told [my wife] Eloise … we have to have a dinner.
“We would provide the food and everything and I’ll be one of the 20 persons at the dinner and each person I invite to the dinner would pay $5,000 … to give him an initial $100,000.’
He said that Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace along with opposition Members of Parliament St. Clair Leacock, Dr. Godwin Friday and Daniel Cummings could afford to be guests at such a dinner
“I don’t know about the others (opposition MPs). They can call people who support them,” he said, mentioning the Bonadies, Veiras and Greaves along with architects and contractors that support the party.
“I am making the suggestion. Arnhim and my cousin Jennifer could organise it and each of them pay $5,000 apiece. … I am giving a suggestion and I told people about the suggestion. An NDP man asked me. I told him that,” Gonsalves said.
He said that if Lynch can’t go to the U.S. and does not want Cuba, that the $100,000 raised from such a dinner can “set him off” to go to England or Canada.
“You’re going to allow the man to suffer with his eye for him to go blind after he talk out his soul for you for 13 years? Come on!” Gonsalves said.