SVG Permanent Mission wants an apology
April 17, 2012
SVG Permanent Mission wants an apology

The Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations has written a letter of protest to Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner of the New York Police Department, and has called for his personal intervention in the matter in which Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves was briefly arrested.{{more}}

The letter, dated April 5, said the Mission protests, “in the strongest possible terms, the assault, arrest and improper detention of His Excellency Ambassador Camillo M. Gonsalves, on 28th March, 2012.”

The letter requests that Kelly “unambiguously express[es] [his] Department’s regret that this assault took place; ensure that Officer Parker formally apologise for his assault against Ambassador Gonsalves; and improve the training and evaluation of police officers who are stationed in the vicinity of the United Nations and its diplomatic missions.

“As the Commissioner of Police in a city that houses close to 200 diplomatic missions to the United Nations, and hundreds of diplomatic residences, you are undoubtedly aware of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations… By the terms of each of those Conventions and agreements, the actions of the New York Police Department officers involved in this incident were in clear violation of international law and commitments made by the government of the United States of America,” the letter said.

“Further, the actions of the main antagonist in the incident, Officer Parker (Badge Number 21289), constitute assault, and demonstrate a level of recklessness and arrogance that reflect poorly on your Department. The Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations can only hope that Ambassador Gonsalves’ race, or that of his official driver, did not contribute to the outrageous decisions-making that informed Officer Parker’s actions,” the letter said.

The letter referred to press reports which indicate that the NYPD has taken the position that Officer Parker acted appropriately.

“Not only is such a stance factually and legally incorrect. It may encourage other officers to act in a similarly reckless manner in their interactions with other diplomatic agents of sovereign states,” the letter said.

Ambassador Gonsalves however retains all of his legal options in this matter, the letter said.

“While all permanent missions are genuinely appreciate of the important work done by your officers in protecting the United Nations and its environs, there is unanimous revulsion among the United Nations diplomatic corps and within New York’s Caribbean community at the abuses against Ambassador Gonsalves.

“The Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations looks forward to your urgent and unambiguous intervention in this serious matter.”