Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Grenada’s Minister of Finance, Clarice Modeste. (Internet photos)

Grenada has denied refusing to open its port to receive two of its nationals who had been stranded on a cruise ship, as Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves claimed.

“I was shocked to see a report which said that Grenada turned them down and so another country has taken them on. I think it’s very sad, I think it is very far from the truth,” Clarice Modeste, Grenada’s Minister of Tourism said on radio in St. George’s on Thursday.

She said that while the false story has made it into the media about her country rejecting its nationals, St. George’s had been silent on the assistance it gave in repatriating two Vincentians during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I am sure you did not hear anything about that in the media. I don’t think any Grenadian knew that this government facilitated that and it happened … The shoe was on the other foot before, we did what we had to do, recognising that we are all in this together, that we are a region and we need each other and that is still my statement on that.

“… we are a region and we need each other and we should be there to support. Grenada will still support any person of other nationality who happens to get to our shores and remain stranded.  We will facilitate and you will not see it in the media. This is our policy, I think it is the best but I felt compelled to say that because I am hearing it in all different media.”

Speaking on NBC Radio on Wednesday, Gonsalves said that Bishen John, head of the SVG Port Authority had told him that the Grenadian government had said that the cruise line could not repatriate the two Grenadians that day.

“… because their port is closed and they have to open it and they wouldn’t open it just for two, they can come on the day next week when Disney is coming,” Gonsalves said.

He said that the cruise line had agreed to pay for the quarantining of the Grenadian, until their COVID-19 status is determined.

“And after the 14 days or whatever time … the Ministry of Health could determine that they could leave at that point and then they’re like Vincentians everywhere, if you don’t have your own home, you go and check in at a guest house or hotel…” Gonsalves said.

But Modeste said that it was the cruise line that had asked Kingstown to take the sailors even as her government was in discussion with Bridgetown to have them stay in Barbados until being transferred to St. George’s.

She said that one Tuesday, she received a call from an agent saying that the cruise ship had two Grenadians to repatriate the next day.

“The next day! The next morning,” Modeste emphasised. “Our cruise ship port is closed and so there were challenges in terms of the logistics.”

Modeste said that some of the cruise ships stay in Barbados for a while and the one proposing to repatriate the two Grenadians was there when it informed St. George’s.

“So that didn’t leave us any margin for error,” she said, adding that her government discussed having the two Grenadians placed in accommodation in Barbados.
Modeste said that Barbados has accommodation and, from time to time, holds people who have to be transferred to other countries.

“And my thing was could you put them up for a night or two and we will check with LIAT and see when they are coming in with cargo because when LIAT comes with cargo, they have brought in one or two passengers who are stranded. They have done that.

“And I said give us a little time, because it’s today for tomorrow and to open; it is a little bit tight for us. And they agreed and say they will go and check with LIAT and so on.”

The Grenada tourism minister said that the next thing she heard was that the cruise ship had asked St. Vincent to take the Grenadians.

 “The cruise ship — and I want to underscore that and put it in capital letters — the cruise ship asked St. Vincent, because they were going to St. Vincent, whether they could leave them there.

“And they called me and asked whether they could leave them there. I said, ‘Well, what is the arrangement and I called a senior person from the  cruise line and they said they will pay for them to stay in a hotel that is on the  beach for a couple days and that will give me the time to make the  arrangements for the transfer.”

Modeste said she spoke to persons in St. Vincent on the matter “and they said they will take care of them, they will do the testing, and we talked about a protocol and I discussed with our COVID chief coordinator and he said, let us bring them in at the earliest opportunity.”

She said that the two Grenadians landed in St. Vincent on Wednesday and she was in constant communication with the relevant person in Kingstown.

“I asked them to give me the numbers for the two persons just so that we can check on them and so we are, at this time, making arrangements,” she said, adding that that her government was arranging for PCR rest for the two nationals.

“…  just so that we know what we are dealing with and how to manage it, and we are going to bring them home shortly,” Modeste said, adding that her government is committed to its nationals.

The tourism minister said Grenada is in discussion with other cruise lines regarding the dates on which they would repatriate nationals.

“We think it is fairer to give us a few days advance so that we can do what we have to do and we will work with that,” she said.

The development comes in a month when Gonsalves said he would not have granted permission for two flights from the US to repatriate 300 Vincentian sailors, because the cruise line had not abided by the terms of Kingstown protocol for the repatriation of sailor and oil rig workers.

The story of the two Grenadians is the last in a verbal spat between Kingstown and St. George’s over their different approaches to the pandemic.

Grenada had closed its borders, while SVG’s remains open, and in March, Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell complained about persons from the Grenadines travelling to Grenada although its borders were closed.

In response, Gonsalves invited Grenadians on that country’s Grenadine islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique to come to the southern Grenadines, in a structured manner, to buy food and fuel.

Mitchell has made fun of Gonsalves, who appeared in a photo at Argyle International Airport, carrying a box, purportedly containing rapid tests for COVID-19, but labelled “blood glucose test strips” with a 2018 expiry date.  

29 replies on “Gonsalves’ story about Grenada refusing nationals ‘very far from the truth’”

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    So the minister of national security in SVG who is also responsible for immigration had no clue that Grenada had taken care of two vincentians previously? It is sad that every time Ralph open his mouth it brings disgrace.

  2. The problem is Ralph Gonsalves tells lies and is always looking for self glory and emulation. He cannot help himself he has to have praise of what he does and even his very self being.

    He thinks Vincentians and the world is impressed by the rubbish he puts out there, I for one am not and think it is high time he stopped all the nonsense and started acting like a mature statesman.

    1. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

      “Acting like a Statesman” would require a great deal of acting on his part. But I can say he practices diligently.

  3. Arnold Thomas says:

    How can sensible intelligent people twist up a story like this? According to Minister Modeste Grenada did not refuse to take them- just that their port was closed and it surely made sense to let them wait for two days . PM Gonsalves confirmed what Grenada said but added that since SV was receiving persons from the ship the two Grenadians could also get off and be quarantined like others. Am I missing something or just cock-eyed?

  4. Bill Johnney says:

    Min. of Tourism, Clarice Modeste, my question to you, Is it a fact that Grenada refuses to open its boarders to two Grenadian Nationals? You spoke about what your country did for two Vincentians, you spoke about what’s in the media and what’s not you spoke about shoes on other foot and what you will not hear from what you will hear and you refuted the claims made by Gonsalves but you have not really address the issue. We will like to really hear your country’s take on the whole matter and why SVG had to take them in. People are not fools, give us your version.

  5. Calliaquaman says:

    The Grenadian Minister is right that three altogether left for SVG silently .Two from mainland and one from Union Island. The request was make by high ranking Minister in SVG (Deputy). GRENADA did rapid test on them . Put traveling plan in place . This writer have full knowledge of what the Grenadian Government did which is first class and i hope that we will treat them the same.

  6. What do we have for a PM, a commess market woman? This guys is a low class idiot. If he spends a quarter of the time governing the country as he spend on commess, SVG would be a beautiful place. It’s commess, commess and more commess. And he is such a pathological lier. SMH !!!

  7. Kendal M Coombs says:

    He said, she said. Truth can be a lie disguise as true however, the purity of truth is the verification of facts. Pelting mud on your neighbors face so he or she can look uglier than you will not make you any prettier. There is no ill intention here just neighbors misunderstanding each other.

  8. This reporting is very poor and bias, please take look at this paragraph where (Modeste said that it was the cruise line that had asked Kingstown to take the sailors even as her government was in discussion with Bridgetown to have them stay in Barbados until being transferred to St. George’s.) this paragraph shows signs of the Grenadian Government did denied their national, why would they be negotiating with Barbados to accommodate them and quarantine the individuals, if they did not denied the two sailors. Grenada could of liaise with the cruise line and find out it’s next stop before the cruise ship call at St George’s port and then accepted their nationals.

    I do believe journalists must be honest and neutral in their reporting.

  9. Joanna Thomas says:

    That man us so petty, twisting stories to get atte5, he should coach his son instead, adulterer.

  10. “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren”.
    Proverbs 6:16-19 New King James Version (NKJV)

  11. Glad to hear both sides of the story. Gonsalves is showing early signs of political dementia. You’ll do anything for political mileage if it means making another country look bad.Is that part of having a non permanent seat on the UN.You are looking at even sovereign countries as your opposition and you’re trying as usual to make other people look bad so that you would look good?What happened to dignified silence? Mr Gonsalves you’re making a mess of things and you’re making highly competent Vincentians who work with you look stupid.

  12. Agustus Carr says:

    This a story of two sisters at odds with each other. There is a little rivalry between Prime Minister, Hon Dr. Gonsalves and Hon Prime Minister, Hon Dr. Mitchell. This is evident in a Wikileaks Cable in which, PM Mitchell accused PM Gonsalves of damaging his relations with President Hugo Chavez. Further, PM Gonsalves seems to have an affinity towards Hon Tillman Thomas and the Grenada National Congress.

    There are obviously some unresolved issues between both Prime Ministers that keep resonating itself and have transcended within their Parties. They should both go the Caricou and have a dual. Who ever wins get to claim all rights to entire Island of Caricou. Grenada would always be loved by Saint Vincent the Grenadines.

  13. How is it far from the truth. She is basically saying the same thing PM said their port is closed and they could not open to accommodate the two nationals. I may be wrong but I didn’t hear the PM say it’s the Grenadian government who asked they to accommodate the Grenadians. So, what is her story. Their port is closed, they said they are not opening at such short notice or for just two nationals, the cruise ship ask SVG to take the crew members SVG did. The Vincy passport means something, once all protocols are observed our gates are open. Oh the PM had a right to refuse the flight unless proper arrangements are made (and the cruise ships had not signed with the CDC to take responsibility for any adverse situation in regards to their crew). The CDC told the cruise lines their crew are not too use any form of public transport, they didn’t even want them on American soil. You have to follow due process. The cruise liners had to waited until they signed the agreement with the CDC, before the started taking crew members home on their own ships or a few chartered flights.

  14. It is shameful to see the Grenada and SVG government fighting. Do we forget that Governor Gun-Munro, a great SVG statesman was Grenadian? Jerry Romain and even our Carnival Genius Fuzzy Knights. SVG and Grenada should be getting along famously given our shared history and proximity. But, This is Gonsalves’s fault, he is the one who was disrespectful to the Grenadian Government over that Union island affair during the lockdown.

  15. Has this Covid19 pandemic now causing a war between Grenada and SVG? This is the second time, once before it was Pm Gonsalves “going against Grenada lock down rules by saying that
    Nationals on the sister isles are free to travel over to Union island” now this?
    Let it be clear that we Grenadians are very patriotic people and would never abdandon our own and turn away.. I won’t speak more …but this back and forth between SVG and Grenada must stop before it gets out of control..

  16. He even lied to the Vincentian public when he told us that the cruise line was responsible to pay hotels for the sailors to stay in quarantines. He just cannot help stretching the truth like a trial lawer who is trying to convince a stupid judge that wrong is right.

    I think that someone mentioned political dementor, I am sure they are right.

    As for ‘Johnney come lately’ he is one of the online protectors who steps in to convince us wrong is right. Vincy is just another crock of the same ilk.

    1. You need to do your research before taking read the maritime law and find out for yourself who is responsible

      1. Vanassa if you were not so silly you would be a danger to the Vincentian public making such statements.

        The ship owner are obliged to return the sailors home. They are obliged to continue looking after them if they are sick or injured. When they took the test and were proved negative on board the boat, it was proven they were not sick. The moment they stepped ashore they were on their own, there was no further obligation on the part of the ship owners. If the SVG government demanded they be quarantined either they pay the bill or the sailor pays it themselves.

        You can be sure if there was an obligation on the part of the ship company, they would never argue or negotiate, they would simply pay up. They refused to pay because they were under no obligation to do so.

        The demand for them to pay was in my view a rather nasty try on.

  17. I disagree you saying the Minister refused to accept the National home, but because of the immediate urge of getting the Port open, she was making necessary arrangements to have them stay in Barbados for a day or two to board a Liat cargo flight home.

    1. Sam, Sam the lavatory man. The problem is not with the commentators. It’s with the politicisation of the Corona virus at every possible opportunity by the comrade. I seems to me, he is more interested in his re-election than the health of the people.

  18. Somerandombloke says:

    Ralph Need to stop with this showbiz shinanigans. And stop these vincy drug runners coming to Grenada and flooding our streets with drugs! all is see on this news outlet is a set of Shit. Talk about all the vincy scum bags appearing in Grenadian courts for drug running!

  19. Vincy is s country run by lawyers. In vincy a lawyer is the chief engineer , a doctor as in MD and quite a few lawyers make a good living from criminality in Vincy. A lawyer in Vincy is looked upon as someone in very high standing because our unique economy is based largely on corruption so lawyers in Vincy play bigger roles than lets say a lawyer in Grenada. The main economic engine of Vincy is corruption aided and abetted by lawyers.

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