KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 3, IWN — If it were government spokesman Elson Crick who was “accosted” by BBC journalists last month, he would have boxed them down, Crick has said.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves accused BBC journalists Matthew Hill and Paul Kenyon of accosting him aboard a plane in Barbados on Feb. 17, during a layover, while travelling to Haiti.
The BBC journalists asked Gonsalves about an allegation that investor Dave Ames, chair of Harlequin, the company that owns Buccament Bay Resort, went to the office of the Prime Minister with a bag of money and left without it.
Crick hosted one of the radio programmes that Gonsalves telephoned to speak about the encounter with the BBC journalists.
Crick, who is Communication Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, said he would have boxed the journalists, a suggestion which Gonsalves rejected.
And, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace last week criticised Crick for the comment.
He also described as “foolishness” and “backwardness” a statement by Joseph Burns Bonadie, another Government spokesman, who said Eustace should have consulted with the Prime Minister before granting an interview to the BBC journalists — days before their encounter with Gonsalves.
“You hear people talking about boxing down people and so on. You have a serious issue facing your country [and] you are talking about boxing down somebody. He is being paid to do that, to say that?” Eustace said of Crick.
“What have we become here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? … That is what we want to tell the youth of our country? That’s the example you want to set for them? When you have a problem, box them down? …
“It is a level of idiocy that is unbelievable. Instead of dealing with the issues that confront us and making some suggestions and recommendation, box them down,” Eustace further said on his weekly radio programme on Nice Radio.
He said it is ridiculous what passes for discourse in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“It really is in fact ridiculous and they really should not be getting taxpayers’ money. … It is so foolish. We have issues of great importance to deal with the livelihood of the people of this country, a lot of whom are suffering, but you talk about box down.
“… How that sounds to people outside listening? We know how the communications system in the world goes now. Everything is open to everybody. And you on radio, that is all you can talk about [is] box down?” Eustace said, adding that the country is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
“We have sunk to the lowest levels by people who should be responsible. … If that is the level of ignorance we have from people who are paid at that level of the public sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, well, God help us,” Eustace further said.
“The level of backwardness is unbelievable for people who say they are speaking for Government, who are getting, in some cases, over $100,000 a year in salary — more than ministers of government,” Eustace further stated.
He, however, said that things would change.
“The people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines deserves a better day and this New Democratic Party will again play a role in ensuring we have a better day. We will lead that process in improving the lives of our people in this country of ours,” he said.
He also responded to Crick’s criticism of the shortness of his Feb. 20 press conference, which lasted 16 minutes, 30 seconds.
“I don’t have no press-hogging,” he said in reference to Gonsalves’ press conferences, the most recent of which, on Feb. 25, was three hours long.
“You have press conferences that last five minutes, all over the world. I don’t have no press-hogging. … You don’t know press conferences can be long and some can be short?” Eustace said.