NMCM calls for end to racial slurs
November 18, 2005

NMCM calls for end to racial slurs

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has come under fire from the opposition New Democratic Party for what they have termed racist remarks. The comments in question were about United States president George Bush not being able to recognise the opposition leader.

Dr. Gonsalves has explained that he was attempting to show that he and President Bush were “buddies.” His remarks came following a call by Eustace for Dr. Gonsalves to “unsign” the ‘Petro-Caribe’ agreement. {{more}}

That deal is designed to help provide this country and indeed other Caricom member states with a stable supply of fuel from the South American nation of Venezuela.

The NDP has said that it considers the signing of the agreement to be irresponsible.

Dr. Gonsalves however stated that he was misquoted on the question of the “alleged racial slur.”

The Vincentian Prime Minister promised to provide two tapes of his comments “so that the context could be confirmed and the exact quote obtained.”

A release from the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism signed by Godfrey Samuel stated: “It would seem to be totally counter productive for someone of Portuguese descent to introduce race in an election campaign where the overwhelming majority of the electorate is of African descent.”

The NMCM has been sending monitors to the various public political meetings and they have accused the parties of not spending enough time on national issues.

The monitors are also of the opinion that the “entertainment is too excessive,” and that the parties “should encourage positive involvement of their supporters.”

The NMCM also commented on management of traffic, and recognition of monitors at meetings.

The questions of “character assassination” and “disruption of meetings” were also raised by the NMCM.

The meeting of the NMCM wound up at the Methodist Church Conference Hall last Friday, November 11.

Dr. Gonsalves was accompanied by his National Security Minister, Sir Vincent Beache.

Chairman of the New Democratic Party Linton Lewis was their represenative.

According to the NMCM, “the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the report to date from the monitors.”

One other matter which emerged from the November 11 meeting was the location of the recently opened NDP Campaign Headquarters in the North Leeward constituency.

Dr. Jerrol Thompson, the parliamentary representative for the area, has asked the NMCM to urge his NDP opponent Roland ‘Patel’ Matthews to relocate his office, as it is located only a few feet from his (Thompson’s) office, which has been in that location for several years.

According to Dr. Thompson: “There is likely to be music, large gatherings, private meetings and other high profile activities at each location which can undoubtedly ignite clashes and conflict between supporters of each party”.

Dr. Lewis gave his commitment to look into that matter and report to the NMCM.

The NMCM has urged both parties to abide by the election Code, “so that the campaign can be conducted in peace and goodwill.”