Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has appealed to political activists and citizens generally to tone down the rhetoric.
The call came during a press briefing this week, during which Gonsalves announced that he met recently with Reverend Stephen Ollivierre of National Reconciliation Committee and Bishop Calvert Leopold Friday of the Anglican Community, who visited him and Minister of National Reconciliation Maxwell Charles.
“We had a long discussion going into the evening and they really were looking for ways in which the political directorate in the government and the opposition can assist in seeing how much reconciliation we can effect,” Gonsalves said.
“Of course, I drew to their attention that the area which needs most reconciliation is at community levels where we have to live with one another as our neighbours,” said Gonsalves, who is also political leader of the ruling Unity Labour Party.
“Of course, we need reconciliation between and within churches too and we need reconciliation in workplaces and we need political reconciliation too.
“Of course political reconciliation doesn’t work well in a climate where the opposition announced that they are having non-cooperation,” he said in reference to a recent statement by MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, a vice-president of the opposition New Democratic Party.
Gonsalves said he told the clerics that he will speak publicly and ask ULP supporters “at the community level to be civil to persons, even those from the opposition who you know.
“Don’t war with them, please. Be civil also to people who are ULP supporters, be civil to people in your church and even to those who are outside of your church. Let us live better. And I want to ask everybody who is on the radio programmes, let’s tone down some of the invectives. Tone it down. I know you still have political competition and in a democracy you still talk about them, but you can talk about them in a manner which doesn’t get abusive of people on a personal sense.
“So I think that is important and I want to put out that message. You may use sharp language but the point about it is this, you don’t need to curse people even though you use robust language. You can at the same time be respectful of one another. And every single one of us has to try to do better in that regard, as citizens, as people in the community and in politics,” Gonsalves said.