Gonsalves on ‘warpath’
INTERFERENCES in the domestic affairs, and election politics in particular, by foreigners in North America and Europe have been an old problem for some Caribbean countries ever since their independence from Britain.
Best known victims of such interferences with money and so-called “experts”, are known to have been Jamaica and Guyana; Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda
But it’s difficult to recall an outstanding example of the sort of public brazen interference by some American business people, one a former employee of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as well as that of a British agency as currently occuring in the CARICOM member state of St Vincent and the Grenadines,
With a new general election expected to be called within the next two to three months, the foreign groups and agents have been increasing their profiles under the guise of “preserving democracy” (what else is new!) in that Windward Island whose prime minister is being targeted for, among other “sins”, his “unholy alliance” with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.
Ralph Gonsalves, leader of the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP), and a second-term prime minister, suffered a political setback in November last year when the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) of Arnhim Eustace, won a surprising “no” vote campaign at a referendum to change the country’s constitution in favour of a constitutional republic.
Foreign involvement was then also an issue.
The popular margin of victory at the referendum, was about 7 000 (29 000 for NDP and 22 493 for ULP). But Gonsalves has been on the offensive ever since.
Yesterday he went public with what he has released as an “Open Letter to the People of the Caribbean” to expose groups and individuals said to be passionately working to “undermine” his government and Vincentian “sovereignty”.
Apart from the specific information provided on the American and British groups and business people, Gonsalves referred to the opposition NDP as the primary beneficiary of the ongoing “foreign interference”.
He also mentioned Sir James Mitchell, former prime minister and founder-leader of the NDP, as an “advisory board member” of the Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) of Britain.
This agency actually promotes as “its principal business, the art and science of mind-bending” as well as boasts of having borrowed techniques from Adolph Hitler . . . .”
Since Prime Minister Gonsalves’ “Open Letter” and simultaneous forwarding of copies to all CARICOM Heads of Government, in addition to “sensitising” leading civil society organisations, I opted to get a response from both NDP Opposition Leader Eustace, and Sir James Mitchell.
I failed to reach the NDP leader, at the time of writing, in telephone calls to his home and his party office. I did, however, reached Sir James.
After informing him of the relevant sections of Gonsalves’ three-and-a-half-page “open letter”, Sir James said that as former leader of the NDP and prime minister, “he never saw anything wrong in having ‘foreign consultants for elections’”.
Not in business of mind-bending
So far as his presence on the board of SCL of Britain was concerned, all he was prepared to say was that “I have never been in the business of mind-bending of electoral support of the Vincentian people . . . .”
In relation to Americans operating out of St Vincent and inviting financial contributions to help “protect democracy” that was being endangered by the Gonsalves’ administration, the former prime minister said that “using Internet technologies to raise funds for any cause has now become a way of life”. He preferred not to get into the details.
However, for his part, Prime Minister Gonsalves has provided a two-page “attachment” outlining specific names of personnel and groups, websites and Facebook postering of those involved in the brazen campaign, a few operating from within St Vincent and the Grenadines, “to raise money starting from a low of US$5” in a campaign to destabilise his administration and make a mockery of his country’s sovereignty.
Gonsalves is very categorial in his statement that, “over the past 11 months, commencing around October 2009, and continuing, foreign elements ouf of Britain and the United States of America have aligned themselves to the opposition NDP in an insidious campaign of defamation of this blessed country and of attempting to destabilise the Unity Labour Party government led by me . . .”.