Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, on Friday, issued a “statement of solidarity” with the people of the United States, where there is ongoing protest over the death of a black man, under the knee of a white police officer.

“The government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines rejoice, in solidarity, with the people of the United States of America in their popular, broad-based and peaceful resistance currently underway in their defence and advancement of liberty and justice consequent upon the killing of an African-American, George Floyd, in Minnesota, at the hands, and knees, of the police,” Gonsalves said.

He said that the nation also joins with all right-thinking persons, the world over, in expressing sympathy and heart-felt condolences to the immediate family and friends of George Floyd at his sudden and unnatural death. 

“We regret, too, the incidents of violence which have given rise to damage to property and injury to some during the upsurge of popular resistance.  We call on all concerned to be peaceful and exercise sensible restraint so as to avoid ignoble pursuits,” Gonsalves said.

However, some observers have pointed out that the prime minister appeared quick to comment on police excesses in the United States while he remains largely silent about alleged police abuse in SVG.

Further, in some instances where persons have alleged police abuse, Gonsalves, who, as minister of National Security, has ministerial responsibilities for the police force, has been dismissive of these allegations.

In October 2018, Gonsalves told Parliament that there would be no investigation into a claim by a suspended police officer that the nation’s police chief and police officers beat him one month earlier, when he was taken into custody as part of an investigation.

Then-acting Commissioner of Police, Colin John, denied beating the suspended constable, Ettian Charles or seeing anyone else do so when Charles was arrested in September.

Charles and his co-accused had bloody eyes and puffy faces when they appeared in court on robbery and other charges. 

Also in October 2018, the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) suggested that some police officers were taking the law into their own hands in an attempt to solve crime in SVG.

The party also suggested that the errant police officers may have been spurred on to be abusive to suspects and accused persons because of Gonsalves’ statement that police officers are not obliged to recite the Beatitudes when they confront “hardened criminals”.

In October 2018, Gonsalves pledged his government’s support for police officers who use reasonable force when confronting gunmen in SVG.

The prime minister’s comments came amidst increasing calls by residents of SVG for authorities to do something about a number of shootings across the country.

The prime minister has restated his position from time to time.

However, in January 2019, three months after being criticised for saying that police officers don’t have to recite the beatitudes when confronting “hardened criminals”, Gonsalves was calling for a better relationship between the police and the nation’s youth.

“I want to commend the police on helping to make us safer. But I am concerned that some police officers who are confronting persons who are not hardened criminals — because persons who are hardened criminals, I’ve said before you’re not obliged to recite the beatitudes to them — but I want to make a plea for better relationship between the police and young men on the block for a greater understanding of each other,” Gonsalves said.

In his statement on Friday, the prime minister said that the frequency with which African-American males meet their deaths through police violence in the United States and “the veritable legal immunity accorded to the police in a disproportionally high number of cases, have combined to push this twin occurrence beyond the boundaries of a domestic or internal matter, onto the agenda of international human rights. 

“Friends and allies of the USA across the globe have been urging the American authorities to address efficaciously this metaphoric cancer in their society and body politic,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves said it is hereby reaffirmed that “Black Lives Matter”.

“Without this mantra being a lived reality in contemporary America, the true greatness of that remarkable country and its people stands unrealised.  As a friend of America, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with its particular history, is available to render assistance and advice to our American brothers and sisters in their attempts at resolving and healing this troubling area of their civilisation’s praxis.”

He further states that the government and people of SVG “know, for sure, that no bombs, guns, bullets, bullying, coercion, political manipulation or such levers of state power can resolve the challenges arising from racial injustice and inequality, nor can those instruments of state facilitate the achievement of long-lasting liberty, justice, peace, and social harmony.  Another, better path is possible.

So, we urge at this time of monumental challenges in our hemisphere, and globally, that all our leaders, governmental and non-governmental, embrace both the apt question posed, and the clear answer given, by the Hebrew Prophet Micah: ‘And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God’,” Gonsalves said.

18 replies on “Gonsalves supports US protest against police excesses”

  1. Yusiff Banditt says:

    How can the prime minister be against police brutality in another but support it in his?

  2. Did the Prime Minister look at the video of how the Police officers tossed the obviously mentally deranged
    prisoner into the back of the pickup truck recently. Shot him and threw him in like garbage That treatment needs to be protested. Disgusted!!!

  3. There is as much or more pro-rata police violence and misconduct in SVG than there is in the USA. Homeless being shot in the feet by the police, remember that. A boy almost beaten to death by police officers whilst in the interview room at Kingstown barracks. People continually being taken up at gun point and driven to isolate mountain places and made to walk home.

    There has been so much crap that some have been calling them the dynasties political police.

  4. I hope our PM gets around to correcting all the deficiencies in the SVG Police Force, (such as the standard roughing-up or beatings) While he criticizes the USA, because the deficiencies in the SVG Police Force are far more than most of the police jurisdictions in the USA.
    We do not want to notice a case where:

    “The pot is calling the kettle….African American”

    In truth the unrest in the USA has practically nothing to do with racism. That narrative is coming from the Trump haters. (liberals, CNN, Most Democrats, etc…) The killing of Floyd was the catalyst to explode all of the frustration of those that have been locked-down, lost thier jobs and are constantly lied to by the media, elements in the government and the manipulation of the liberals.
    The unrest is also a “blowback” from all the unrest the USA has been causing abroad with thier antagonism toward Muslims everywhere,( in particular Iran), Venezuela, Cuba, the African Continent, China, etc… There is ZERO evidence that Trump is racist. He did far more for blacks than Obama, but Trump seems to hate all Muslims. Trump may have facilitated more employment and University Education for blacks than any president in history, but Muslims have been greatly restricted. In a free and fair world Trump would have been jailed for the MURDER of Soleimani, (the Iranian general), There was NO EVIDENCE AND NO TRIAL!!! Is it the new American way to murder people in this way? What ever happened to the Constitution? The unrest in the USA is a result of much pent-up anger from many things but racism is not one of them. George Floyd did not have a good record. It includes robbing a pregnant woman at gunpoint, putting a gun to her belly, (that is not mentioned on the US News) The race narrative is a creation of misinformation from the liberal Democrats and the liberal media. 10-times more white males are killed by the police, but a white male killed by the police is not newsworthy in the USA, and it does not fit the agenda to destroy Trump no matter what.
    Does the USA have the right to criticize Venezuela or China over Hong Kong?

    Is it Karma or are the chickens come home to roost?

    1. @Duke There are many quotes uttered from the mouth of Trump (provable), of him being a racist. I could bring many but here are four examples:

      In June 2017, Trump said 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.

      At the White House on Jan. 11, Trump vulgarly called for less immigration from Haiti and Africa and more from Norway.

      He called some of those who marched alongside white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., last August “very fine people.”

      After David Duke, the former leader of the Klu Klux Klan, endorsed him, Trump was reluctant to disavow Duke even when asked directly on television.

      Comments like these and many more are the reason why White Supremacists align with him; and why the Beckies, Karen’s and racist white men reveal their hatred for black people by calling the police for ridiculous reasons. Knowing that calling the police on black people could have a high chance of them being shot, brutalised or killed by police. They feel emboldened by Trumps racist comments and actions. So what you wrote is not true.

      1. Sorry Sev7 but those are not racist comments and certainly NOT racist actions! It sounds to me more like arrogance. Obviously ALL leaders are arrogant as are most rich people. It comes with the job/status.
        I CAN TELL YOU FAR WORSE THINGS OBAMA SAID!!!… Who said…..?
        “If the American people found out what my plans for America are tonight, they will be rioting in the streets in the morning.”
        Who said that?
        Who devised the Trans-Atlantic Partnership? The most Fascist legislation in World History?

        Please tell me what policy Trump has enacted that disadvantages blacks. Is it that he allocated 10x more funding for Secondary Education for Black Americans than Obama and Clinton combined? Is it because he has allocated at least twice as much funds for the renovation of inner cities and employment for African Americans IN HIS FIRST 3 MONTHS THAN OBAMA DID IN 8 YEARS?
        Please come with some real facts. I pay no attention to WORDS of politicians or “half” politicians as Trump is.
        The Liberal Media HATES Trump and LOVED Obama. That is why you never hear anything positive about Trump. (they even ignore the worst, (because the Dems support the same evil) such as Trump’s MURDER of that Iranian General (no trial) even when the Secretary of Defense admitted that they have NO EVIDENCE, to justify the assassination. Of course the LIBERAL Democrats will support any war and killing of anyone who does not support thier agenda).

        The world is not so simple as the Corporate Media and career Politicians WANT us to believe:
        “This person “good” this person “bad”.

    2. The murder of George Floyd (RIP) was very much a racist act. It is one of many examples where police have killed or brutalised black people with no penalty for decades. This is nothing new. They are merely given administrative leave with full pay, or reinstated to a new precinct.

      The difference between the past and today is that people now have mobile phones to capture the evidence of police crimes. But even with this evidence, they are still not being held accountable for their crimes. No one should be above the law.

      Eric Garner is a perfect example, when he was given an illegal choke-hold in 2014 which was captured on mobile phone for the world to see; where he uttered the words “i can’t breathe”. Now a “Black Lives Matter” slogan. This was blatant murder, but the policeman was not convicted. It took Eric Garner’s family 5 years just to get the policeman who killed him (Daniel Pantaleo), fired. You are using white supremacist talking points about him having a criminal record; a typical tactic they use to demonise black victims of police brutality. His past should have no bearing on how he was killed. This was a lynching; death without “due process” in a court of law.

      1. Most police are not racist, however most police do engage in racial profiling (including black police). Just as the black police that killed a young black man on the West Coast a few days ago.
        Hear the silence from the Corporate Media! No mention of that eh?

        Black killing black or white is not Newsworthy, only white killing black. There is so much violence and killing in the USA every day but only certain news makes the headlines. I used to work in an Intel unit; do not let Media, Politicians and wealthy advertisers (those that control vast sums of money) manipulate your mind so easily.

  5. That is Campaign rhetoric by Ralphy in election mode.

    After this passes all will go back to the usual, normal, if under ULP. With all the hardship around the country, it is hard to see day to day living improving any time soon because they have no proper plans for that.

    This will continue until people realize that the government is supposed to work for the interest of the community and protest and stand up for their rights and VOTE THEM OUT.

    Introduce labor laws that protect workers, guaranteed all workers have legal rights to a salary . Work for the masses of unemployed, Housing for the masses of ordinary people. Student Housing projects. and basic things people need to survive. Like quality education. Starting from the bottom up.

    Let us be realistic about everything. The only thing that can keep us back is fear. Fear that we can’t. Fear that we are not prepared. Fear that we don’t have the money. Fear that we are not capable. There is a lot of unused talent in SVG.

    (I would like to see young person’s impression of how they envision Kingstown in the year 2030.)

    We often underestimate just how inventive, clever, and strong we as people really are. We got to Unite, come together for a common goal. The future of our children and grand children.

    There are people with better ideas for our tourism product than what ULP has right now. Gonsalves want to impress people with an empty paper bag. There are people with better ideas for improving and maintaining essential infrastructure for the business community. There are people with better ideas to tackle the high unemployment situation in SVG.

    We, SVG have not yet used 1% of our true capabilities.
    When they go low we will go high and if they come high we will rise higher.
    We will rise up and live up to the doctrines of our faith.

  6. Just look who is talking eh! Just look at who is giving advice on “Black Lives Matter” as we are being reminded here of the P.M known stance on State violence.

    As in that ancient Greek tragedy, the Greek dramatist Aeschylus refers to a proverb in his work “Prometheus Bound” were a chorus comments the following to the suffering Prometheus, “Like an unskilled doctor, fallen ill, you lose heart and cannot discover by which remedies to cure your own disease. http://classics.mit.edu/Aeschylus/prometheus.html

  7. what a hypocrite. why doesnt he clean up his own backyard before worrying about America. Learn to threat his own black population humanely before he condemns racism elsewhere.

  8. I just read the things the PM said about the many things he’s done for the poor in SVG. He referenced it as part of our culture to the point really where he implied ingratitude and other insults to people who don’t agree with his crap.
    SVG police has maybe 10% public approval. Can anyone see this man doing anything other than what he is doing right now? Misleading the people all day long to feed the demon inside of him.
    We have the power to defeat this kind of Duppy, it’s called voting for NDP.
    That man need a real challenge of mass protest in K’town, or all over the country, then we can judge. Other than that there is nothing to this comedy show.

  9. Although Trump is not a racist against blacks and there is NO evidence to support that he is. There certainly seems to be an agenda in the US Government against blacks. MLK is one example as Bob Marley and maybe a few more. The Democratic Party has a long history against blacks and to keep them poor, uneducated and on welfare, but make it look like they support them as long as they vote Democrat. The evidence is over-powering. Why is none of that brought to light? Instead they attack people like Candice Owens for exposing the truth.

  10. Call them out says:

    We all know this man is a hypocrite, bigot and wanna be who is trying to pander to his base for political reasons. How can he be in solidarity with protest in USA and he puts police out in full battle regalia to quell peaceful protests? How could he be supporting protests in the US and you can’t protest here, even when certain privilege people take away a public road that belongs to a whole village of black people from time immemorial? How can he be concerned about the behaviour of people in the USA and he does not have any regards for Vincentians that is one of his political acolytes? The teachers and others are still waiting on him to act on the instructions of the courts.
    By the way, it is not the ULP government of which the prime minister is in charge of that destroyed Bigger Bigs and other black Vincentians lives because of political falling out? Ralph is so callous in his attitude that he doesn’t concern about his dishonesty, hypocrisy and begotry when he talks his shit.

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