Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he issued a statement on Friday about the on-going protest in the United States because the regional bloc, CARICOM had taken too long to issue its own statement.
Gonsalves, who takes up the chairmanship of 15-member group on July 1, said on WE FM on Sunday that Kingstown had been awaiting the release of a CARICOM statement, adding that a draft had been circulated at the beginning of last week.
“But when I called on Friday morning the secretary general about 10:30 and he said there were five governments which hadn’t responded, I really couldn’t allow the weekend again to pass, the working day, the Friday to go by without we issuing a statement. I felt that CARICOM should have made a statement in a quicker period of time.”
On Friday, Gonsalves issued a statement saying,
“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.”
He said that it was because his government had been awaiting the CARICOM statement that Kingstown did not issue one earlier.
“The CARICOM statement, I must say, was not as strong as the one that the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has issued, but it was a good statement, nevertheless that they were gonna put forward,” Gonsalves said.
“I was hoping that the region, having recognised that there must be a position on it and articulate a stance that this national issue within the United States has now become an issue of international human rights and therefore, available for commentary by all right-thinking peoples the world over,” he further stated.
He said he happens to know that CARICOM chair, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and Secretary General Irwin LaRocque were trying to get the statement.
“And often when you try to get a statement, it wouldn’t be the at the point of the strongest because you have to accommodate different views, opinions and circumstances,” 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.