Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

By Mario Williams

The Prime Minister of SVG loves to talk in public about the goings on in his family. As a matter of fact, he gushes forth news equally about both his personal and political families.

A few days ago he was telling the public about the illnesses of both his lovely wife Eloise and his son Adam (from a former marriage), who is younger brother of Camillo, the Minister of Finance.

Sickness is no “respecter” of persons. At one time or another, everybody must experience this unwelcome intruder into the privacy of their families. So understandably, there is a great deal of sympathy for Gonsalves and his personal family circle and much hope that Eloise and Adam will each recover fully from their conditions and go on to live long and healthy lives.

About three or so years ago, the prime minister was telling the public about the condition in his other family — the political one. Gonsalves is on record as saying that the ULP is his family of which he is the head, an enterprise that he would defend over his biological relatives who do not support him.

During the 2015 election campaign, he made the declaration that it would be his final term as prime minister and he would transition to a new leader ahead of the next general elections, constitutionally due in March 2021, but which he has since promised will take place before end of 2020.

In the meantime, in November 2017, he appointed his eldest son, Camillo, as Minister of Finance and that heightened rumours about his succession. The two ministers who featured as his likely successor were Saboto Ceasar and Camillo Gonsalves.

When he spoke on the cabinet reshuffle on his party’s radio station, amidst widespread speculation about what the move meant, the PM told the public how his government has twinned Camillo and Saboto since the 2015 election.

He said that since 2015, he has been involving both men in very important aspects of the overall management of the economy. He added:  “You have to have the thinking in going forward, you have to have the particular trust in where you are shaping the enterprise. That is what I have done.”

Gonsalves said he knows that speculation would start regarding who he is tipping his hand towards to succeed him as prime minister.  “Every single job that Camillo and Saboto have undertaken or I have asked each or both of them to undertake singly and together, … they have made a success of the assignments,” the prime minister said.

In the case of Saboto, from the time in his late 20s that I asked him to be senator and then he was Parliamentary Secretary, then we made him minister of state then full minister. “He was grounded in Tourism, in Communication and Works, in Agriculture, in a number of areas other than Agriculture, including Industry, and now other things are being added on to him.”

Camillo was Senior Crown Counsel and Ambassador to the UN and Foreign Minister and minister in his current capacity and you see both of them in Parliament, you see both of them politically.”

PM Gonsalves said that Saboto has been able to hold and consolidate South Central Windward, which he has been representing in Parliament since 2010.  “His majority is not as large as Ralph’s majority nearby nor as Gustaus’ (Frederick Stephenson) own to the south, but his majority is like steel. It is being sustained and there are small accretions every time he goes to the polls.”

In the 2015 vote, Saboto bagged 2,476 votes against the NDP’s Addison “Bash” Thomas, who got 1,888; Gonsalves got 3,015 votes against the NDP’s Ken Johnson, and Camillo garnered 3,135 votes against the NDP’s Linton Lewis.

The prime minister also responded to the accusation that he is building a dynasty. “The point about it is this: What must I do? Must I say that a young man who has ability, intellectual, administrative leadership ability, in the case of Camillo, simply because he is my blood son that he must go to the back of the queue and that his ability must be hidden under a bushel?”

Must I say that because Saboto and I have been close way, way, way back—I remember once when I said that Saboto is my son in whom I am well pleased, they said that I am talking about the matter in religious terms, and it’s blasphemy?

“… The point is this: must I, because I feel that Saboto is an individual with immense ability, I must hide Saboto, too? I’m not hiding anybody.

I believe that the vast majority of people in the country today celebrating as to how Ralph is proceeding in making the initial moves in a transitional process”.

The PM took the opportunity then to repeat that he would not lead the ULP into the next election, although he would offer himself as its candidate for North Central Windward, which he has been representing for 23 years.

Then in early 2018, the notorious Yuggie Farrell scandal rocked the Caribbean and beyond casting a lingering dark cloud around Camillo’s star, the succession tract came to an abrupt end, at any rate for the time being. The “ancient warrior”, whose appearance and utterances expose the wear and tear of his years of combative politics, changed his course and remained harnessed in his gladiatorial trappings, desperately toiling to bring home one more win at the polls, however that can be accomplished, in the hope that his favourite son, his blood son, will have a more conducive political eco-space, within which to clinch the succession.

And what about that other son, the political son in whom the PM was once so well pleased about his “immense ability”, whose reputation has remained unsullied by scandal and who was harnessed with the blood son in preparation to succeed? Well Saboto’s rejection as worthy of being his successor is unmistakable and clear for all to see.

The PM is not renowned for his forgiving spirit. But in the face of this dynamic, Gonsalves’ political son was resolute when he “innocently” pronounced with much gusto that “Ralph Gonsalves does not have the moral nor legal authority to speak on behalf of Saboto Caesar at any place at any time in St. Vincent and the Grenadines…” On the other hand the blood son Camillo was ever so willing to lap up his father’s advice to maintain “a dignified silence” during the loathsome Yuggie affair. That deafening silence remains.

Many in the South Central Windward constituency think this scorning is unfair and spiteful. They are convinced that Saboto’s political father has gifted him an electoral virus whose terminal effects will take its toll on him at the upcoming polls. 

Watch this space!!!!

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

7 replies on “Has the Prime Minister abandoned his son?”

  1. I saw this coming and wrote about it years before Camillo came on board. Ralph started to clear the deck of the Titanic by getting rig of competition. Mike Browne and the lawyer woman – who incidentally was placed in a position to replace Ralph.
    Then there was Jomo who came on board and may have challenged Camillo, something Louis didn’t do when Vincent back-off and handed the Labour party to Ralph. Ralph had a coronation and is looking for the same thing for Camillo.
    The way women are treated in SVG has some bearing on father and son abusive action towards young women. Most men in SVG believe if Papa and Baby Doc can get away with it, then so can they. This topic is an issue the NDP should address for the election.

  2. When there is a dead rotting dog in one’s vicinity, one does not have to go to close to smell its stench, and so too is the result of the stench of the morally dead U.L.P and its leadership. The bad smell is being whiffed and sniffed even throughout our small villages.

    The ULP rank and file too know that its red-shirted family leadership continually makes outlandish promises of “great future prosperity” and freedom but only delivers joblessness as they follow the delusional aspirations of an old man who see himself as a belated Chavez/Maduro, Fidel Castro all rolled up into one.

    This delusion while he straddles the world stage begging for income support for the run-down, dilapidated, tumble-down backyards he leaves behind here in SVG.

    In the Red-shirted leader’s grandiose delusional mind, the cause for the ramshackle state of St Vincent and the Grenadines does not lay at all in his family’s despotic, autocratic tyrannical misrule, but rather with past governments, this despite the red-shirted family’s dictatorial rule here over the past twenty years.

    Could the stench of this red-shirted old man depart the nation soon? Could the joblessness that have resulted here from his folly be corrected easily? Only time will tell. Haiti after Papa Doc, Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe nor Libya after Muammar Gaddafi, states that had similar tyrants do not inspire much hope.

  3. This article of a mood existing in Public Opinion contains thoughts that are in the minds of many. It proves that politics are based on perception much more than substance, even to those who should know better.

    See Belarus today: The opposition leader who claims she won the election, has been a housewife and never has had any political experience. The long-time leader claims to have gotten 80% of the vote. I doubt the incumbent got 80%, and I doubt the opposition won.

    In SVG I could not care less if a politician has had an affair outside of marriage. That is a personal issue between those involved and has little to do with a leader’s ability to run a government. If that leader has had many affairs and incidences, that could be a different issue. It does however seem like our PM has extended his service until a time when the allegations against his biological son “blow-over”…has it? will it?. If he/they had handled it differently instead of the “dignified silence” (which seems like an admission of guilt), the “taste in the mouth” of public opinion may have washed-away much sooner. It seems like he is determined to make his biological son become his successor; but before that happens his son will probably have to be put into a position where the public perception sees him as more competent, accomplished or some kind of hero. Rescuing the Harlequin Buccament failure will not cut it since tourism is for the time-being dead. Until now anything his son has gained seems to have been given to him and not earned. The Public Perception of this is the second perception obstacle the dynasty is facing.
    If Camillio restructures the inefficient and very backwards SVG economy I would say that could win him favor, but it is too late for that and the NDP is already proposing such sweeping measures that the ULP should have done over a decade ago..

  4. Who is Mario Williams and why is he doing this? Can we take a look into your life and see how we can spin it for political propaganda?
    Just wondering where you crawled out from. What you’re doing is loathsome, very hateful and full of spite. I think you should look get the same as you dish out

  5. Can someone tell me why the focus is on the political career of either Camillo or Saboto at the hands of Ralph??? Who cares when they are all cut from the same cloth??? Shall we not talk about the lives of the poor Vincentians who by no stretch of the imagination are treated like dogs waiting for a bone … so annoyed with the state of SVG right now… Saboto has many a scandals and even if not, is that the criterion for good leadership???

  6. Dear admin could you please explain why my comments have not been published as I have noticed this for some time now. Please let me know if I have breached protocols or what might be the issue. Many thanks

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