Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)

One week after saying if any of the opposition’s election campaign strategists come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) they will not leave, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says two such strategists are in the country directing a social media campaign.

He also said that these strategists are involved in the tapping of telephones — an illegal activity in SVG — but did not say what he, as Minister of National Security, or his government, is doing about it.

On Saturday, Gonsalves told supporters of his Unity Labour Party (ULP) at a rally in Biabou that the NDP is “trying all their best to fight this election on social media”.

He said that “the people who want to buy our passports and sell our passports” (citizenship by investment — CBI) are bankrolling the main opposition New Democratic Party’s (NDP) election campaign.

“They have three of them in England and two down here directing their social media campaign. And what they are doing, at the moment, when you go on the internet, they are using the internet to see what you like to look at, what are your concerns, and trying to send targeted messages to you to see if they could kerfuffle your mind.

“What they are trying to do is to do exactly what Donald Trump hired the same people to do in America. You hear me? But the point is this, we have a consciousness in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we have an understanding of politics that these foreign marauders don’t have any grasp of our culture and how we respond to things.”

Gonsalves was, apparently, referring to big data using powerful algorithms to track internet users’ interests to display advertisement.

This is the process that results in, for instance, advertising about a particular mobile device appearing on one’s Internet platforms after searching the internet for that device or a similar device.

It is the same process that results in internet users in SVG seeing ULP and NDP advertisement on various internet platforms, including Google and social media.

But Gonsalves added a more sinister twist to what many internet users have accepted as the price for their “free” usage of many internet platforms – accepting that they could become the subject of targeted or random advertising.

The prime minister said:

“For instance, in their spying on you in what you are looking at and what you are talking on the phone, they are tapping your phone you know; they are tapping your phone too. They are tapping it also. I’m telling you this.

“And what they are doing, they are using the data which they collect, which they would sell and that’s why you see a 91 phone number coming up and all kinds ah strange number coming up giving you all kind of NDP message from India and China.”

Apparently, the NDP has been using India or China based call centres to interact with potential voters in SVG, in much the same way that Vincentians who work in call centres interact with in various parts of the world.

Gonsalves said:

“That is what they are doing but all we have to do as children of our Caribbean civilisations, as Vincentians with a level of consciousness, is to steady our minds as Vincentians and particularly those who are interested in defending our independence and our sovereignty, which means something to us as a people, tied up with our development, if you have that consciousness, they could never break the wall in your mind, and that’s why we say five in a row.”

Gonsalves said a company in Switzerland and one in Hong Kong, controlled by Europeans, British and Chinese are giving the NDP strategists, the money to run the campaign.

“All these posters and all of these ads are paid for by people who want to sell your passports and bring a lot of vagabonds in this country,” Gonsalves said, without giving any indication of who pays for the same paraphernalia on behalf of his party.

“Let me tell you what will happen. If they (NDP) get in, people who don’t belong to St. Vincent, they are going to buy a passport and become a citizen and buy your citizenship, which means that they could buy up land as much as they want in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as they are doing in the other islands and other countries where you have selling of citizenship and passport,” he said.

In the 2015, Gonsalves also used a similar land grab argument when the opposition proposed to declare all Garifuna as honorary citizenship, recognising them as descendants of indigenous Vincentians who regard the country as their ancestral home. The declaration would have been void of the rights and privileges of legal citizenship.

On Saturday, Gonsalves further said:

“And when the Chinese comes, they don’t just come so you know; they bring their own workers you know and they mark off a place and you can’t go inside ah it, you know.”

He said that the NDP is seeking to re-colonise SVG .

“We fought for our independence, we got it. We are a proud and independent people. We are a member of the Security Council of the United Nations because of our independence and our sovereignty. They want to allow our country to be re-colonised, to our disadvantage.”

The prime minister said he want the youth, especially to understand this, adding that in the normal course of things, the youth will be attending his funeral.

“But, if you all who will have to bear the burden of having other people own your country, own your citizenship, recolonise St. Vincent.  They might want you change your language to Chinese, I don’t know, but that is what is going to happen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines if you allow that sort of affairs to continue.

“I am not making an argument here against the country called China. I’m, making an argument of the vagabonds from that country who are going to come here and want to buy up your passport, our passport, our citizenship and control the country and give instructions to the ministers of government. That is what will happen.”

In 2015, the ULP was surgical in its use of social media to reach young, more tech-savvy voters, but the NDP has caught up and this year seems to be outstripping and outspending the ULP in this regard.

Gonsalves said that the NDP is trying its best to fight the election through social media.

“But social media is not on the ground. It is all well, we are also on social media and we are doing a splendid job on social media. But we are organised on the ground, as is evidence all over St. Vincent and the Grenadines, wherever we may go.”

He said that disgruntled ULP supporters have hearkened to his advice to forget their grievances until the polls to “deal with our political enemy, which is the enemy for Nov. 5”.

11 replies on “Gonsalves says NDP strategists cyber spying, tapping phone”

  1. Why the PM not speaking about what is taking place in Canouan when it comes to selling our lands? And speak about the Taiwanese when it comes to what we have gotten outside of cheap cars and other depreciating assets while we remain technologically incompetent in farming and other processes? That sort of silly language was good back in 1970 not when we supposedly have been revolutionized educationally

  2. Maybe the Garifuna are the masterminds behind it all because I heard someone say a few years ago they want to come here and take our homes!
    I wonder what mastermind told us that one?
    Maybe aliens from Venus are also involved!

  3. Who owns the island of Mystique? What mastermind arranged that? Who is masterminding the activities on Canouan?

  4. Ralph’s complains sound very much like Donald Trump. He gave Ames […] and others […] free SVG passport and is now complaining about the process. He controls the movement of anything and person in SVG. Notice how he said election campaign strategists cannot leave. Will he have them murdered or arrested on fake warrants? That’s the talk of a dictator. He has divided the nation for more than 20 years and Vincentians need someone who will see the entire nation as one people. Someone once said, “A house divided cannot stand”, and that’s what’s playing out in SVG presently.
    Then there is his complain about social media. That’s happening all over the world, because that’s where you find people liming these days. […]
    I hope to return to SVG someday when a new leader is selected to steer the country in a more peaceful, stable and productive direction.

  5. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    He should actually be locked up for using untruths as scare tactics to cause alarm among the Vincentian people. Problem is it is all a lie to far, we have had so many lies we are sick and tired of it all. This lie crazy man should just go and leave the Vincentian people in peace, they deserve better.

  6. Are Vincentians not yet acquainted with Gonsalves “three Card tricks”? It generally follows as “now you see it and now you don’t” and it has worked very well for him for going on twenty years. As a keen magician he is well known for his conjuring and is indeed a profound illusionist.

    Moreover, I am given to understand that some Vincentians were clearly bought with a collection of glass beads and were forcibly brought here but now he buys others with “Love boxes,” lumber, the odd Goat or a sack or two of cement, as he warns of “white devils across the sea”! Poor we as many hear caar see!

  7. This guy keeps telling lies hoping to fool Vincy, but most of us can see the desperation to hold on to power. Time for him to go and rest the old body. He is tired and paranoid.

  8. Percival Thomas says:

    The PM is the minister for National Security. So he should stop people of dubious character coming into SVG. He failed to stop the “undesirables.” Like he has failed in so many other areas: unable to grow the economy, unable to reduce unemployment, unable to reduce poverty, unable to repairs roads, unable to unite the nation. Failure after failure. That is the PM’s trade mark. I will give some credit for AIA. But remember AIA going to take long time before it comes to fruition. The Rabacca Bridge and universal secondary education are two more credits. But this is over a period of 19 years. Much more improvement is needed.
    The PM is worried that the NDP has a more effective strategy on social media than the ULP.
    He asked where is the NDP campaign money coming from and conveniently forgotten that the ULP has more money to fight the campaign than the NDP. And he forgotten too, to mention where the ULP money is coming from.
    The PM spoke of vagabonds coming into SVG with NDP Citizen by Investment scheme. Poor PM forgotten we have vagabonds who born in SVG. Some in positions of authority. One or two in the the most powerful positions in SVG. But vagabonds are not supposed to be bad people. They just move from country to country. But I am sure there are a few bad ones in SVG.
    The PM mentioned the sale of lands, but this has been going on for a very long time. His government has been involved in the sale of lands to help the development of the economy and country. Probably some lands we sold too cheaply. And sometimes many Vincentians can’t walk on the public beaches where lands are sold.
    The main issue about land, is when you sell lands. Where will future generations of Vincentians live? Already too many young Vincentians are priced out of the land market, as in Bequia.

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