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Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, left, and U.S. President, Donald Trump. (Photo: Getty Images)
Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, left, and U.S. President, Donald Trump. (Photo: Getty Images)
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Donald Trump could rise to the most powerful position in the United States and the world, but would not have survived the sifting that politicians in St. Vincent and the Grenadines go through, and, therefore, would not have become the nation’s prime minister.

That is the view of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves as expressed at a press conference on Monday.

His comments came as he was asked to comment on the rise of the far-right internationally and the implication for Caribbean nations, including SVG.

Over the past few years, right-wing governments have come to office in the United States, Brazil, The Philippines, and other capitals and right-wing politics is on the rise in a number of countries across the world.

“I could tell you this. Donald trump could not have been elected prime minister in St. Vincent and the Grenadines because we have a party system which sifts people, twist you inside out and there are people who would be saying — one or two people with money already tried to get themselves catapulted into office you know. But ordinary people twist them, sift them, and, finally, they say to themselves, ‘fool a talk but nah fool a listen’,” he said.

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Gonsalves, a leftist leader who says his Unity Labour Party administration is social democratic, said that the rise of the far right is cyclical, but it is a complicated thing to figure out why it arises in some countries and not in others.

According to Wikipedia, far-right politics includes but is not limited to aspects of authoritarianism, anti-communism and nativism

This political philosophy that claims that superior people should have greater rights than inferior people is often associated with the far right. 

The far right has historically favoured an elitist society based on its belief in the legitimacy of the rule of a supposed superior minority over the inferior masses.

Gonsalves said there are some general statements that one can make to understand the rise of the far right.

“Usually, a significant number of persons would feel that they are left out of a process, whether the process is globalisation, modern capitalism, monopoly capitalism, and they have a sense of grievance that there are no avenues proper for their own voice.

“And when it gets to leadership at a particular point in time, it erupts, but there has to be some material base for it.”

Gonsalves said that sometimes, ineffective government gives rise to the far right.

 “What I worry about in our own Caribbean context is the way in which right wing postulates are given currency by some persons who are quote-unquote educated.”

Among these “ring wing postulates”, Gonsalves mentioned, “‘Don’t worry about anything called solidarity. We must enthrone the individual as individual so issues of political parties are nonsense, we mustn’t have them. What we must have are individuals of brilliance and substances; individuals to rise up.’

“Some even talk about a no-party democracy,” he said.

“Well, we once had a no-party democracy. It’s called colonialism. Some people would want to take us back to that because solidarity prevents the enthronement of their interest; solidarity among working people and peasants and fisher folk.

“And then you have the same idea, ‘Don’t bother about trade unions. Trade unions only take your money, they don’t bother with you otherwise. Where you going with that for; trade unions’ time has passed.’”

The prime minister said these persons also denigrate their own.

“And they see nothing of value around them and they find something else somewhere to attach some value to. Sometimes, they may attach it to some abstraction. It may be a religious belief of some kind. It happens on the left too or the authoritarian left.”

Among the right wing leaders that have emerged recently is Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who won the presidency by a decisive margin.

He follows on the heels of left-wing leaders, Dilma Vana Rousseff who served from 2011 until her impeachment and removal from office in 2016, and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who has been changed amidst a wide-ranging corruption scandal.

Asked if the thinks the rise of the far right is also as a result of  “the failure of the left”, Gonsalves said:

“Well, the point is this, it depends on how you define on the left. And each country has its own history. I don’t want to get involved in each individual country and saying in Brazil why it is that the current president arose.”

He, however, said that Brazil, historically, had some “rightist tendencies”, adding that there was the “social democratic left” in the form of da Silva and Rousseff.

“It may well be that the programmes which were advanced by Dilma and the way they were organised politically that they allowed space for other ideas to come into the working people and get hold of them: wanting to have the strong man to emerge,” he said.

Gonsalves said that the nature of a party organisation could also help or hinder.

“It is very easy in a presidential system for a rich individual or popular musician, without any real party support base to emerge and people could manipulate such popular individual to come to office, to come to power. But you raise a very complicated issue. It’s an issue that should be discussed.”

Gonsalves said that in his 20 years as leader of the ULP so far, he always tells his colleagues “the gains which we have made are capable of reversal.

“And this is why you have to organise on the ground and you have to educate people about certain principles, including solidarity. If you do that and you have that message going all the time, I am hoping, I am making a contribution to this discussion in a full-length book but solidarity, in this case, among the working people,” he said.

6 replies on “Trump couldn’t become PM in St. Vincent – Gonsalves (+video)”

  1. There has never been any true social class or community solidarity in SVG. Neither had there been strong racial or ethnic solidarity. Labour union solidarity is also very weak. Even family solidarity is weak. Solidarity is moderately strong in some religious congregations but there is divisiveness in others. Solidarity among friends often turns to animosity for little good reason.

    The only true solidarity is political party solidarity which is exactly what the Comrade loves to see.

  2. The pm and Trump share quite a lot in common..they both tell a lot of lies is just one example. Trump would definitely win elections in Vincy but the pm is by far a bigger bullshitter than Trump and I can’t see the pm winning elections in the US.Trump is more honest overall than the pm.With Trump what you see is what you get.With the pm what you see may be an illusion.

  3. Ralph Gonsalves is supposed to have a high education in Government (Political Science). He of all people should not be using terms such as “far right” and “left”. For example: Socialism is considered “left” and Fascism is considered “right”, However; who was the leader of the “National Socialists” party in Germany in the 1930s? Yes, Adolph Hitler. Many of his socialist policies are still in effect in Germany today.
    Who is the founder of Fascism? Benito Mussolini founded the first Fascist party in 1919. Mussolini was a Socialist his entire life! This means all the biggest “far right” leaders have all been “far left”. Do not forget Barack Obama. The “Trans-Atlantic Partnership” agreement was the most fascist legislation ever proposed in the history of mankind. Does that make Obama and Hillary Clinton leftist or rightists?
    My point is that we need to stop using left and right paradigms because they make no sense. Even those that should know the difference continue to do so in order to make people believe that one group (those to the right) are evil racists and to the left are “good guys”. There is more truth in the opposite. We can even notice that Trump has not started any new wars, yet. Obama started wars in Mali, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Niger, etc… build more military bases than any of the last 5 presidents, and “leftists” are also supposed to be anti-war?. Obama funded African-American secondary Education less in 8 years than Trump did in his first 2 months in office, and Trump is now proposing over 1 BILLION DOLLARS more! (you will not hear that on the Corporate Media, especially CNN). Trump has an abrasive personality and has at the least destabilized Global International Trade, but if we are to listen to Jesus (instead of all the FAKE news)….”Know them by thier fruits”. Trump is far better than Obama. The US economy is on the verge of collapse, that is the fault of administrations going back decades, Obama is more guilty of the economic destruction than all previous presidents combined. He ran-up more debt than all presidents combined since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913!
    I do not like Trump. The US system is so bad that it is all but impossible to get a “good” president. If Hillary would have become President the world would have already gone to the dogs, if not experienced a Nuclear Holocaust. We are doomed no matter what. What we do not need are the “Far Right” Leftist Liberals to make it even worse than it should be.
    For all of Trump’s abrasiveness, There is no evidence that he has ever cheated at anything in his life, like the politicians in SVG do. Gonsalves is probably right, Trump could never become PM of SVG, not because of his personality but to become PM in SVG a candidate has to know how to cheat and fool the people into thinking you are going to make life better for them. Maybe promise to renovate Kingstown, craft a freedom of information act, build roads, create thousands of jobs, give out free building materials, free houses, and then blame something else when you break your promises. Borrow so much money that it cannot be paid-back even in over 100 years,…

  4. Vincentian please wake up these Men are very Evil , Godless, and very wicked these are of the same mind set they are of the same blood line the word of Jesus Christ let us know this how it shall be in the end check your prime minister linage check his blood line !

  5. Christian Nation island st Vincent who’s God is Jehovah Jesus Christ how did such a […] man came to rule over you how did this happen on your watch Christian brothers and sisters God is just not pleased with you; wake up!!

  6. Gonsalves, you don’t look like a white man (European). You look somewhat mexican or hispanic at best. You stand there grinning besides the enemy of Maduro, your friend and subsequently comparing yourself to him(that must be a great honor for you). I wonder what Nicolas Maduro thinks of that. Another thing, quit already.

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