Dr. Gonsalves: Camillo is fully qualified for UN post
August 10, 2007
Dr. Gonsalves: Camillo is fully qualified for UN post

As charges of nepotism are unleashed from the opposition camp, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that his eldest son, Camillo’s pending appointment as this country’s ambassador to the United Nations is simply part of his government’s advancement of youth.{{more}}

“I am looking to advance bright, young people, and this policy is continually being manifested,” said Dr Gonsalves, when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week from Malaysia.

Dr Gonsalves said that he would have understood the nepotism charges if Camillo was not qualified for the position. He said that to deny Camillo the chance to serve his country, when he had been so recommended by foreign minister Sir Louis Straker, would have been terrible.

“I would have been doing a terrible thing to discriminate against my son,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Referring to recent key appointments of young people to influential positions, Dr Gonsalves said that once a young person has a good character and is capable and qualified, his government would make the investment.

He referred to three of the four government senators: Rochelle Forde, Richard Williams, and Ronald Marks as examples of this policy.

He also cited the case of La Celia Prince, who is barely 30, but serves as deputy to the Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, Ellsworth John.

Dr Gonsalves also mentioned recently appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Alan Alexander as another in a long list of examples of his government’s commitment to the development of youths.

He also noted the elevation of Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, who is younger and has fewer years in the police service than some of the men he leads.

“Camillo has been a good advisor to me, not as his father, but as an advisor to the Prime Minister, he has all the attributes,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Dr Gonsalves said that his government has a track record of appointing suitable persons to various positions regardless of who they are, as was the case of Louise Mitchell, daughter of former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell.

“I made Louise Mitchell the head of the International Financial Services Authority, and she is James Mitchell’s daughter,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT that about eight months ago the Attorney General suggested that Camillo be made the Solicitor General, an appointment that he (Dr Gonsalves) didn’t allow.

He said that when he was approached by Sir Louis about this opportunity for Camillo he could not stand in his way.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has said that he couldn’t appoint his son to such a position, to which Dr Gonsalves replies:

“If he wants to discriminate against his son, that’s his business.”

Taking a passing shot at the opposition, Dr Gonsalves asked whether Camillo was less qualified than Dennie Wilson, the NDP’s last appointee to the United Nations post.