Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has defended himself against accusations of hypocrisy as he helped to broker talks between Venezuela and Guyana over their border dispute even as, at home, he has refused to speak to Opposition Leader Godwin Friday since August 2021.
Gonsalves has refused to speak to Friday since he (Gonsalves) was injured as he walked among people protesting mandatory vaccine measures in Kingstown on Aug. 5, 2021.
He later said he held the opposition leader personally responsible for his injury, a charge that Friday has strongly rejected.
The prime minister has repeatedly said since then that he would not speak to Friday and would write to him whenever he would need to consult him in keeping with Constitutional mandates.
He repeated that position during the last sitting of Parliament on Nov. 23 even as he was urging presidents Irfaan Ali of Guyana and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela to “just talk” amidst a ratcheting up of rhetoric.
Some people have accused Gonsalves of being hypocritical in urging talks among the two countries, even as the Guyanese parliament has barred the government from discussing the matter with Venezuela, pending a ruling of the International Court of Justice, while he withheld his speech from the opposition leader in Kingstown.
“… I understand on one radio station it was said that Ralph is being hypocritical, Ralph is wanting to have Maduro and Irfaan Ali talk but I don’t want to talk to Friday,” Gonsalves said on NBC Radio today (Wednesday)
“They’re trying to compare apples and oranges,” he said.
“Every single month, I talk to Friday in Parliament. We have a process in which we hold our conversations. I mean, that’s clear. And if I have to consult him about anything, I write him in accordance with the Constitution. I don’t see where any hypocrisy is involved there,” Gonsalves said.