Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

More information has emerged about how Edson Augustus became a diplomat in May 2011, three months after he resigned as a Seventh Day Adventists pastor, amidst certain allegation about which he has refused to comment.

Augustus was recalled from his post as deputy consul general at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consulate in New York on Feb. 7.

The government said Augustus admitted to taking money from persons in New York and promising to help them source U.S. Permanent Resident Cards, commonly called “Green Cards”.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves responded to comments that proper due diligence would have shown that Augustus was unsuitable for the job.

Augustus has remained silent after his recall.

He returned to St. Vincent on Monday and met with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials before leaving for Trinidad that same day, Gonsalves told the media.

(Read: MP raises questions about due diligence before appointment of recalled diplomat)

Gonsalves said at the press briefing that Augustus had worked in the service of the government of SVG before he became a pastor in the Seventh Day Adventists Church.

“I was advised that he resigned from his ministry and was interested in pursuing a career in the consulate services of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.

“It is generally acknowledged that he has good pastoral skills, a community activist. I have to advise as to whether he be appointed. He came to see me, I told him I have to check out — I have to examine a number of matters before I can recommend his name for consideration to the Cabinet,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security.

“I contacted a senior pastor in the church who had known him for years, someone, you may say, in the leadership circle. I received a good report from him. In the meantime, I asked the entity which normally does checks and they came back with nothing that would show that he would not be suited,” Gonsalves said in an apparent reference to the Special Branch of the Police Force.

“Indeed, while I was waiting for a return on those checks, a senior pastor of the Seventh Day Adventists Church in Trinidad was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — columnist in a newspaper, he was once a senator — he made an appointment to see me, to give testimony about Mr. Augustus’ suitability for this position. In relation to this gentleman from Trinidad, if I get his permission to reveal his name from him, I will do so,” Gonsalves further said.

I-Witness News was unsuccessful in attempts to reach via telephone on Wednesday a person in Trinidad that fits Gonsalves’ description.

Further this publication was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach an official of the local SDA mission when it telephoned the mission’s headquarters repeatedly on Wednesday.

The line was continually engaged when we called Wednesday morning, and later Wednesday afternoon, I-Witness News was told that head of the mission, Pastor Dermos Baptiste had already left for the day.

Pastor Henry R. Snagg, another member of the mission to whom we were referred, was in a meeting, we were told when we called twice Wednesday afternoon, including shortly after 4 p.m.

Up to the time of publication, he did not respond to our requests that he returns a call to us.

Meanwhile, at the press conference on Tuesday, Gonsalves further responded directly to his critics.

“Now, I find it passing strange that some who have acknowledged that they have occasionally signed cheques which have bounced are imposing a 20-20 vision, who are in one office or the other, those who have admitted that they have committed the criminal offence of stoning a church while the pilgrims were at worship, are now saying — that crew now saying that if I had done checks I would have found that Mr. Augustus was unsuitable. Well, I in fact did checked, as I just indicated,” Gonsalves said.

http://youtu.be/G3Bc51RhKBw

9 replies on “Trinidadian pastor lobbied for Augustus’ appointment as a diplomat (+Video)”

  1. Yes Massa Ralph Sir, anything you say sir we have to believe because we dootish, we don’t have no sense. So next election if we take our Dotish selves and Vote for the NDP you can’t blame us, you have blame our dootishness because we are untrained and untutored.

  2. He likes to talk about stone church and bounced cheques; those two things tickle his fancy. but he not talking about the biggest scandals in the history of this country- the rape allegations, indecent exposure and sexual assaults, the one million dollars, the US dollars deposited by family members, the mismanagement of the NCB and its subsequent sale to St.Lucia for next to nothing; and party hacks crooks and thieves! My advice to him would be to address these matters now voluntarily or latter through the courts then Belle Isle. How about that?

  3. Urlan Alexander says:

    This PM is a very strange individual you know. He has been accused of rape by a member of his security detail and he didn’t sue or fired her why? I guess its because he was afraid of what might have come transpired during the court hearings. So what he did? He had his former colleague and partner, Colin Williams who he appointed as DPP who throw out the case. The men he accused of bounce check and stone church are now MPs duly elected by the PEOPLE. Therefore this rhetoric the PM continues to use has no bearing and no basis. It cannot hold water. It is boring now. Overplayed. The PM on the other hand APPOINTED Edson Augustus to the post of DCG. It doesn’t matter how much he shifts blame, history will show that Dr. Ralph E Gonsalves PM of SVG is the one must be held accountable for his actions. He cannot get away of the fact that he continues to put square pegs in round holes. His management of the economy and his style of leadership are very poor.

  4. I am so sorry but as a Vincentian citizen I am unable to believe anything that PM Gonsalves has said here. Why? because he is known to tell lies and he actually confirmed that to us himself, in his very own words.

    A lot in this article does not ring true, so I reserve my right as a citizen in reply to a known liar not to believe what he says until proven otherwise.

    Peter

  5. J James, like Mr Eustace you have got to stop being such a nice person that you are unable to say it the way it is. You in the nicest possible way are trying to say that you believe that what is said is untrue, a lie. So why not say so.

    But still, thank you and Mr Eustace and Mr James for being nice people. Its nice people that we need, its the nasty that we need to rid ourselves of.

    Peter

  6. I find it inconceivable that in a 2×4 country like SVG the reason why former-Pastor Augustus willingly or forcibly left his position in the 7 Day Adventist sect has still not been revealed. (I know that you are working hard on this Mr. Chance but you should probably search closer to home.)

    My assessment is the only real “crime” in all of this is Augustus’ receipt of a government appointment in the first place: the worst people to give such authority to are those who profess to be holier than thou.

  7. What really gets to me is how scared of him the press are. During his press conferences no member of the media and in particular the press, ask him strong questions, hard nosed questions, questions of extreme relevance. The actually hold back and tailor the questions in a way not to bring on his abuse and wrath.

    Then when there is an opposition press conference, the same reporters ask all the difficult questions without fear of nasty rebuke.

    Until the press brave up and treat Gonsalves like any other man, ask him questions and in a way that he needs to answer what is pertinent, we are all lost in the mist of nasty self answered questions by him.

    Kenton this is not aimed at you, you have been one of those maltreated by him because of a nasty reaction to questions he did not like.

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