Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, on Tuesday, launched his latest book, “The Political Economy of the Labour Movement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

He told the launch in Kingstown that the book is the sixth that he has written in the past seven years.

“I would like, certainly, in our party, I would; like that among the younger person to take this … carry the book and educational programme…” he said to an audience that included several of the younger candidates and activists on behalf of his Unity Labour Party.

“Other people can utilise it as they wish, and I am sure a number of students will use it for graduate work and so on — I mean to do their studies, including graduate work. But I have been a researcher for a long time and I have been writing for publications now since 1972. That is 47 years and the last seven years, six publications under my hand have been produced, including this one,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves, who has been prime minister since March 2001, said he has to find time to write.

“Look, I know that as prime minister and leader of a party, I am fair game for a lot of people with all sorts of things. Fair enough; I’m in it. But I am very conscious that at 72 I don’t have many years on Earth. And I have a lot of things that I want to say and I want to say them a way — I say them in Parliament, I say them on the public platform but I want to say them calmly inside of books so that young people can read and study. I’m not finished yet; I will be writing more and more.”

He said that people ask where he gets the time to write.

 “The point is this, I have a boring job and I need to write in order to relieve my boredom,” he said to some laughter.

Tuesday’s event, which including a book signing, was chaired by head of the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union, Joseph “Burns” Bonadie, who is an advisor to Gonsalves on labour matters.

Bonadie is also head of the National Workers’ Institute for Research and Education, a post created by Gonsalves, and for which Bonadie gets some EC$80,000 from the national coffers annually, even as questions have been repeatedly asked about Bonadie’s role in that capacity.

St. Vincent-born Barbadian lawyer, David Comissiong, who is Bridgetown’s ambassador to CARICOM, gave a review of the book at the launch. 

“This is a book that trade unions, that political parties, like the Unity Labour Party, are going to take and, out of the content in here, are going to be able to produce smaller monographs on a variety of topics, a variety of Vincentian political and trade union personalities,” Comissiong said.

Quoting the book, he noted that Gonsalves said he decided to write the book for three main reasons.

“Firstly, to provide the working people nationally, regionally and globally, especially the young with a coherent understanding and explanation of the history and political economy of the labour movement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Secondly, to correct the many prejudices and anti-worker biases of the bourgeoisie and neo-liberal perspectives in their telling of the story of the labour movement in this country.

“And, thirdly, to reaffirm, yet again that the understanding and an explanation of a country’s political economy in the epoch of capitalism can be best perused through a thorough examination of its labour movement and the working people who constitute it.”

Commissiong said that, in the book, Gonsalves is giving “a detailed examination of the entire history of this country told from the perspective of the working people, of their organisations, both their trade unions and their political parties”.

Grenadian trade unionist, Chester Humphrey also spoke at the event.

Humphrey said the book is “a very important piece of reading for the entire community of St. Vincent and the Grenadines but particularly so for my fellow trade unionists”.

He said that the book codifies the experiences of the Vincentian working people “along the long trajectory and march that we have made as a people from pre-colonial times into the colonial period, the immediate post-colonial period and independence and the construct of a new modern national democratic state”.   

5 replies on “Gonsalves launches book on SVG’s labour movement”

  1. Mr prime minister. l believe the content of this book will wort reading. But I think this book should have been done by someone else. you don’t have a good Trac record for example the court order your government to pay Mr Sam and look at the problem he was getting. again in 2001over1500 people poor ordernary people lost their job.so before you promote your book you should apologize for the action of the government. because as l said l believe it is a very good book.so mr PM do the humble thing an apologize.so this great peace of writing can contribute to our civilization .

  2. This is the Ralph Gonsalves that I’ve know since 1975 a true academic. Sometimes I’m a little disappointed because I was one of the people that believed that he could have made a real difference in Caribbean Politics. I worked closely with him when he was at Cave Hill to get a lot of the stuff he wrote back then printed. Dr. Gonsalves is one of the Caribbean real intellectuals. I think he should have played a greater role in keeping Caricom functioning. Dr keep on writing, because I know that is where your heart has always been.

    YOGI NI

  3. Is this yet another attempt by the master of smoke and mirrors and subterfuge to beguile those who read? Can we ever rely on what Ralph Gonsalves write? Is he not a self-declared born liar?

    I cannot recall where my attention was first drawn to this kind of attempted subterfuge. Perhaps it was in my reading one of Bobby Seale’s work on the Black Panther Party. A work my attention was first directed to as an enquiring student.

    According to my memory, it was there pointed out that in all books glorifying the exploits of Lion hunting by noted Great white Lion hunters in Africa, the Lion hunter always bags the Lion. Never the other way around for the simple reason that Lions don’t writes books! Therefore, the true story of the encounters between Lions and hunters are never ever told.

    And so, it would inevitable be here with Ralph Gonsalves, yet another distorted version of St Vincent history, slanted with the man himself at CenterStage.

    Moreover, there is also that nagging question of mine which is, with so many fellow Vincentians out of work and longing for gainful employment, how is it that our Prime Minister is so able to find that much time to travel the world over and write books in the process?

  4. C. ben-David says:

    Anybody can write something — a pamphlet, an essay, an Internet comment (like this one) — and get it published.

    Anyone can write a “book” and pay to get It published by some vanity press or the other, something thousands of people do every year.

    But very few people can get a non-fiction book printed by a renowned university press or for-profit publisher after it had been sent out for careful review by experts in the field as part of a pre-publication scrutiny process.

    And praise from paid hangers on and sycophants is no recommendation.

  5. How insensitive can one gets, Ralph is telling us that this honoured job he has as Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines is just utterly boring, and to the roar of raucous laughter by his chosen sycophant audience who happens to be in attendance.

    What a slap in the teeth and an insult to us Vincentians and even more so, to the thousands of unhappy Vincentians who sadly now find themselves out of work because of Ralph and his don’t care family government’s economic policies. But what does such a crass statement of his tell us about the man who would not make way for another Vincentian, other than his close family member to take up the honoured post?

    Such a glib statement of his speaks volumes about the glaring dishonest hypocrisy inherent in the man Ralph Gonsalves who eagerly aspired to that job of Prime Mister so vigorously, and now refuses to give it up, despite his saying that the job is utterly boring.

    What shall we make of such a dishonest patronising hypocrite as Ralph, who wines and dines with foreign business men, sells out the country’s economic interest on the cheap to them, then turn round and tell us that he hates capitalism and the Capitalist?

    Just look at the Buccament Bay debacle and ask yourself this question, was David Ames a Capitalist? And are the buyers of the Peters Hope lands on the cheap in ignorance of the Vincentian business classes Capitalist?

    Indeed, thank God for sure, that Ralph Gonsalves Prime Minister has not got long on this earth at all and would soon go to join his equally nefarious pals Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, leaving honest and right minded Vincentians to chart a path in our economic life, that would lead us to jobs, instead of our nation doing what we do year after year, begging what Ralph would have us believe are his hated Capitalist for income support.

    Well was it put in George Orwell’s allegorical novella “Animal Farm” describing the outcome of aspirations in a deluded Socialist state!

    Yes all Vincentians are equal for sure but some Vincentians are most certainly more equal than others. How else would we have so many here who are out of work and scrunting, and those in work earning no more than $5,000 a year, with others on half time working, because of the downturn in our economy caused by Ralph’s policies and with this Government appointee “Burns” Bonadie, earning some $80,000 a year from our National Coffers.

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