Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has defended a Vincentian diplomat embroiled in a vehicle-purchase scandal in Canada.
Fitz Huggins, Kingstown’s consul General in Toronto has admitted that he bought from a vehicle leasing company, for
CA$3,600, the 2015 model Kia Sorento that his government had leased for the past five years for his use on official duty in the North American city.
Huggins said that he decided to purchase the vehicle as the government was being asked to pay CA$4,500 in charges for the kilometres in excess of the number agreed in the lease.
The diplomat, in his attempts to justify his actions, said that he had saved Kingstown money by driving the vehicle – the lease of which he had negotiated — from between Toronto and Ottawa and Toronto and Montreal, as flying was more expensive.
However, his critics have questioned his action in light of the fact that he knew the terms of the lease.
They further noted that the inter-city trips might have helped to push the mileage beyond the agreed number of miles, resulting in a concomitant fall in the value of the vehicle.
They suggested that rather than Huggins buying the vehicle for his personal use, the government could have purchased it for use by a state agency in Kingstown.
Another suggestion was for the government to purchase the vehicle and auction it among the Vincentian community thereby giving multiple persons an equal opportunity to own it.
However, speaking on WE FM on Sunday, Gonsalves expressed satisfaction with Huggins’ work and defended his actions.
“I just want to say one thing, … the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines and the government, that we have full confidence in the integrity of Consul General Huggins, he’s a man of good standing. He’s doing an excellent job,” Gonsalves said.
“The issue on which is called a quote-unquote scandal is absolute rubbish. There is no scandal there. And I will simply say to Fitz just ignore that kind of nonsense. He has acted properly, in my view, in every material respect, and that he must continue to do his good job of helping the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines with all the stuff that he gets for us and also to keep in touch and service his constituents, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in our Canadian diaspora. I just want to say that,” the prime minister stated.
It is not clear, whether in light of the suggestion by the prime minister, a lawyer, that Huggins would follow through on his threat to sue Marlon Bute, the Canada-based Vincentian who publicised the issue.
Huggins, while defending himself on Boom FM, a Kingstown radio station, said that he was going to ask his lawyer whether Bute’s comments could be deemed defamatory.
In his comments on radio, Huggins suggested that someone in his consulate had leaked the information to Bute.
Some persons have concluded that his comments suggest that members of his staff frowned on his acquisition of the vehicle and decided to make it public.
Ohhh. His pain is that the truth was leaked. That’s a devilish heart. Wrong is right and right is wrong. The PM is terrible. A country’s leader? So sad but history has shown us the end of such.
Mr PM when someone and there family support you and your party they never rong in your site.Even they may be generally rong .Mr Huggins is not legally rong but morally he is.And let me remind you that you are not St Vincent Jesus Christ.
Please utilize a dictionary before you post your silly attacks on the government.
We are living in Canada, and as a lawyer , I have discussed the issue with my peers regarding the the purchase of the Kia by Mr Huggins. They all concurred that Mr Huggins does not have a good case against Mr Bute.One of Mr colleagues said there was no malice, no injury whether perceived or actual. Accordingly, a case against Mr Bute would be perceived as malacious persecution on behalf of Mr Huggins and a weak case at best. Mr Bute should you need legal concil ,please advise.
Good to hear this. It just proves that the PM and his troop think vincentians are stupid and that we all would cower under them. The things that happen and they expect us to understand and believe them are simply appalling. It beats me how some people can give credence to their folly. Thank you on Mr Bute’s behalf. I dont know him and many others who are looking out for this nation but it is clear our hearts and spirits are united for good causes.
Where is the scandal if that was the buyout option?
Ther e are persons who are bent on enlightening things that are non issues. What has had Mr Bute done for SVG? There are more serious issues to deal with than a damn old jeep. You are a businessman, what is your contribution to St Vincent? You’re like a hog, rooting up mug issues…get a life
What has Mr Bute done?*
Prime Minister I agree with you that Fitz is doing a good job in Toronto, but we want to see you here too. Please visit us PM, if not please tell us why not.
Sandra, it is well noted that he has never been to Canada since being charged of sexual assault in SVG by a Canadian/Vincentian lawyer.
Many have asked over the years if he is actually a coward in staying away.
Thank you Karen for you pertinent question.
At first I though it is the role of the PM to defend Consul General Huggins’ action as I will expect of any operative manager. But on another hand, I thought that the Consulate Officers are under the protocol of the foreign ministry and therefore, reports to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Should it be the SVG Foreign Minister’s role to do what the PM has done?
Effective communication is the most efficient source of rectifying confusion such as this matter. ‘The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.’ Hon. PM, to say that you support the action of the consul general without educating the people of the SVG policy around vehicle ownership/leasing is a travesty to the occurrence and has done nothing to resolve the confusion which led to all the commentaries.
Therefore, my conclusion is that the Minister of Foreign Affairs; (the consulate direct report) will detail such policy and procedure to the SVG people. ‘Education revolution’ doesn’t end in the classroom but with all effort to educate the masses.
I believe in saying it as I see it as being true to oneself is not courageous by impartial.
Wow! Rubbish and nonsense eh and the diplomat doing a good job? For those who think it is rubbish and nonsense; to put things in a better context lets remove the vehicle and replace it with a two-story dwelling house of approximately 5000 sq. ft, I hope the readers have a better grasp of things. Whenever the work “leak” is used to describe disclosure especially in state matters, you can bet something is wrong.
On the issue of doing a good job; all the bank personnel and those at the Treasury Department who were found guilty and or dismissed from their various post for theft were doing a good job that is why it took so long to catch them.
I challenge the good diplomat, indeed sue the activists in a Canadian court of law for defamation, but remember when you are doing so, you stand the chance of embarrassing all of us as Vincentians.
Monty providence you seemed to be thinking with your bottom foot. If you are intuitive enough, you must first ask the question, who were the patries to the transaction involving the Kia? Was it not between the government and the lessor? If that is the case , tell me why Mr.Huggins had an option to participate in the buy out?
I see some very old men trying to find them selves relevant in modern times. It for this reason some organization never amount to anything because we have people who had not to contribute to its development as leaders.
Woe unto us who call wrong, right and right is wrong.
My heart is ever torn apart for all of my fellow Vincentians who are thus severely locked in the hero worship of the Gonsalves and their regime that they cannot see the extent of the moral issues involved here.
So sad. Oh so sad!
Flow my tears – Fiona Campbell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eW3dCuRwc4
James, With all due respect, Gonsalves has a personality cult going on in SVG. despite being an incompetent jackass, doing all kinds of things unbecoming a decent PM. He knows that he can appease a lots of people with strong rum and a little building materials. GOD HELP US.
Why use the word “leak” if there is nothing wrong with the transaction? If the action was transparent and legal, then it would be nice for Vincentians to follow such actions. Maybe Fitz should write a book on “how to purchase cheap vehicles on the market. I will buy a copy! This could be part of Vincy legacy in Toronto, Ontario and Canada.
Why is the issue referred as a leak? Does that mean the transaction was behind closed doors, so no one will be able to assess it viability and credibility? Something is not right!
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