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Union Island based community leader Abdon Whyte says he has plans to enter politics. (IWN file photo)
Union Island based community leader Abdon Whyte says he has plans to enter politics. (IWN file photo)

Abdon Whyte, son of the Customs guard who drowned in Union Island during a reported shootout between police and Venezuelans in 2012, says he has political ambition but is not sure when he will act on them.

“I do have an interest in politics. When I may decide to seriously pursue those interest, that is another thing,” Whyte told I-Witness News in a recent interview.

“I have been president of a number of organisations and I like community work,” he further said, adding that that is why he is a member of the Union Island Easterval Committee.

Whyte, a teacher at the Union Island Secondary School, studied geographic information systems at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México in Mexico.

He is a former head of the Southern Grenadines chapter of the youth arm of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and told I-Witness News that he is not a member of the ULP, but is “a supporter of good ideas”.

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Asked if he is a supporter of the ULP, Whyte told I-Witness News,

“Over the years, I have supported the ULP, I was president of the Southern Grenadines Youth Arm in 2004 and I have supported the party and I believe I continue to support the party.

“I may not support everything that the party does,” siad Whyte, who described himself as  “a very opinionated person”.

“I am very expressive and I express what I feel and what I think and people sometimes take it the wrong way. Our country is very polarized — you say something today and persons could think you are one thing, and you say something tomorrow and they think you are another,” he told I-Witness News.

There is a view that with Director of Grenadines Affairs Edwin Snagg, having failed to unseat the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the Southern Grenadines three times (2001, 2005, 2010), the next general elections, constitutionally due in 2015, would be an opportunity time to usher in the younger Whyte.

The Southern Grenadines has voted NDP since it became a separate constituency in 1989.

“I believe that the ULP can win the Southern Grenadines. It is just a matter of having the right persons involved,” Whyte said when asked if he thinks now is the right time for him to take the plunge.

“Persons say that NDP is unbeatable. I don’t think so. Snagg didn’t beat them but he proved that they can be beaten,” he said.

“People in the Grenadines, you have to earn their trust. And you earn their trust over a period of time, and I think earning the people’s trust will be biggest task for anyone running on a ULP ticket.”

Abdon Whyte's father, deceased Customs Guard, Othneil Whyte. (Internet photo)
Abdon Whyte’s father, deceased Customs Guard, Othneil Whyte. (Internet photo)

But Whyte has been very vocal about and often critical of the government’s handling of the incident in which his father died.

Police have said that Othneil “Money Man” Whyte drowned during an incident in which Venezuelans aboard a boat reportedly opened fire on the Customs guard and a local police officer.

Three Venezuelans were shot and killed and another was injured during the incident.

On Sept. 19, 2012, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Colin Williams ended attempted murder and attempted kidnapping charges against four of the Venezuelans, in addition to Customs violation charges against the captain of their vessel — “El Amigo Fay”.

The men then returned to Venezuela even as a coroner’s inquest was expected into Whyte’s death.

That inquest began more than a year after the incident, and was suspended indefinitely, pending the return of the Venezuelans to testify.

Whyte said the incident has “not necessarily” affected his view of the ULP.

“Persons are put in positions to do their jobs. I could say it (the fallout from the incident) affected persons perception of which party I am actually supporting and who I am actually supporting,” he told I-Witness News.

“I really don’t like the way the situation was handled, and I still don’t like how it is being handled and I think it needs some sort of closure quickly…” he further said.

“I personally didn’t like how the Director of Public Prosecution handled the entire issue, releasing the Venezuelans to go back. He said it was going to be easy for them to come back, but I think it is impossible.

“Persons blame a lot of people but I blame him (the DPP). His post is an independent position and I am blaming him for us not having any closure, because I think he just did everything backwards.

“So, persons may want to point fingers all over the place, but I believe that if you are put in a position to do a job, you should do that job and if it is not done, you should be blamed, you should be held responsible,” Whyte further told I-Witness News.

“And I hold him totally responsible for us not having closure in this whole matter, because he said boldly that nobody can tell him what to do. And I believe him,” Whyte said laughing.

“I believe that nobody can tell him what to do, and if nobody can tell him what to do, it means that he should be blamed, or he should be held responsible for what is taking place now, and for my family not having any closure,” he further told I-Witness News.

And almost two year after the death of his father, Whyte said it is still “difficult” for his family.

“Our father raised us very, very tough and I think because of that it doesn’t show. But it has been very difficult, very difficult for my mom. And I was really hoping and praying that when the coroner’s inquest started last year that there would have been some sort of closure. And after the postponement of it, who know when it is going to re-start?” Whyte told I-Witness News.

7 replies on “Son of Customs Guard who died in Union Island incident eyes politics”

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    So tell me this. Abdon, your father died. No one seems to know what went down. Venezuelans were on a boat depending, with guns, what the authorities later told us is soap powder. The Venezuelans were not charged and were sent home by the government’s DPP. If they were charged nothing came of it (you cannot separate Colin from Ralph). Well young man it is your right to support or run for whatever party you choose but if you cannot see that the justice will not be done for your dad in this current dispensation then you are totally blind. An independent DPP yu said? You really cannot be serious. While it might be nice to put on a face that demonstrate character and maturity for the political scene. Don’t forget your father died under same circumstances. The PM at his funeral promised so much to your family and I believe he hasn’t kept to his promises. You and the other hand is hoping to enter a race with a bunch of people who doesn’t give a damn about you. Your Dad, as much labour as he was, is probably rolling in his grave by the crap coming out of your mouth.

  2. I think he might be going into politics to find out what happened to his father, because I don’t think anyone in their right mind would believe that the DPP is independent. If I were him I would wait until Ralph is gone because the ULP right now is a sinking ship and a bunch of people will be seeing jail cells and under investigations when they are out of office.

    Remember your father died for soap powder, but like I say all hands on deck. But you have to know when to join and trust me, now is not the time.

  3. Vanrick D. Willams says:

    Be careful of what comes out of your mouth my brother… Only captains go down with sinking ships… I do have political ambitions also but in a country plagued with victimization, it’s best to keep your political affiliation to yourself…

  4. diamondtuff says:

    2 things: the first is addressed to the author of this article,its written here that there is a view that since Mr. Snagg lost at the polls 3 times then the next electionsi could be the right time to usher in Mr. whyte,well the question here is whose view is this,is it Mr. Whyte’s or the people of the southern Grenadines? and the other thing now to Mr.Whyte, the office of the DPP can be considered a political appointment though the office is an independent one.please use your university experience and all the common sense you possess and tell me how you going to separate appointee from employer?

  5. Grenadines Observer says:

    “People in the Grenadines, you have to earn their trust. And you earn their trust over a period of time, and I think earning the people’s trust will be biggest task for anyone running on a ULP ticket.”



    1. Keeping it Real says:

      Grenadines Observer it seems like you have a personal agenda and i am going to come out in the defense of MRr Whyte. Kenton needs to do an investigation into the internal runnings of the Union Island Secondary. Mr Whyte as far as i know has stood up for the students of that school when many decided not to. Why dont you talk about the issues that he has been trying to address over the years. You have a principal who has locked-up the female bathroom and supports males and females using the same bathroom for more than 2 years now, she fought against the introduction of accounts and physics, uses mid century methods to discipline students (publicly flogging students on the school’s compound by the police).Should i continue? close to 15 students left the school in the past 2 years because of pregnancy, CSEC pass rate has dropped by 25%, there is a break down of discipline because the principal gives all the rights to the students, the way forward for the school is unknown and all she is concerned with is causing mischief and comess. I wish you all the best Mr Whyte if and when you chose to enter active politics as you have proven that you are willing to stand up and fight for our young ones when other wont. I wont be surprise if its not the principal or one of her hypocrites that is posing as Grenadines Observer!!!!!!

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