Gonsalves received Ecuador's highest civilian award during the visit. (IWN photo)
Gonsalves received Ecuador’s highest civilian award during the visit. (IWN photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has defended his decision to make an official visit to Ecuador, saying that the country is emerging as one of the progressive lights in Latin America

He noted that the United States and the European Union have relations with Ecuador, and criticised Vincentians who seem to think that if he wants to ask Quito for something, he should make a telephone call.

Gonsalves earlier this month led a five-member delegation on a official visit to Ecuador.

The other members of the delegation were Gonsalves’ wife, Eloise Gonsalves, his private secretary Angie Williams Jackson, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sen. Camillo Gonsalves, Kingstown’s ambassador to Venezuela Andreas Wickham, and Gareth Bynoe of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Gonsalves said St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Ecuador began developing strong ties after President Raphael Corea came to office in 2007.

He said that before then, what SVG knew of Ecuador was that Quito and Washington were trying to subvert the region’s banana regime.

The United States was asking for the reduction of preferences to the point of elimination, where we are now, Gonsalves said.

He, however, said that the nation cannot say that it will not have relations with Ecuador because Washington fought the region on the banana matter.

In a modern sets of relationships, you see what benefits can come to your country from certain relationship, Gonsalves said.

He noted that Ecuador will build four Bailey bridges to replace bridges destroyed in North Leeward during the extreme weather last December.

“Now this is a tremendous gift,” Gonsalves said, noting that the bridges will cost US4.3 million.

A team from Ecuador was expected to arrive in St. Vincent last week for a 10-day visit, with September as the targeted commencement for re-construction of the bridges.

Gonsalves said that even if the trip to Ecuador were considered in financial terms, it would have been worth it.

He said his government paid for delegation to travel to and from Trinidad and Corea provided a jet for travel between Trinidad and Ecuador.

Critics of the trip are driven by ignorance, malice, or political stupidity, and nit-pick about who the Prime Minister has on the delegation, Gonsalves said.

He said that he decides who should comprise an official delegation. And while people can advise, that advice must be well informed, Gonsalves further said, adding that when he speaks like that, people get offended.

He said he saw and heard comments that the trip was a joyride and cost the country a lot of money.

Persons must stop this kind of behaviour, Gonsalves said, adding that administrators of website must “lock down” such discussions.

3 replies on “PM responds to critics, defends decision to visit Ecuador”

  1. When in public office, one should not only avoid venality but one must also avoid the appearance of venality.
    Some may wish to argue that taking your wife and son on a state visit to a country to which St. Vincent has no meaningful links may smack of venality.
    Maybe I am wrong in which case I will freely admit it, however it is the lack of transparency that bothers me.
    Maybe there is a plan to which we are not privy; in which case this would be a good time to reveal said plan.

    Also, I don’t care much for talk of restricting the public from airing their opinions. That leads to a dark and dangerous path. I don’t live in SVG so I am relatively free from recriminations but there are others who are not so lucky.

    People do however play into his hand when they come on to relatively anonymous sites and propagate personal slurs and malice’s, yet you Mr. Gonsalves must learn to rise above this and not concern yourself with such minutiae. Sensible people will judge you by your actions. Just ensure that those actions are virtuous.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti Gonsalves or anti ULP, and I am certainly not pro of anti NDP. In fact, I both know and like Mr. Gonsalves on a personal level, I just think we need stronger governance.

  2. A well deserved trip wat is alyo problem?. If a PM of another country can look out for the best interest of banana farmers and their workers in Ecuador, by crippling the competition(the banana industry in SVG), i’m sure the people of Ecuador would want him to be their President. SVG had two Minister of Foreign Affairs, Straker and Slater, for 12yrs, can someone please let me know which of those two boarded flights to rep. SVG as FM and how often. Look out for the real world birthday tour next month, a release will say ‘delegation of 3 leaving SVG’ but that ‘delegation’ at destination will be more than double, or maybe he run out of places by now.

  3. Peter Binose says:

    There was absolutely no reason whatsoever to take a whole team of people on this trip. The foreign minister and one other, or the PM and one other, it was a gross misuse of public funds in doing so. The man actually thinks he is right and that we have no right to question he. The fact that he works for us is forgotten, by him, and also some of his supporters.

    My message to him is stop spending the money that we do not have, the country is bankrupt. There can be no excuses or reasons at all for you to continue travelling and spending the way that you do.

    Whatever the reason for going to Ecuador, taking all those people to represent a tiny island state was totally unnecessary.

    Like the Queen and the British Prime Minister, all such presents given or awarded to our prime minister should be held as the property of the state, only yours to use during your lifetime. Remember its us that picked up the tab, so its us that own the goodies.

    Of course if he wasn’t so fat the chain would have been half the size.

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