Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has denied saying that the primary motives for some murders is so that a handful of young men can take care of their “high maintenance women”.
“… I have provided a multi-dimensional approach to an analysis of the causes of crimes,” Gonsalves told Parliament on Tuesday after quoting a ministerial statement he made on crime earlier this year.
“In fact, I repeatedly state that there is no one cause of crimes — there are causes of crimes. I’ve said however, that one has to look at the choice which individuals make,” Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security, said in response to a question from the opposition.
“I, therefore, never said and will never say — I have too deep an understanding of this phenomenon, from years of study, years of practice at the criminal bar, years as a minister of national security — far more than, I believe, anybody inside of this chamber — and I will never make a statement as attributed to me here that the primary motive is to take care of high maintenance women.”
In the preamble to the question, Fitz Bramble, MP for East Kingstown, said:
“You mentioned on more than one occasion in the recent past that it’s a handful of young men who are committing the homicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that their primary motive is to take care of their high maintenance women.”
Bramble asked the prime minister, “considering your comments”, to explain the record number of homicides committed in 2022 and 2023, to state the number of arrests that have been made in relation to these homicides, and to say if the country is equipped to address effectively the current crime situation in or if external assistance is needed.
Gonsalves said that he made the point at the symposium in Trinidad earlier this year “that there are some persons who have moved to crime among other things, there is an impulse to that and there is a factual basis for it in our country.
“At a philosophical level, this matter, since the Honourable Member for East Kingstown wants to misquote me and you notice I have provided a very profound and broad analysis of the causation of crimes. I have not in any way at all provided ever a one-dimensional nipple-piercing view of crime. That’s a metaphor.”
The prime minister was apparently making reference to a video in which Bramble let loose a tirade of expletives as he was getting a nipple piercing.
In April, Gonsalves told the two-day regional symposium on “Violence as a Public Health Issue — The Crime Challenge” in Trinidad that some men have chosen a life of crime because they have to mind pretty, high-maintenance women.
He told the event, which was organized by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Keith Rowley and attended by CARICOM heads of government, that people who become murderers choose that path.
“They have chosen to kill and they do so, by and large, because they want to make some easy money, they are in drugs, running crime. Some of them, in order for them to maintain ranks in the community, they get a fascination with guns, they associate with young woman, some cases beautiful young women who are high-maintenance and they have to rob and steal and kill and deal with drugs in order to maintain them,” Gonsalves said.
In Parliament on Tuesday, Gonsalves read from the First Book of Esdras, one of the books that was excluded from the King James version of the Bible over questions about whether they were “divinely inspired”.
In the discourse, King Darias had raised the question as to which is stronger: the king, wine, or a woman. And Zerubbabel was tasked with discussing the issue of women and he combined it with truth, Gonsalves said.
Part of the section of the text that Gonsalves read, says:
“A man leaves his own father, who brought him up, and his own region and clings to his wife. With his wife he ends his days, with no thought of his father or his mother or his region. Therefore you must realise that women rule over you!
“Do you not labour and toil and bring everything and give it to women? A man takes his sword and goes out to travel and rob and steal and to sail the sea and rivers; he faces lions, and he walks in darkness, and when he steals and robs and plunders, he brings it back to the woman he loves.
“A man loves his wife more than his father or his mother. Many men have lost their minds because of women and have become slaves because of them. Many have perished or stumbled or sinned because of women. And now do you not believe me?”
Gonsalves said the fact is that some young men — “not all of them, but some of them, do things and get involved because of particular women.
“But I’m not saying it is primary. I’m not saying it’s the only; I’m putting the discussion in a realistic way.”
He told Parliament there are several cases which have come to the police in this regard.
“… I can give several anecdotes. There’s a young man who is in jail, who had three women living with him and he had decided that he is going on a path of crime and at particular times in the month … that he will decide.,” Gonsalves said, adding that he is sure that Bramble has heard of the story.
“And the woman, subsequent to when he was arrested, gave the police statements to say where he will go and steal and rob and even injure people — not going to murder because that’s a matter which has to be determined — and to pay the bills and to buy things for themselves and they themselves give testimony about this,” the prime minister said.
Gonsalves, a lawyer, said he had been in the practice of the law “when that was the case.
“I was involved in several cases with these matters. So that when I speak — this is why you get a journalist who will report partially what somebody says or he may report something fully but, in this day, and age, for political reasons, somebody picks something and presents this as though the person who is speaking as all they have said,” Gonsalves said.
“Well, everybody knows that my mind is too subtle to speak in the terms attributed to me by the Honourable Member for East Kingstown. The fact of the matter, we all have a job to deal with this issue of crime.”
St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded 42 murders in 2022 and police have arrested and charged 11 people in connection with those killings.
And so far, this year, police have categorised 49 of the 52 killings as murder, and have charged 13 people as the homicide count has shattered the 2022 record.
“For 2023 forensic reports are pending in seven of these matters in addition to six for ballistic reports,” Gonsalves said.
He said that every country in the world needs to have cooperation “on matters criminal” and that is why St. Vincent and the Grenadines is part of the Regional Security System, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security and among others, Interpol.
“But St. Vincent and the Grenadines with the support of other agencies, including intelligence agencies as Assistant Commissioner Bailey pointed out recently are at the place to handle what comes to the police,” Gonsalves said.
Correction: The original version of this article stated the homicide count at the time as 51. It was actually 52.