Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves. (FILE)
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KINGSTOWN – The St Vincent and the Grenadines ambassador to Venezuela, Andreas Wickham, will be provide with the “appropriate level of security” after a message was sprayed on the walls of his residence accusing the embassy of being “complicit with the dictatorship”.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who has publicly called on Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries not to support efforts by opposition parties to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas, told Parliament late Tuesday night of the incident, and condemned the act, noting the inviolability of the person and residence of ambassadors.
Gonsalves told lawmakers that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Louis Straker and later the island’s ambassador to Venezuela had informed him of the development, which took place on Friday.
The diplomat’s wife, Yvette Wickham, is also the Minister Counsellor at the St Vincent and the Grenadines embassy in Venezuela.
“And on Friday evening when he went home, he saw and it was reported to him that at a wall to the rear of the residence, written in Spanish the words translated in English ‘Embassy complicit with the dictatorship’ – a graffiti in bold red,” Gonsalves told Parliament shortly before the suspension at 9 p.m.
“The person who works in the house as a helper indicated that a little earlier in that day, some persons went by, banging on the rails and shouting.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the ambassador contacted the Venezuela authorities and subsequently wrote to them.
“Because clearly, this act is contrary to the Veinna Convention for the protection of diplomats and their premises,” Gonsalves said, as he sought to link the development to the position that his government has taken amidst the on-going crisis in Venezuela, where demonstrations over the last month aimed at forcing Maduro out of office have resulted in several deaths.
“Clearly, there are some persons who are – they are opposed to the stance of the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines in taking a lead within CARICOM to defend the principle of the sovereignty and independence of a state and the principle of non-interference and non-intervention in a country’s international affairs,” Gonsalves said.
He said that Wickham has indicated that he is not intimidated and that he knows that “such threatening conduct will not cause St Vincent and the Grenadines to abandon their highly principled position.
“Indeed, if anything, it fortifies us in our stance, that we are doing the correct thing. I am hopeful that those in Venezuela who have some influence over those who would want to deface the perimeter, the compound of the residence of our ambassador or to do things which are threatening, would desist, would urge that the inviolability of our premises be respected, in accordance with the Vienna Convention,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said he met on Monday night with Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Delcy Rodríguez, following her visit to Haiti.
“And the government of Venezuela is taking the matter very seriously and, of course, they will provide the appropriate level of security for our ambassador,” Gonsalves said. (CMC)