One day after Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that Donald Trump could not have been elected to the office he holds in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a trade Union leader said that the Vincentian leader was very much like his U.S. counterpart.
Speaking at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday about the rise of right wing nationalism, Gonsalves said that political parties in SVG, through their sifting mechanisms, would have eliminated Trump as a candidate.
However, at an unrelated press conference in Kingstown on Monday, Elroy Boucher, president of the Public Service Union, said that the Gonsalves and Trump have much in common.
Boucher said that Gonsalves was caught “off-guard” by the recent court judgment in which the High Court ruled that the Public Service Commission (PSC) failed to comply with specific Public Service Regulations in respect of the non-promotion of five public officers during their respective periods in the public service of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The prime minister clearly has been caught off-guard with this judgment. And I expect, of course — if you notice, the first thing he did was to take himself out, saying he doesn’t have any authority here and the promotions he has authority to make it doesn’t have this kind of issue. That’s the first thing he did,” Boucher told the press conference.
Asked on Monday to respond to the judgment, Gonsalves said that the PSC’s lawyer could have prepared better for the case.
He further said that the PSC is an independent body and that the court did not say anything about the appointments over which he had constitutional power.
The prime minister further said permanent secretaries and the other immediate supervisors of state workers “need to document what they are doing, which, I think, is what the court asked for”.
However, Boucher said that Gonsalves must take responsibility for the actions of the PSC.
The buck stops with the commission board, not the permanent secretaries. They can suggest, they can recommend. The Constitution gives the power to the Public Service Commission board. Clearly, if you are ultimately responsible, why are going to want to push the blame onto somebody else? And the board is appointed by the prime minister. So he is also culpable in all of this.”
Boucher said that permanent secretaries can make whatever recommendations they want.
“If the Service Commission Board, following the law, discovers that all of the information is not there to make a decision, you direct the permanent secretaries to get the information. You don’t make a decision. And you have a lawyer leading it.
“When I listened to the prime minister yesterday, I will say this: when I listen to him speak on this matter, he reminds me of Donald Trump. If you are a member of Trump’s base, clearly, you will believe everything he says. I am not.”