Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he would still feel safe if he did not have 24-hour security.
“I will feel [safe] because the crime which we have is episodic and not generalised,” he said on radio on Monday, two days after the wife of one of his Cabinet ministers was robbed outside her home while holding her child.
But asked if he would drop his security for a week to show his confidence that crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not as bad as some make it out to be, Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said:
“Let me ask you something. Why do you think that leaders get security? Because the number of persons who want to injure me, not because of any problem with security but they hate me on the basis of politics. Some. There are some crazies who, when they get up on mornings, all they are concerned about, what can I do today to harm Ralph.
“And the point is this at a personal level, Ralph Gonsalves, I don’t worry about that but I represent the country and I represent the majority of the people — I represent the country but I was voted in by the majority of the people in this country and if somebody takes out the prime minister or injures him, you injure the body politic, you injure the democratic right of all of the persons.”
Gonsalves was asked what he has to say to the “average citizen” who is even more concerned about crime after the robbery of the minister’s wife.
The prime minister said: “What rational persons will say is that it is a bad thing, a terrible thing, which happened, but the good Lord works in mysterious ways and that we catch seven out of the eight and that nobody got physically injured.
“In other words, you take an objective and measured view of the matter and you make sure as I say all the time, have prudence. Be careful.”
Gonsalves didn’t comment on whether there had been any threats against him recently, saying if that is the case he would not say.
It was, however, noted that he has done so before.
“The last occasions when I did it, and I did it with all honesty because those were the reports, there are persons, they all got cynical. I said, ok, you know what, I will just keep those things quiet and I deal with them. You learn from being too open.”
Speaking at a press conference earlier this month, Gonsalves noted, amidst the claims of increasing crime in SVG, that some persons would note that he has a personal security detail.
“Well, you may not like it. I happen to name prime minister and the people who vote for me, they expect that I be properly protected to do the job, which they elect me to do. That’s the reality and I don’t apologise for that,” Gonsalves said.
On Saturday, around 9 p.m., Reisha Twana Browne-Caesar, a 39-year-old doctor who is wife of Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, was robbed by two masked men outside her house in Cedars.
Police said on Monday that the men, who were armed with a gun and a knife, relieved Caesar-Browne of her handbag containing, among other things, cash, cellular phone and other electronic gadgets.
Eight persons are in custody and a ninth is on the run in connection with the crime, police said.
An information technology expert who learnt of the crime during its early stages assisted police in tracking the device, which led to a house in East Kingstown.
Since then, eight men have been arrested and a ninth is on the run.
iWitness News understands that with the arrest, police may have broken up a criminal ring and police believe that the persons involved are involved in other crimes.