He says he is not interested in debates about furniture or the metaphorical cutting of throats.
But Sen. Camillo Gonsalves says that that whenever the Opposition “find the occasion to rise above petty politics”, they will find in him “a keen ear and an open mind”.
Gonsalves outlined his position last week Thursday during his maiden address to Parliament.
“I am not interested in debates about furniture or whose throat should be metaphorically cut, but let us instead battle over our competing visions for the poor, the youth, education, our airport, our national growth and development,” he told lawmakers.
“As we compete, let us do so with honour and dignity, not honour and sensationalism; let iron sharpen iron instead of us descending into a state often indistinguishable from a rum shop cacophony.,” he further said.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs, and Information Technology, is the country’s immediate past ambassador to the United Nations.
He said that the experience at the U.N., makes him, by necessity, “a seeker of consensus” and developed in him “an ability to see the value of an opposing view point”.
“I have helped to broker deals between Americans and Iranians, found areas of agreement between Arabs and Israelis and helped in some small way to build bridges between warring neighbours.
“With those experiences, Mr. Speaker, the differences in this room, while significant, seem unworthy of the malice and the rancour often times displayed in this Parliament,” he said.
The senator, who is son of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, said that former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, said that in the history of the human race, those periods which later appeared as great have been the period when the men and women belonging to them had transcended the differences that divided them and recognised in the human race a common bond.
“Similarly, if historians are to look back at this error, we should recognise in ourselves that we are commonly all Vincentians and … that we hold dear a belief that we all can assist in the development of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and I think that should be the unifying factor around which all of us can gather and govern,” Gonsalves said.
“We may differ in our ideologies, our analyses, our prescriptions for national development and these are important differences, and our electoral fortunes are premised on our ability to convince the electorate that we have the correct view. But I believe that despite these important differences, we are unified by a love for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and a genuine, sincere desire to see her do well,” he further stated.