Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday. (iWN file photos)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is not willing to join with the opposition to tackle the nation’s crime problem.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, made his position clear on Boom FM on Monday, two days after the spouse of a Cabinet member was robbed outside their home.

The crime also took place on a day when Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, led supporters of his New Democratic Party in a walk from Georgetown to Kingstown to highlight the issue of high crime and joblessness in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The previous week, he led a walk from Fitz Hughes to Kingstown.

In his radio comments on Monday, Gonsalves said:

“Lemme ask you this: An opposition which addresses crime in an opportunistic way, how could you have a commonality of discussion with that?” Gonsalves said.

“Once, I had a discussion with the former leader of the opposition [Arnhim Eustace] on a matter of national security between he, the former attorney general and myself and I explained to him the issue. I said, ‘This is a matter of national security. This is being given to you in confidence.’ I said, ‘I am not going to ask you to take the oath of secrecy.’ He said, ‘Fine’, and he accept that and everything. And he left that and went to the radio station and talk everything,” Gonsalves said of Eustace, who demitted office in November 2016, but did not call the East Kingstown parliamentary representative by name.

The robbery of the minister’s wife took place on a day when Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday (in cap) led a walk against high crime and joblessness.

It was noted to Gonsalves that the country has a new opposition leader – Godwin Friday, Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines, who took up the post in November 2016.

“But the point is, I do not have the trust in the current leader of the opposition,” he said.

“… absolutely not!” the prime minister said.

“I don’t! I don’t! Because he is being opportunistic about is and he is suggesting, he is making statements which are plain wrong…  erroneous to the nth degree. So if persons like that want to politicise crime, in the same way you can’t politicise the worship of God. God does not recognise NDP or ULP. You think the criminal going about asking whether a person is NDP or ULP? There are some criminals who would rob from their mothers as a matter of choice, greed, wickedness in their mind. You know that too.”

Gonsalves was speaking two days after two masked men, armed with a knife and a gun, robbed Reisha Twana Browne-Caesar, 39, wife of Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar outside her house at 9 p.m.

Mrs Caesar was at the time holding their only child.

Eight persons are in custody in connection with the crime and a ninth is on the run, police say.

The prime minister said the minister can be correct if he says there is fearmongering on the issue of crime and also says there is a problem of crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“… The question is this, in relation to crime, every society, every organised society since the dawn of civilisation, has a problem with crime; every single society.

“The question is this: whether the extent of criminal activity is tolerable within all reasonable bounds and what are the mechanisms you have in place to deal with it,” Gonsalves said.

10 replies on “PM not willing to join with opposition to fight crime”

  1. Considering source, a hollow justification for not wanting to connect on any level with the opposition on the current crime situation.

  2. A module on anger management and conflict resolution should be introduced in all schools throughout Saint Vincent and the Grenadines if we are to reduce some of these violent crime. A lot of these violent crimes could be avoided of young people are thought how defuse and avoid conflict.

    Many of these crimes are driven by idleness. When people have nothing do they drink alcohol. In the process previous conflict resonates, which fuel anger and hatred. Another challenge is gang feud relating to the battle for turf, recognition and identity.

    The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force should work to implement the US base Gang Resistance and Education Training ( GREAT) Program. Similar to the DARE the GREAT Program seeks to teach youths to resist violence and gang activity.

  3. I do not agree the opposition highlighting crime awareness id ” opportunistic “.
    After jobs / economy , crime is 2nd on the list for most important to the country and its citizens . High crime is real and prevalent ……. period.
    your inability to accept responsibility and accountability is what stands in the way of us effectively solving or controlling this serious problem.

    1. I agree AL. All the PM is doing now is passing on responsibility to people and organizations who are not policy makers and making distracting remarks. it took too long to deal with the minivan problems of loud and vulgar music and now the issue of the LGBT community. A simple case of repealing or amending laws concerning rights and discrimination, but he wants to pass it on to the church. He is the one not to be trusted.

      I think that he is subtly trying to discredit the church to gain authority as PM, so that they cannot call him to account for any wrong-doing, in light of the fact of recent abuse scandals and questionable scenarios in SVG. It is all Political Science and Mastery. BUT…God is not sleeping!

      The only one who will “ride on in Majesty” is the Lord, Jesus Christ!

      The next election is Dr Friday’s win…the country needs to breathe! The smell of stale ULP air is ascending the portals of heaven and God will intervene to vindicate the cry of Vincentians! The people of God are praying for a release from greed and arrogance. God will show His Hand in the next Election, it will be spell-binding, ULP will be smashed and smitten! Their efforts to secure another victory will be mangled, God will confuse the situation.

      NDP get ready!!!

      Your victory is sealed!

  4. Ralph, will it hurt to try?

    Administer the Oath if necessary (with consequences) but something must be done and soon.

    Nothing beats a failure but a trial.

    SVG needs all hands on deck to reduce crime etc.

  5. Leaders in power for a long time often shoot themselves in the foot. “The Comrade” seems to be no exception. He comes across as being clueless regarding the grave situation of crime in “The Land of the Blessed.”
    Earlier in the year, the Jamaician professor participating on the conference on crime, stressed using a graph, that SVG was on the border of critical pharse in its history. The whole tone on the presentation was one of serious concern. He was speaking as an academic and from experience, being from Jamaica.

    Yet his presentation seemed to have fell on deaf ears. Time after time, “The Comrade” made all kind of statements that gave the impression that he was not capable of performing the duties that is required of the an official with national security porfolio. Who wouldn’t fearfull of the current security situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines? Let’s go back to Glen Jackson’s brutual passing (murder), which was so alarming and the time, and the break in at The Medical College. Since then, these acts are now common place, rather than occasional.

    The situation is grave: collective security, for surety. Hope peace will return to this land, “The Land of the Blessed”

  6. Mr PM it’s not about you only, it’s about this crime that’s getting out control. How much worst this thing has to get before you shallow your pride and all hands on deck as the previous writer said come together and stomp this crime out . The S.V.G that I once used to know is long gone.

  7. The PM should look in the mirror and tell us who the most opportunistic politician in SVG history is. He sees everything as politics and that is why we are a divided people and a failing divided nation. He should instead put aside his opportunistic political attitude and start thinking of the welfare of the country and its people.
    We are so very far behind in development because he prides himself on dividing the country, primarily on political and economic grounds, rather than uniting it.

    1. That is all true. “A house divided cannot stand”. It is becoming very clear to me that Ralph Gonsalves very seriously lacks some of the most important leadership skills. the more the people get to know Dr Friday the lower Ralph Gonsalves will sink. Friday sees all Vincentians as one people and Gonsalves sees people only as tools for political opportunity.

  8. Totaly agree with all the above comments “when wud de people dem wake up from the sleep and slumber”? So sad that the only time the opposition and the government can get together is to sit in the house of parliament. When would Caribbean societies evolve from gutter politics and only for self-mentality the crime situation needs to be addressed by one and all. So, are you telling me if you support the government and they say go outside during a hurricane, you are going to do it because whatever the government says is always right? Vincentians are the scariest set of people in the entire world, always have to have someone else else think for them and are so afraid to make independent decisions for the benefit of the country we love or should love.

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