Caricom diplomatic corps rally around Gonsalves
April 5, 2012
Caricom diplomatic corps rally around Gonsalves

The Caribbean diplomatic community in the United States is rallying around this country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Camillo Gonsalves, following his arrest last week by a New York City police officer.{{more}}

Delano Bart Q.C., Permanent Representative of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations, has written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, requesting that he use his good offices to cause the United States to “arrange for an investigation to be mounted by the relevant authorities, so that the injury and public humiliation suffered by Ambassador Gonsalves do not go unnoticed, and that the arresting officer is disciplined.”

Bart, who is the Chair of the CARICOM Ambassadors, also wrote to Her Excellency Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations. In that letter, Bart requested that Rice bring the “most unfortunate incident experienced by Ambassador Gonsalves to the attention of the host country, with the expectation that the matter will be fully addressed to improve the conditions and to promote the required and expected compliance with international norms relating to diplomatic privileges and immunities.”

Rhonda Chipman-Johnson, Consul General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, in press release said the Caricom Consular Corps has taken a decision to put on hold all joint activities with the Corps and the NYPD until an amicable solution is reached in the matter.

She said the Corps expressed its serious concern about the arrest of an ambassador, who is guaranteed protection and immunity under the Vienna Convention.

The Consul General noted that there “may be a pattern of conflict developing between the NYPD and the Caribbean community, culminating now with the arrest of His Excellency Camillo Gonsalves…”

“The Corps is of the view that this act sets a dangerous precedent by the NYPD and does not augur well for good relations between the NYPD, the Caribbean Diplomatic community, and all Caribbean nationals.”

The Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations also wrote to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the United Nations, in its capacity as Chair of the African Group for the month of March 2012, requesting that the group consider taking appropriate action, in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, “to ensure that the rights and privileges in relation to Ambassadors, diplomats and Permanent Missions are respected, honoured and preserved.”