By E. Glenford Prescott
Leader of the Unity Labour Party Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves sees nothing wrong in addressing his critics as “Internet Crazies” or a “wutliss (worthless) dutty dawg (dog)”, even as he has been criticised for what some have described as the use of degrading language in response to his opponents.
“Internet crazies”, one of his latest coinages, is used to describe persons who use social media and the Internet, generally, to express their opposition to Gonsalves.
Gonsalves was asked in a recent exclusive interview with I-Witness News to explain his reasons for addressing persons as he has done.
“I am not in any way disturbed by the persons who would oppose, but it has a small group of people who spew the divisiveness and defamation on an on-going basis and from the time you scan through the article, it’s just an on-going tirade. Now, they are completely mad. I am not saying certifiable mad; … not to be committed to any asylum or anything like that, but just mad in the way we use madness in our ordinary parlance,” he said.
They are just irrational. It’s a kind of irrationality that would lead you to think that on this subject they are completely crazy.”
Gonsalves has been accused of being a major contributor to the divisive nature of local politics, with some of his critics accusing him of fuelling the divide through some of his comments on the rostrum or the airwaves, an accusation that he vehemently denies.
“Anybody who will hear me when I speak, ninety per cent of what I speak about is on policy issues … I have a storehouse of language … from the vernacular and I’m able to use them in a way which will make people laugh and people repeat them and they are said for humour and to pinpoint sets of circumstances,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves was asked to explain his description of pharmacist and one-time supporter Mathew Thomas as a “wutliss dutty dawg” and commentator Bassy Alexander as an “NDP dawg”.
He responded by saying he was not sure which comments were being referred to in the case of Thomas.
But regarding Alexander, he said:
“The one that Bassy spoke about in 2005 when I said at a winding up rally on a Saturday night, I say what Bassy had been saying — he had been pretending as if he was independent and all of a sudden he is spewing this bile against Ralph, and I say this is what you would call a dirty dog.”
Gonsalves was reminded that he actually said and “NDP dawg”.
“Yes, an NDP dawg — D-A-W-G. But that would be something said in an ordinary parlance,” Gonsalves explained.
When further reminded about his comments about Thomas, Gonsalves spoke instead of comments Thomas made on radio, which Gonsalves says are defamatory of him.
“I’ll tell you something, Mathew Thomas has defamed me several times on radio and I have only sued him twice,” Gonsalves said.
Asked if he thinks his comments were justified, Gonsalves, seemingly annoyed, responded:
“Mathew has defamed me on several occasions with outright falsehoods and I have sued him twice.”
Gonsalves has accused persons with “a hate Ralph agenda” of being party to the divisive nature of politics in SVG, but said he believes Vincentians are generally a loving and forgiving people.
He also said he does not think that politics in SVG today is as divisive as in the late 60s and early 70s under the late Ebenezer Joshua and Milton Cato.
“What magnifies our divisiveness now is social media and talk radio,” Gonsalves said.