Former diplomat Edson Augustus was recalled last week because he offered to help Vincentians in New York to obtain U.S. Permanent Resident Cards, commonly called “Green Cards”, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves told I-Witness News on Friday.
“The facts that we have to date indicate that Mr. Augustus was holding himself out as somebody who would be able to assist out-of-status Vincentians in New York with either expediting or facilitating applications for Green Cards and that he would do that for a fee,” Gonsalves told I-Witness News.
“That is it. There is nothing to do with passports, there is nothing to do with the sale of Green Cards, there’s nothing to do with the sale of passports, there is nothing to do with a ring, or a syndicate or anything like that. We have no information supporting that,” the minister further said, but noted that the Government is continuing its investigation into the former diplomat’s activities in New York.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday that it had recalled Augustus, former deputy consular general at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consulate in New York, because of his involvement in “activities outside the scope of his employment and inimical to the interest of the Consulate General and the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
Gonsalves noted to I-Witness News on Friday that the statement had indicated that the government was continuing its investigations.
“… we are not in a practice of speaking before we have marshaled all of the facts,” said Gonsalves, a former U.N. ambassador.
“Of course, our investigations continue. But as soon as we received confirmation of that fact — that he was holding himself out as somebody who could facilitate these processes — we decided to recall him.
“Why? Because it is not the business of the Consulate General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to engage in immigration advising of that nature or to be an immigration lawyer for anybody or to hold themselves out as having influence over a process that we have no influence over,” the senator explained.
“None of it was done on Consul premises. It was done on his time, at his residence — but it is not something that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines can countenance in our diplomatic representatives.”
Gonsalves said he could not say how long the investigation would last.
“We have received sufficient information to initiate a recall. We continue to investigate other claims that we hear, but some of them are so wild as to be ridiculous.
“The difficulty we have investigating claims involving out-of-status Vincentians in the United States is that, understandably, many of them are reluctant to come forward on the record.
“So, there are a lot of people who are muttering and whispering that they were done wrong by Mr. Augustus, but when you contact them officially, they say ‘I ain’t saying anything on the record because it might affect my current status.’
“So, the investigation, as you can anticipate, as you can imagine, will have some difficulties in speaking to people, who, by the very fact of their status, makes them reluctant to talk. But we are going as fast as can and as thoroughly as we can, investigating the credible claims against Mr. Augustus and sifting through the many incredible claims that were made,” Gonsalves further told I-Witness News.
A Vincentian woman, in New York, told I-Witness News recently that she paid Augustus US$7,000 after he promised to help her to obtain a “Green Card”.
She said she got the money back several months later after she suggested that she would go to a lawyer.
The answer is very simple, do what is usually done. Give him a better paid job, move him into something that pays better money, or send him on a fully paid education trip to come back with a law degree.
This is a good clarification, Kenton. Thank you for probing this matter as you have. You remain the only investigative journalist in the country.
I make the following assertions:
1. Mr. Augustus will soon return to SVG.
2. He will deny receiving any money from anyone but rather claim that he was just offering free humanitarian assistance to hardworking, undocumented Vincentian aliens living in the USA and did not know that his advise on obtaining a green card was not allowed under the conditions of his job description.
3. He will not be charged with any crime in SVG since his alleged misdeeds occurred in a foreign jurisdiction.
4. He will not be charged with any crime in America since no one will come forward with any evidence against him and since any misdeeds are covered by his diplomatic immunity.
5. He will either form his own church or join the Spiritual Baptists where he will receive a quick Deaconship. (By the way, only in the Third World does the 7th Day Adventist Church have any respectability; elsewhere it is considered a cult, like Rastafarianism and Shakerism).
“Offering to help” is a noble gesture. To me, this is not what was done. Why you all don’t stop insulting the intelligence of people Camillo?
The Fact is I do not trust none of you all. You could cry from now until God come back for his world but I don’t believe this nonsense for one second. Camillo was in New York and he was also in NYC when a lot of the allegations took place, did he come back to SVG so he can protect himself from this matter?
What about Mr. Walters, am I to believe that he doesn’t know anything? calls are made to the office and were reportedly forwarded to Mr. Augustus, why would anyone allow any workman under them to dictate the way that calls are routed in the office? Listen Vincentians, don’t believe this nonsense, it was very easy to find this out. This is only what they want you to believe and offering to help on Green Card is something that he can do without getting fired. Some Vincentians cannot read or write properly and if he helps to fill out forms, and give advice then that is within his job.
Come on Augustus tell us the truth, because as it is now you got fired for nothing. And if this is the reason that the are sticking too, then you should take them to court for lost wages, because that is not sufficient cause for termination. What a bunch of nonsense.
We have received sufficient information to initiate a recall. We continue to investigate other claims that we hear, but some of them are so wild as to be ridiculous.”
Camillo you can do better than that. You say that you cannot make further statements because you don’t have all the facts, but you can say that some of the claims are ridiculous. You do not know enough to dismiss anyone’s claim as being ridiculous, you said so youself.
How many people made claims against Comrade Augustus that were dismissed as ridiculous? Maybe people tried to speak out before and were dismissed the same way that you are doing now, even after the story broke. Are you all for real? these are Vincentians too, they have lives and families to look after. They would like some justice, but instead they are being slapped in the face, with nonsensical press releases that seem like they are written with no common sense.
We want Comrade Augustus to come in a conference room and come tell Vincentians what was gain by bringing down the value of our travel documents in North America. We would like to at least know how much was gained at the expense of all Vincentians. Shame and disgrace.
Comments are closed.