November 13, 2009

Abuse of Rev. Job out of order – Gonsalves

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has defended Methodist minister Victor Job who was criticised for stating his position on the proposed constitution.{{more}}

Gonsalves, speaking on his radio programme The Comrade on Star last Tuesday on Star FM, described what he called “terrible verbal abuse” on the reverend by Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace as very disappointing.

Last week, Eustace wrote a letter to Job, following the minister’s own letter in support of the proposed constitution, which was published in SEARCHLIGHT newspaper on October 30.

In Eustace’s letter, he informed Job, who is also the Chairman of the Monitoring Committee for the election/referendum, that the New Democratic Party had no confidence that he (Job) was in a position to conduct the affairs of the committee in an objective manner.

“Reverend Job is not the only churchman who is

publicly saying to vote yes. And reverend Job had made his position quite clear in August at a select committee of the House where we invited submissions,” the Prime Minister said on his programme.

At that meeting, the Prime Minister said, Job made a submission first on his own behalf, then on behalf of the Christian Council.

He said that Eustace was present at that meeting and asked questions of Job, and that his submission was made public knowledge, being a part of the minutes of the Select Committee.

The Prime Minister said too that the letter in the Press was just a way of amplifying his position.

As head of the Monitoring Committee, Job’s duties include the overseeing of the code of conduct of the political parties and the following of the electoral process during the referendum.

Eustace, in his letter stated that as long as Job remained in the position of chairman, he would not be signing the code of conduct or attending any other meetings of the committee.

“For Arnhim Eustace to get on his high horse and to verbally abuse Reverend Job for writing such a letter and to say that he shouldn’t any longer be heading the monitory mechanism… it basically assaults Reverend Job’s integrity.

“The fact that somebody say that they are voting yes, that doesn’t mean that that person has no integrity and cannot monitor a process. That’s an absurdity.”

Gonsalves indicated that he was aware of a presiding officer in his constituency who had said that she would be voting no.

He further stated that he trusts her integrity as a presiding officer, and in any event, there will be other agents and officers who would be present at the polling station.

“Similarly on the monitoring mechanism, lots of different persons are there from the Christian Council and civil society groups and it is really, completely out of order for Mr. Eustace to attack Reverend Job so unreasonably and so viciously; but that

has been the trend we have had from Mr. Eustace,” he added.

Gonslaves cited cases where the Opposition Leader had criticised former Supervisor of Elections Rodney Adams, and head or the Constitution Review Committee Parnell Campbell, whom he said was appointed by Eustace.

The Prime Minister likened the priest, who is also the head of the Police Oversight Body, a group that investigates allegations of police abuse and brutality, to the Old Testament prophet with the same name.

“He speaks truth to power. We can’t have him being abused by Mr. Eustace in this manner and Mr. Eustace should be thoroughly ashamed of himself, and should apologise to Reverend Job and the Methodist community.”

“Right thinking people must express complete dissatisfaction with the way Mr. Eustace has dealt with the matter concerning Reverend Job.”

Efforts to contact the minister on the matter were unsuccessful.