(Editor’s Note: Hans King, press secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has circulated to the media the following letter to the Editor of Caribbean News Now! It is in response to this article — “St Vincent PM booed out of own constituency“. Please scroll for an I-Witness News video of the booing incident inside the church.
July 25, 2014
Caribbean News Now
Jerry George misinforms on booing at funeral service
Your news story dated Thursday July 24, 2014, under the bold caption: “St. Vincent PM booed out of own constituency” is riddled with misinformation, misrepresentation, and falsehoods. Your reliance on a report from Jerry George, a well-known supporter of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and a wild, persistent critic of Ralph Gonsalves, does an immense disservice to your readers. Let us state the facts:
- Prime Minister Gonsalves attended the funeral of well-known NDP radio propagandist Elwardo Lynch which was held at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Georgetown, a town in the North Central Windward Constituency which he has represented in Parliament for 20 years since 1994.
- The Prime Minister was personally invited by Lynch’s family to attend the funeral and to deliver a tribute. This invitation was issued because the family knew that the Prime Minister and Lynch had cordial relations going back almost 40 years, despite their controversies in the eleven-year stint of Lynch on NICE Radio as the NDP Spokesperson between 2001 and 2012.
- The funeral was a national event which comprised mainly supporters of the Opposition from all over St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The bulk of the congregation was well-behaved, but a tiny minority in the back of one section of the church booed the Prime Minister. This minority did not include the constituents of Dr. Gonsalves’ North Central Windward Constituency. In the 2001, 2005, and 2010 elections, Dr. Gonsalves won his seat with 83 percent of the vote. Not even the most ambitious NDP fanatic considers that Ralph will not win by a similar size vote next time!
- For over one week the NDP spokespersons on radio in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were calling on their supporters to boo the Prime Minister at the funeral. In this they were supported by the NDP’s “internet crazies” on social media. They orchestrated, planned and executed this wholly malignant behaviour.
- Despite the threats of boos, and more, the Prime Minister went to the funeral as requested by the Lynch family.
- The Prime Minister actually spoke at the funeral, despite the boos, even though he did not deliver his short prepared tribute. The tribute was read by him later that day on radio and subsequently published in a newspaper and on the internet.
The falsehoods of George’s report on which you relied can be seen from the following:
(i) The Prime Minister was not “literally booed out of his constituency”. Indeed, in the aisle of the church, dozens of supporters hugged, kissed, and “mobbed” the Prime Minister.
(ii) The Prime Minister was not “literally surrounded by security”; and he was not “put into his car” by them. The Prime Minister actually mingled with people inside and outside the church and went into the vehicle by himself, as is normal.
(iii) The Prime Minister never sued Lynch on three times as George alleges. He sued Lynch on one occasion and obtained judgement against him and the radio station. The radio station paid the judgment debt, not Lynch. Ralph Gonsalves has stated repeatedly that he sued Lynch on that one occasion because Lynch involved Ralph’s elderly mother and young daughter in his defamatory utterances.
(iv) The Prime Minister was not “stunned by the reaction” as alleged by George. Indeed, the video footage showed the Prime Minister in a calm, dignified disposition and manner. He was an oasis of calm in a desert of unruly behaviour by a minority of persons in the church. The Prime Minister greeted, hugged, and waved to cross-sections of the congregants.
The unvarnished truth is that the opposition NDP has suffered a major political setback in its organising of the unruly, criminal conduct in the House of God and in its defence afterwards of that which cannot be defended. Actually, it is a criminal offence to disrupt a church service punishable by two years in jail. This minority of unruly NDP supporters left the church in an awful state.
The NDP leadership with their backs to the wall are busy criticising almost everybody who has denounced the unruly, disruptive behaviour in the church and the failure or refusal of opposition leader, Arnhim Eustace, to get up and seek to calm his unruly supporters who came substantially from his East Kingstown constituency.
The outspoken condemnation of the unruly, disruptive behaviour of the NDP supports has come from the following among other persons: Parnel Campbell, Q.C., member of the NDP and former Attorney General in three NDP governments; Father George, a distinguished and elderly priest in the Roman Catholic Church; Pastor Clarke of the Pentecostal Church; “Too Cool” Chris, a radio personality on Hot 97, who normally supports the NDP; and the Editor of the esteemed “Searchlight Newspaper”. Even a prospective NDP candidate, Dr. Jules Ferdinand, has labelled the unruly conduct of the minority of persons at the funeral service, as “inexcusable”. Lynch’s accomplished daughter has also expressed her disgust at this unruly minority in the church.
The NDP leadership are also criticising vehemently Sir James Mitchell, founder of the NDP and former four-term Prime Minister, for adverse comments which he made publicly in his tribute to Lynch at the funeral.
So, your report from Jerry George is largely propaganda stuffed with untruths, half-truths, and glaring factual omissions. Most of all, be assured the NDP is taking a beating on this issue. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated into turning Caribbean News Now! into an unreliable, propaganda on-line site.
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
of St. Vincent and the Grenadines