Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is not interested in a bulletproof official vehicle even as a politician has outlined on radio how to “guarantee fatalities” in Gonsalves’ security convoy.
“I not interested in bulletproof vehicle, and, in so far as my security is concerned, I have been advised by those who provide it that I mustn’t comment on it,” Gonsalves said in response to a reporter’s question at a press briefing.
“But I will tell you this, I know that I am covered by the blood. I know that I am. And that’s why I do not fear anything,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security.
“The worst that can happen in these circumstances is that my demise is accelerated. But I have had a good run. I am almost at the three score and ten,” said Gonsalves, who turns 70 on Aug. 8.
“So if anybody think I have any sense of worry about these matters, they are fooling themselves. I am quite calm about these things, but I know that people in the country are very concerned. Right-thinking people, and naturally, persons who are closed to me, would be very concerned. But, as to myself, it matters me not, frankly,” the Prime Minister said.
Gonsalves had earlier read from a memo from state officials, containing what he said was the transcript of part of a Jan. 30 radio broadcast.
He said that during the Luzette King-hosted “Global Highlight” on NICE Radio that day, Kadmiel McFee, the SVG Green Party’s candidate for East St. George in the Dec. 9 general elections, outlined “’how to get the target’ — meaning me”.
Gonsalves quoted McFee as saying:
“And you look at the way they escort the Prime Minister in G7. In front of him, you have a massive bunch of police officers, another 12 to 13 in the back of the truck and another jeep behind him with 12 to 13.
“And you call that tactical policing? That’s not tactical policing. That’s a joke. Because I am not trying to incite something here, but if someone was after Ralph Gonsalves, they get him. They get him simply because all they have to do is aim for the target at the front with automatic and they guarantee fatalities in the same, and in the back, and they guarantee fatalities and what you got, you got Ralph Gonsalves in the so-called bulletproof soft-skin vehicle driving around now left on his own to wonder.”
Gonsalves said it is “completely false” that his police escort is so large.
“I just want the public, because you may not hear — here is somebody, who I have been advised was once a police officer, advising listeners ‘how to get him’, meaning me; ‘how to get the target’, meaning me, from behind and in front,” Gonsalves said.
“Of course, I don’t know where anybody get the idea that the vehicle is bulletproof,” he said, adding that he just wants the public to know the sort of things which are being said.
Gonsalves said some very unbelievable, crazy things are being said on social media about what is to be done to him, his family, and his property, “in terms of criminal activities against us and against other people too”.
He spoke of “fires and attempted fires”, adding, “And the people of this country can draw their own conclusions about what has taken place.”
He said the statements are not only being broadcast on social media, but also on a radio station that has a license.
“… in heaven’s name, how could this be responsible? How could this be responsible? And this is being spoken by someone, who I don’t know if he got 10 votes in an election.”
In the Dec. 9 general elections, McFee garnered 13 votes compared to 2,528 by Linton Lewis of the main opposition New Democratic Party and 3,135 to Camillo Gonsalves of the ruling Unity Labour Party.
The Prime Minister told the press conference that he was sorry that he had to speak about McFee’s comments “because it is not the gentleman I am so much concerned about, but this is where broadcasting has come?
“This is where political antipathy has come? St. Vincent and the Grenadines must be the freest country in the world, must be the freest country where anybody can get up and say anything that they want and that there are no consequences,” said Gonsalves who, at the same press conference, accused SVGTV of having a bias against him.
“And then that radio station (NICE Radio) would want to send the prime minister an apology about something else?” he told reporters and media audiences.
“I just want to tell the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I am doing my work for which you have elected me. I am just drawing to your attention because you may not have known about it.
“Let me hasten to say that none of this frightens me in any personal way, but right-thinking persons should be revolted against any political organisation which associates itself with persons who permit, who allow, who engender, this kind of garbage,” Gonsalves said.