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Ralph Gonsalves Cornelius John

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, left, and shooting victim Cornelius John. (File photos)

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Cornelius John, 60, the man who was shot at his Diamond home on April 13, says that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ comment about what the opposition might have said had one of their members been involved is nothing but an excuse for the shooting.

Ashelle Morgan, a senator for Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party, as well as Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Karim Nelson are “persons of interest” in the investigation, Commissioner of Police, Colin John has told iWitness News.

Three persons were present when John was shot at his home, after a verbal exchange with the trio, which he said came to his house uninvited.

Gonsalves has maintained that he was not making an excuse for the shooting when he commented on it on NBC Radio on May 4.

A number of media outlets and commentators, as well as members of the public concluded that Gonsalves was making an excuse for the shooting when he said:

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“If the shoe were on the other foot and it was an NDP woman, an NDP parliamentarian or high party member who had gotten involved in this, you know how the story was going to spin?

“‘So what you expect? There are two women. In this country, there is a lot of violence against women and it is a good thing to see somebody is standing up to defend women.’”

The shooting victim, a long-time supporter of Gonsalves’ politics, told iWitness News, on Wednesday, that his conclusions were the same as those of many other persons.

“Yes, when he was trying to say woman defending — we should glad that woman come and defend woman because we have a lot of woman abused around the place,” the shooting victim told iWitness News.

“That, to me, sounds like something you trying to whip up somebody, you’re trying to activate people to say, ‘Oh, yeah, woman abuse’ and you’re glad. That is something you are trying to activate. That’s how I look at it. 

“He was making an excuse but at the same time he making an excuse, he trying to get support from women to say, ‘Oh, it’s a good thing that women step up to support women –  when there was no abuse’,” John said.

He, however, said that when he was shot there was no cause for anyone to be defending a woman or anyone else.

“I was in my own yard doing my own thing.  I am accustomed to being by myself. Sometimes I find some quiet spot and sit down and if I choose to find some quiet spot and look at people passing up and down, that’s what I do.”

The injured man, who makes concrete products and farms for a living, told iWitness News he feels “miserable” about the fact that the person who shot him might be the assistant Director of Public Prosecution.

“Seeing that people in such high authority, people who people in the nation look up to would stoop so low and do such stupidness (nonsense).”

He speculated about why the trio had come to his property.

“I’m saying to myself, if I, as a man, ask a woman to go somewhere with me to confront another woman, I figure she would say to me, ‘I am a woman, just like that woman. I am not going to do that.’

“It sounds rather strange to me that men who are supposed to be leaders in the nation become followers. It is really annoying to see people who you should be looking up to for sound leadership or good quality, stoop so low with no integrity at all, act foolish. Miserable! Especially when you are leading people in the nation. It comes as if we don’t have a nation again.”

John said that over the years, ‘at least from the time I come up, grow up as a child, I support the prime minister. He used to be Ralph Gonsalves at the time, since in the days coming up, as a youth man when they had Yulimo – ‘Upward’ was the word. You used to call it the Communist Party. I supported Ralph Gonsalves from that time up to this time.”

He said that during the last election he used his truck to transport people to and from ULP rallies “without collecting a dollar”.

“So politics is not really a thing about this right now,” John said.
He said he recognised one of the three persons who came to his house as ULP senator Ashelle Morgan.

John said that while Morgan was wearing a COVID-19 mask, he was able to recognise her from her physique, voice and gait, as he has known her since she was a child growing up in the community.

He further said that it was the taller of the two men who came to his property that shot him and after the shooting, Morgan threatened to shoot him in the mouth, if he calls her name again.

Asked about the fact that a ULP senator was allegedly present during the shooting and nothing has been done five weeks later, John told iWitness News:

“It feels a kind of disgraceful to see people who you really support and then they could come and do you this.

Actually, I supported the party before that lady — years before –because since I was around 18 years, the first time I voted, I voted for Yulimo,” he said, adding that Gonsalves, as well as Renrick Rose were candidates.

“That the first party I voted for. That’s when Cato was there [as prime minister]. So I supported them from then, to when they joined with the Labour Party. When the prime minister had the first rally over at Diamond when they were trying to whip up support against the NDP (New Democratic Party) when they brought the Trinidadians to build the homes over there, I was at the first rally all those years  supporting the party.

“So when these kinds of things happen this time, I really feel disgraceful. Even right now, I have probably the only signboard still in from my gate with Camillo Gonsalves stuck up in front there,” he said, noting that while the election campaign billboard is not on his property, it is very close to it.

“I feel disgraceful for the way I support them and people in the party; at least I don’t know where they come from, just come and do this kind of thing. So I say a party you support, looking to say we’re gonna take St. Vincent forward, we have a nation to build. It really shocked me because that is not my idea of building a nation,” John said. 

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20 replies on “PM was making an excuse for shooting — victim”

  1. Well well this is what you get for lifting St Vincent higher . You are indeed a sheep in the abatoir for your blind loyality. It seems as though this is a vote that Ulp will not be able to count on in the years to come. The winds of change is certainly blowing in tbe air. The Ulp vote in East St George is tenous at best. The Investigation taking is gping at a snail’s pace.

  2. “It sounds rather strange to me that men who are supposed to be leaders in the nation become followers. It is really annoying to see people who you should be looking up to for sound leadership or good quality, stoop so low with no integrity at all, act foolish. Miserable! Especially when you are leading people in the nation. It comes as if we don’t have a nation again.”
    Abstract: This is not right, our leaders have lost their authority, It feels xxx watching the disgraceful court jesters. Especially when it is the Prime Minister, you are not above the law.

  3. So he is a long time supporter of this govt now I can see he got he got fried with his own fat. This is the govt he helped to re-elect well lucky him.I bet this matter is dead he will be offered a pittance which he will accept.Remember after he was allegedly brutalized,traumatized and given a one piece I am not talking about a one piece Kentucky fried all he was asking for was compensation an offer the alleged perpetrators won’t refuse.PITY EH.

  4. I just have one question what’s the Name of the third person why is it being kept such a big secret is it just me asking this question.

  5. Avatar Of Hyacinth Slater HarryHyacinth Slater Harry says:

    But the prime minister didnt shoot you.Thes problem is in the hands of the commissioner of police.What are the police doing?

  6. Avatar Of DdiplobloggaDdiploblogga says:

    So…
    The words of this gentleman are quite powerful.
    He is clear about his alignment with the political party.

    Strip away the politics, and according to Mr John it is what it is.

    As a member of the public I call on fellow Vincentians to join with me in asking the Commissioner of Police to release his findings of the current investigation.

    Over a month has passed and not a single word from the Commissioner of Police.

    Why? What about the investigation is so difficult to analyze?
    How is it that it is taking so long to tell us what you have found or haven’t found? Where is the report Commission?

    Let me say that many persons like myself also live with threats of violence against us. Many of us make reports to the police. Many of us live in fear of losing our lives.

    The question is: Can the Commissioner of Police permit us to pursue vigilante justice against our tormentors?

  7. SVG may be a small nation but we definitely have some very powerful people in high places here. So powerful that the COP cannot make an arrest for a gun crime. Subject to correction but I think the COP is not yet confirmed, therefore he would have to ask the PM what to do in this case. An awkward position to be in if he really wants to do the right thing. Any seemingly out of line move ( arrest them) may result in him seeing a junior officer rise to confirmation as the permanent COP.

    Mr. Commissioner I can see your hands are tied. I watched you in a short interview where you chose your words very carefully. I know you are smart. However, to Jon Public you seem to be part of the cover up. When I say cover up, I mean people are wondering why can’t these people be arrested like any other accused criminal.

    We may never know the truth but there has to be some reason be it technical or logical why these two or three people cannot be arrested for a shooting another Vincentian a seemingly unprovoked incident.

    I’m calling on the PM to allow Collin John to arrest the trio for shooting another man on his property. I also hope that they will loose their Fire Arm’s licenses. A licensed fire arm was meant to protect one’s life, his family and property from an intruder, burglar and or thief.

  8. Avatar Of Hashtag PrinceHashtag Prince says:

    It burns my heart to the core that a humble hardworking son of the soil was assaulted by other “classy”, arrogant, devious citizens and everybody is keeping quiet, hoping it will go away.

    Police keeping quiet, Church keeping quiet, PM keeping quiet…where are the human rights advocates? What is this world coming to??

    How will this poor man be compensated….where is the heart and conscience and justice in this matter?
    So there is no Rule of Law or law to rule for this importunate man? If this comprises of the society and system of things now, then this is demonic and devilish!

    Well it will not go away Vincentians- it will meet your daughter, it will meet your son or maybe your mother or father. Your sister or your brother, uncle or aunt. Even to those who did the crime- your seed will reap in good order!

    Stand up as a people Vincentians, stand for each other- for justice, fairness and respect.

  9. Soon the “establishment” will start a smear against this man. They will come up with all sort of nasty things. We may see this get nasty in order to make the TOP look justified in their actions. It makes me wonder why the ULP are even victimizing their own supporters. They should not do so to anyone, but this one is curious.

  10. Avatar Of Nathan 'Jolly' GreenNathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    Jamal no they will not, he will be dealt with. He is one of them so he will hobble around until they settle with him.

    He will get a few sheckels, he certainly will never get justice so he has to decide no justice with sheckels or no justice without sheckels.

    They should all be in the pot, the people who did this to him, the police chief, the DPP, and the comrade, perhaps if he takes the sheckels he should be in the pot as well.

  11. R did you say step down?He will never do such thing remember he loves to be always at the front, he loves the photo opp and he loves being everywhere except CANADA I wonder why?I’ll have to ask Papa Shango better yet I’ll look in my crystal ball.AMEN

  12. Avatar Of Nathan 'Jolly' GreenNathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    “Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I’ll show you a crook..”
    Harry Truman

  13. This needs to be investigated without any bias, PM Gonsalves needs to stay out of it and let the police do their job, plain and simple. If this man is right on who shot him and who is involved they all should be arrested, leaving no stone unturned and getting to the very bottom of who is responsible for the shooting and threat.

  14. Avatar Of Nathan 'Jolly' GreenNathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    It really is time to present this matter to all the agencies possible.

    International human rights law lays down obligations which States are bound to respect. … The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.

    It is now obvious that this has become a political matter with the alleged perpetrators being afforded protection by the leadership of the ULP and the police and the DPP, who are being politically controlled and are not acting within the laws of the land.

    Five weeks have passed, and the alleged perps still are walking about with their guns. Profoundly serious anti-constitutional behaviour has taken place and is being made more serious in the refusal to properly deal with this matter. This is a case of grievous bodily harm, threats with violence, unlawful wounding, attempted murder.

    Then there is the matter of those who are aiding and abetting alleged perpetrators of a criminal act to go unpunished.

    We should also be asking for sanctions to be put on by the US and by the UN. Can someone also inform Transparency International?

    This is the worst case of such an abuse of human rights against a Vincentian citizen or any other citizen in the Caribbean, ever.

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