KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 20, IWN – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, on Tuesday, for a third consecutive day, denied accepting a bribe from Dave Ames, as a BBC journalist reportedly suggested.
“I say to the people of this country, trust me; trust your prime minister, you have known me. You may say several things about me, which may not be complementary — those who do not support me. But believe me when I tell you, I am honest, I do not take bribes. I do not take corrupt money. Please, believe that,” Gonsalves said in a call to WE FM from Haiti, where he is attending a CARICOM meeting.
“That is not in my make up and I have been around long enough for you to judge me on that scope. And, do not allow the opposition and BBC journalists to traduce me in this manner and to bring our country down and to want to treat your prime minister as though I am a lesser prime minister than another prime minister,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves told the nation on Sunday that BBC journalist Paul Kenyon and one of his colleagues accosted him on an aircraft in Barbados, and asked him to respond to an allegation that Ames came to his office with a briefcase/suitcase and left without it.
He denied accepting a bribe and accused the opposition of joining with the BBC to try to taint his name.
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said Monday that he was interviewed by the BBC but denied telling the journalist about Ames and the money, as Gonsalves claimed, citing an unidentified man as having been shown the evidence that implicates Eustace.
“What happen, because the BBC’s budget is bigger than the gross domestic product of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that they can take advantage of us?
“Because BBC probably employs more people than the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that they feel that they can say anything about Ralph, do anything to me?
“Because they know it is difficult for me to sue them in England?” Gonsalves said.
“But if they defame me, I will find some way to deal with them legally,” said Gonsalves, who said on Monday that he would have to sell all he has to sue the BBC.
“But, most of all, I put myself in the hands of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean. And that is why I have come out in the way in which I have come out,” Gonsalves said.