Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves at the press conference on Tuesday. (iWN photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is opposed to the playing of the British National Anthem, “God Save the Queen” at functions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He told a press conference in Kingstown on Tuesday that he has and has repeatedly questioned the reason for it.

SVG, which attained independence from Britain in 1979, has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, represented by a governor general.

On Tuesday, Gonsalves was asked to explain his government’s decision to swear in the new governor general on Emancipation Day.

The event included the playing of God Save The Queen, which some persons considered as inappropriate, on Emancipation Day, in a country where the majority of the population are descendants of previously enslaved persons.  

Gonsalves noted that when the swearing-in of the Governor General, Susan Dougan was done, the head of state went outside Government House to inspect a guard of honour.

“I have raised it before with the authorities, more than one cabinet secretary, the police force, if you go to when the police officers are being inducted, when the royal standard is raised, because it’s Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, they play the anthem for Britain.

“I ask them all the time, ‘Why you all do that? Why don’t you — she is Queen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you play out national anthem alone.’ They say, ‘Well, it is part of the protocol, it is part of the convention, once her standard is raised’,” the prime minister said.

'God Save The Queen' played in SVG on Emancipation Day

The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in a tone-deaf move, chose to install a new governor general (representative of The Queen) on Emancipation Day. The event included the playing of the British National Anthem, 'God Save The Queen'.

Posted by iWitness News on Friday, August 2, 2019

He said that in the case of the installation of the governor general, the SVG anthem was played when the flag of SVG was raised and the British Anthem was played when the governor general’s standard, with the crown on it, which is representing the queen, was raised.

“I asked the question all the time, ‘Why do we have to play the [British] anthem?’ not on Emancipation Day — at all… And that is a conversation, which I still want to continue to have.

“There are some people who will answer and say that the people voted for it. That’s not where I go,” the prime minister said, referring to the electorate’s rejection in a November 2009 referendum, proposed changes to the nation’s constitution.

“I don’t go there, though I know that happened. They voted for her as Queen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, among other things, you understand what I mean, among other things, but I’ll tell you the reform constitution was among the following things: first of all, to complete the national democratic revolution in this country, one was the queen the other one with the Privy Council.”

He said former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell who campaigned along with his New Democratic Party against the proposed constitution had a booklet only on keeping the queen and the Privy Council.

Gonsalves said there was also the issue of democratising the institutions and calling for the strengthening of certain fundamental rights and freedoms. There is not a single issue in the constitution where it is not far better — the reform constitution than the one we had.

25 replies on “PM questions playing of ‘God Save The Queen’ in SVG”

  1. The standard is set by the leader or the government those standards are set by the word of God whenever the standard is removed then the protection that God Jehovah have around that country or nation island is removed do you understand this great Britain the queen set those standards by our forefathers in the government our religion, our education system ‘ , laws , and way of life our. Language is set by ggreat Britain. the queen under Jehovah God we are one nation and of the same tribe Israel . wake up Christian st Vincent and the grenadine know who you are in this endtimes this evil that is the leader in you is set to destroy everything that is of God Jehovah and Christian that is in you when this evil remove. .the Queen and all that is of God Jehovah in you then evil will set it standard and rule supreme in you . however Jehovah God will protect those of his in st Vincent and the grenadine God Jehovah save the queen the one that set the laws and see those are upheld in us. isreal one nation under God

    1. David that is the most crop ever written by any normal person, as a matter of fact you dont sound normal

      1. I second that Johnny. We would be just as well off putting our trust in the Easter Bunny. The playing of this tune is symbolic. It may be silly and it may not be depending on the perspective of the listener. I would never mention “Israel” It is another one of those words. If we look at the place we call Israel today we thing of arrogance and hatred.

    2. Please David,raise your historical consciousness.You
      are absolutely devoid of it.What God had to do with the queen and us.We need to now set our own standards,play our anthem only it’s time.

    3. David Wilson, you need a F for failure. What kind of nonsense are you writing on media platform? Anyways, I am just going to take this as your own personal perspective because you can’t seriously be ok to write this. Are you Vincentian? Or do you understand anything that has to do with colonial discourse? David Wilson, well let me tell you, colonialism played an integral role in the economic and social (just to name a few) downfall of St Vincent and the Grenadines. So yes, we do not need to play “God save the queen!”

  2. I don’t see a problem with that.it is there antem.and the queen is there queen and our queen.if the referendum was to pass.we would of had a new antem.god saved the president.

  3. Rawlston Pompey says:

    OFFICIAL PROTOCOL v ROAD OF HYPOCRISY

    The PM is a very bright and smart fellow, an academic and leader of his nation.

    Historically, he shall have learned that ‘…God Save the Queen,’ has long been the ‘…British Empire’s National Anthem.’ [1745].

    He will not say what one of the ‘…Queen’s Counsel Parnell Campbell’ has hypocritically uttered.
    No, he is not going down the ‘…Road of Hypocrisy.’

    He shall know that in these constitutional democracies where the Queen remains or has been retained by the people as the ‘…Titular Head of State,’ at every ceremonial event or function where ‘…Her Majesty’s Representative, Governor General’ attends, the Standard precedes the National Anthem.

    The only Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), where this is not played is the Commonwealth of Dominica.

    The reality is, this nation has a ‘…President as the Head of State.’ SVG do not yet have a presidency.

    He shall have learned, particularly from the Police, that playing the Standard of the ‘…British National Anthem’ is not merely part of, but ‘…Protocol.’

    Such signifies recognition, and just like the ‘…Mace carried by the Sergeant-At-Arms in the House of Assembly,’ represents the invisible presence of Her Majesty The Queen.

    While parliamentarians may sit in their chairs, without which there would be no formal sitting of Parliament to make laws.

  4. Wow! We all know how much control PM Gonsalves has over the country. In practice he is “King” of SVG, If the Referendum would have gone his way, he would have “officially” become “King” but under a different name. For that reason and losing the unbiased arbitration of the Privy Council is why the people rejected the Referendum. If we would have voted for the Referendum we would have lost much of our democracy, not gained!
    I am against these trickster politicians fooling both the doltish and intelligent Vincentians for thier own personal and family power;.

    Hasn’t he hurt this country enough with his loser economic philosophy?

  5. How to give Diplomacy a kick up the Grand Anse Beach:
    British national anthem is called “God Save The Queen.” … This was originally called “No Future.” The band played it live and recorded a demo version with that title, but changed it when lead singer Johnny Rotten got the idea to mock the British monarchy. This became an anthem for the punk movement in England.
    https://www.songfacts.com › facts
    God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols – Songfacts

  6. The Queen was democratically accepted as head of state of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This was confirmed by the no vote to the proposed new constitution.

    I know Ralph Gonsalves would have preferred that we voted yes to the new constitution so as we could all sing God save Ralph but we did not we rejected such an idea.

    Stop being too clever for your boots and stop trying back door meddling with our democracy.

    We do not want to be like Cuba or Venezuela, we do not agree with that path that you alone have chosen for us.

    I have said this many times if you love their system and want to live like that go and live there.

  7. This is often confusing to say the lease

    The UK police force is referred to as the British Police force. The svg police force is referred to as the Royal St Vincent Police Force.

    The idea of being independent is to be self sufficient. Unless being a MBE ( Member of the British Empire) is relevant and to what purpose
    It is is no longer be in existence

  8. Hmm.. another issue why is our police force called “Royal” it’s all about showing allegiance to the monarch so they have all right to sing that anthem. God save the Queen I have been heating that line since I was born up to now I never heard the queen baptize and hot saved. It’s nonsense.

  9. Alyo ah some real dotish ppl eh mek Alyo nuh see sense.. WHITE WOMAN FI QUEEN.. AND. BRITAIN ANTHEN…. MEK YUH AH STILL TEK WHITE MAN RELIGION AND ALL TINGS EH… STEWWWPS

    1. Remember Dwayne SVG is ruled day by day by a white man and his family dynasty. He has attended Royal weddings and events in London, and made sure his closest supporters of he and the dynasty get Royal titles from the Queen.

      The Vincentian people voted for the Queen and against the Proposed presidency of Gonsalves when they rejected the constitutional change by referendum.

      Had they of voted with a yes vote we would be in the same dire straits as Venezuela is today.

  10. It seems to me that many members of the ULP do not agree with the PM on this issue and on the removal of Queen as head if state. They have never renounced the British titles that they have received such as the MBEs and the knighthoods. But continue to receive them up to last year.

  11. Canada’s Current Head of State, is Queen Elizabeth II of Britain. She acceded to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, who had served as king for 16 years.

    Australia’s Head of State is the Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Under the Australian Constitution, executive power is exercised by the Governor General as the Queen’s representative.

    The monarchy of New Zealand is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of New Zealand. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as noted above. She ascended to the throne as noted on the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952.

    Now tell me about this little pin prick country of ours, where one hypocritical family rules a backward population of just a hundred thousand people, a people who lacks proper healthcare, and its hypocrite leader struts the world with a large begging bowl!

    Ponder for a moment as one asks, what therefore is there for us to gain, that those bigger nations now lacks? And don’t tell me freedom. Look the Gonsalves would not let us have even a Freedom of Information Bill!

  12. Ricardo Francis says:

    Should they play: God save Ralph, the pharaoh leader!

    Ralph talks about reparation, but ignores APARTHEID in the Grenadines and Mustique.

    I am very fearless and courage.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

  13. If he doesn’t like the system of Queen Elizabeth II being head of state after the people overwhelmingly voted to keep her, then he should resign.

    Remember he has used the Royal system to reward his dynastical supporter charter members with Knighthoods and other Honours.

    He was even invited to Royal weddings and functions in London and accepted them. Strutting around like a peacock on the palace lawn. Attending the Cathedral’s and singing God Save The Queen.

    The man is a 101% two faced. Ralph boy, I’m not insulting you, I’m describing you.

  14. As you full well knows hypocrisy is part of Ralph Gonsalves stock in trade, as he is thoroughly aware that he is only dealing with a grossly primitive people at home in SVG who could hardly write their name, and those of the mass who can, are utterly confused after their years on the SVG plantation.

    Thank God that all men dies!

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