NEW YORK — St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves Sunday presented his embattled, newly-appointed Deputy New York Consul General Sehon Marshall to nationals residing here.
Marshall, who officially assumed office last week, has been dogged by controversial remarks he made on a radio station in Kingstown in August regarding the jobs held by some Vincentians in the United States.
Marshall later apologised for the remarks that some nationals were employed to be “baby-sitters and dog-walkers” and Prime Minister urged nationals at the packed town hall meeting there to “go past it (the controversy)”.
“There are some people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines infused with the body of colonial ideas who think the only people who should represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines abroad are those who came for a particular background and a particular class,” he said, reminding the meeting that Marshall, a former teacher, “has come from the bowels of the poor in Chateaubelair,” a town along the north western coast of mainland St. Vincent.
He said the new diplomat, a former talk show host, had made an error in his statement, which he said “did not constitute a hanging offence”.
“And I reflected on the matter and applied my heart to wisdom and concluded that he is worthy to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I will not allow them (critics) to bring down a young man from a humble family, who, by dint of God’s gifts, which he embraced and developed, and they want to bring him down solely because of partisan politics,” Gonsalves told nationals.
In his address, Marshall said he was pleased to “have been chosen by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be a consular representative here in New York; humility in the acknowledgment of the tremendous responsibility this opportunity offers to be of service to this community of Vincentians.
“I take this opportunity to thank the prime minister for reposing such confidence in me, and I assure him that his faith [in me] will not be disappointed as I pledge to perform my duties with the greatest ideals of service,” Marshall said.
Marshall replaces Edson Augustus, whom the government recalled earlier this year after learning that the diplomat had taken monies from persons in the United States and promised to help them to obtain US permanent resident cards.