Prime MInsiter Ralph Gonsalves, left, and his Agriculture Minister, Saboto Caesar. (iWN photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves cannot feel comfortable with the Jan. 31 pronouncement in Parliament, by Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, that the head of government has no legal or moral authority to speak for him at anytime or any place within St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

So says former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, who, like Gonsalves, has headed a one-seat majority government.

Caesar, a two-term Member of Parliament for South Central Windward made the statement as the government tried to get House Speaker Jomo Thomas to allow debate on a motion of confidence, rather than on the motion of no confidence brought by the opposition.

Political observers have been trying to pick apart the comments by Caesar, who, until recently, was widely seen as being a possible replacement for Gonsalves as head of the Unity Labour Party and the government.

However, Caesar has been eclipsed by the prime minister’s son, Camillo Gonsalves, who was made Minister of Finance last November, political observers say.

Commenting on Boom FM on Wednesday about Caesar’s comment, Sir James, who retired from electoral politics in October 2000, noted that the prime minister has attempted to explain Caesar’s comments.

Sir James, who is founder of the New Democratic Party, which is the parliamentary opposition, said that the prime minister seems to be attempting to make explanations on everyone’s behalf.

“And if you heard the voice, you can see that Saboto was deeply concerned. He wanted to assert his right to vote. Nobody could anticipate how he would vote. You could never anticipate what people will do until they do it. Do not speculate and I will not engage in speculation,” Sir James said when asked what he thought might have been the outcome had the no confidence motion gone to a vote.

Former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell speaking at an event in Kingstown last October. (iWN photo)

He, however, said that he is mindful of the statement that all that tyranny needs to establish a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

“So when you are scared [into] silence, it means that you are, again, imposing your power…

“I, and I think a lot of people in this country, know the prime minister. And I am sure the prime minister is not happy with that position of Saboto, and him, for the first time, saying you cannot speak for me. Now, that is a dangerous thing and I do not know if the prime minister would forgive him.”

The prime minister has said that Caesar’s comments were in response to a question by the speaker regarding a separation vote on whether the House should allow debate on the motion of no confidence.

The speaker said that he had anticipated what the outcome would have been since the prime minister had said two days earlier, on Jan. 29, that his eight members would side with the government.

It was at this point that Caesar said that the prime minister could not speak for him.

Sir James said:

“Listen, the prime minister, you know, in all his explanations, he reminds me as though he is giving everybody a dose of aromatherapy. He throw a big cloud over you and you can’t see the woods from the trees. I respect the prime minister’s capacity and ability, but all I can say is that all of this today is like he throwing an aroma over you so that you don’t focus on his son, Camillo.”

Since January, Camillo has been the centre of a sex scandal in which a model half his age has claimed that he cheated on his wife with her in a years-long relationship that ended in 2016.

Sir James said that had the no confidence motion been debated, it would have tested whether all of the government’s members are on board.

“And if you don’t want to go that road then it raises questions. … The point is, you have to test it to see. I am not going to engage in prophecy [about] what people want to do or ought to do… You have to test and make sure everybody is on board,” he said.

10 replies on “Saboto’s statement must make PM uncomfortable — Sir James”

  1. My respect for Sir James has very much increased for the last months. I used to believe he was out to belittle the NDP leadership but now he is coming out and commenting on questionable actions of the government. We can all see that the Boy Wonder is being forced down our throats whether we like it or not. Sure many ULP zombies will do anything Plantation boss Ralph tells them to do, but we can all hope there is an increasing number of people that are able to think for themselves. Although the majority of ULP supporters clearly want Sabota Caesar, the establishment is attempting to cause him to fade into unimportant pages of ULP history until a decade from now no one will even remember Saboto Caesar. That is too bad because Saboto is one of the few in the ULP that has the ability to come up with possible solutions to our problems,that, are so great it will take a real leader to turn things around.
    The recent budget has a few very tiny good changes but also has more negative than positive. It does not reduce the public service, (the highest in the Caribbean) It puts even higher taxes on tourists so that we can even bite harder the hand that feeds us, and there is nothing for farmers. The tax deduction for the lower middle class is taken back by the recently increased taxes on food and most all government fees, not to mention all the new taxes over the last years such as bottle tax, environmental tax and other new taxes.

    Mere platitude from Dr Salt, the Boy Wonder and the rest of the royal elite.

    1. LostPet I am not sure he was spiteing the NDP, I think he was spiteing Arnhim Eustace. Now Arnhim is not the leader Mitchell embraces Friday who is a Grenadines man like Mitchell.

      All these bigheaded leaders have a streek of spite in them. Of course the worst ever is Ralph Gonsalves.

      David I am still considering if you have the right to make such comments, these are Vincentian matters.

  2. It is incredible to hear, after some 200 years of low growth and economic stagnation, that there are people like you naive enough believe that, “Saboto is one of the few in the ULP that has the ability to come up with possible solutions to our problems,that, are so great it will take a real leader to turn things around.”

    Jesus Christ Himself could not turn things around because there is nothing to turn except ourselves as we go endlessly in circles in search of a non-existent promised land in a place and with people with so little promise.

    Even Jomo Thomas concedes that we will be a have not country for decades, which I would amend to centuries unless, of course, there is a massive energy or mineral find down the road.

    What is so hard to understand about my assertion (secretly or privately held by most educated people, including at the highest ranks of leadership) that St. Vincent Island has little potential for development, the truth of which is revealed by the fact that many countries that were far poorer than us 200 years ago have leaped to high income status because of the development of resources we just don’t have.

    What is so hard for you to understand about that?

  3. What is hard to understand is your permanent state of pessimism that has clouded your judgment to the extent that I rarely want to read your contributions for fearing that it may be infectious.

  4. The issue between Saboto and Camille can easily be solved by an appearance of joint leadership aka Cde Bernard Coard and Maurice Bishop style.

    1. Problem is Socialist, Coard had Bishop shot to death by a firing squad and Saboto would be the one ear marked for elimination as the dynasty outsider.

      Soboto has been well and truly shafted, he is far more intelligent than Camillo and if he had the same opportunities he would be years in front of Camillo.

      I thought Saboto was a decent man but I am having my doubts now seeing as he has gone along with the nasty behaviour of the dynastical regime.

  5. Very Good comment and I certainly agree with just about everything. What I do not agree with is that we do not have resources. We have abundant resources. Not just soils, fish and minerals. If we were to think creatively we can even say unemployed people are a resource. They are free to be trained for needed skills. The problem is that we are a lazy people. We are lazy because of the conditions cause us to be so. We are not genetically any different than any other peoples . The only entity that can change the lazy attitude and certain other societal problems is government; not church, not weather, not wealthy investors alone.
    The main reason I wrote what I wrote is because of HOPE. It is almost the same as saying “he without vision shall parish”. I am absolutely positive that it is possible for tremendous change for the better At present, as you will admit, we have leadership that is only concerned in making government more wealthy and powerful without doing anything to enhance an atmosphere of opportunity that will improve the lives of the average people. Saint Vincent could be a far better place. I did not say it will be easy, nor will it happen overnight. A great leader can cause positive change to be seen within a few years, and to be felt shortly after a decade.
    Obviously taxes, Customs Duties and Governmental fees have to be greatly reduced before any meaningful investment will even think about coming here. These initial needed steps will certainly not happen with the current government.
    Leadership requires taking initiative and used to mean being out in front, i.e. leading. The current Government of SVG are nothing more than parasites helping themselves to a life of privilege, the monies and women of this land. They tell the private sector to do all the leading so that the government can come and take credit for it.

    1. LostPet your loyalty is commended but you are quite wrong there is no hope whatsoever as long as the Gonsalves dynasty is in power. The longer they are there the longer it will take to just recover from what they have managed to do to the minds of the people. The bad name SVG now has for rape and crime, boat robberies, will take perhaps generations to remove from the minds of tourists, visitors and investors. All those people in the UK, EU and US who lost life savings at Buccament, we can directly lay that at the door of state mismanagement as well, those people and their children and grandchildren will remember that forever.
      Everyone will remember SVG as a group of robbers, thieves and rapists, somewhere to steer clear of.

  6. The PM is known to approach the podium with his crafty smile and with that; releases his plot.
    Do you really think that if the PM’s intention was to have his son be the Leader of the ULP, he would have recommended his silence on the Yugge/Camillo saga?
    I will not be surprised if the Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar is being groomed for that role, having the Minister of Finance as his right hand. The PM admires people with tenacity like himself. He, our PM is motivated by challenges.

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