The ruling Unity Labour Party will not be forced into calling early elections, Prime Minister Ralph has said.
“I want to tell you this, including now, there is absolutely no way that the Unity Labour government would go to the polls other than at the expiration of its term or if I, as the prime minister consider it, not because of any antics of the NDP, but because there’s some reason, some matter, I want to go to the polls earlier on,” he said on Sunday, his 75th birthday, on WE FM.
General elections were last held on Nov. 5, 2020, and are constitutionally due again in February 2026.
Gonsalves was speaking three days after being injured as he walked among protesters to Parliament in Kingstown
“But not — 200 people can come and bring down a government? Absolutely not!” He said, using his government’s estimates of the number of persons at the protest, which other persons have estimated at several times larger.
“And I tell you this, I said it once before and I’ll say today: the political and security condition before my blood was shed is a different situation than after my blood was shed.
“And my supporters know that, the people of the country know that, and [Opposition Leader] Lorraine Friday, he must know that.”
Gonsalves was speaking from Barbados, where he had gone for medical attention for his injury.
He said that there is a tape of East Kingstown MP, Fitzgerald Bramble “saying to a police officer, man, leave the people to do what they want to do. Wha you putting yourself in harm’s way for? You think if anything happen to you Ralph and them care anything about you?
“That’s what Bramble was telling them. I have it on tape. And the other things, which were said by other persons which rise to a level of criminality. But that’s not for me, that’s for the police and the director of public prosecution,” said Gonsalves, who is Minister of National Security and Justice.
He noted that protesters lit a fire near the prisons.
Gonsalves said that in 2000 his Unity Labour Party had thousands of people on the streets protesting and “not one person got a scratch.
“As I tell persons, when the protest was going on over a week, it’s came to my attention that there are a couple of persons lower down the totem pole in the party we’re talking about, ‘What Ralph doing? Mitchell ain’t paying no attention, they need to do this’ — in other words, to do extra-legal stuff — like what you have the crazies in in the NDP.”
He said there are photographs from last Thursday of other people doing other things, including throwing water on Commissioner of Police Colin John.
“And they say that we have a heavy hand? Look at the restraint. But the thing, you cannot have that sort of protest in that manner and allow the crazies to drive you as they drove Lorraine Friday.”