October 2, 2012
PM’s shut-eye photo wakes up Facebook

An international media photo purporting to show Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves asleep at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York last Tuesday has generated some discussion among Vincentians on the social networking website Facebook.{{more}}

The Reuters/Keith Bedford photo was published under the Yahoo News website’s entertainment section, dedicated to “Celebrity, television, film and music photos”.

SEARCHLIGHT is not publishing the photo because of possible copyright infringement.

The photo was captioned “A delegate sleeps during sessions of the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)”

In the photo, Gonsalves is slouching in his seat, his eyes are closed and his chin is resting against the knot of his tie.

His right arm hangs loosely into what appears to be the aisle, but his hand is not seen.

He is wearing a dark suit, a bluish-grey shirt and his characteristic red tie and has the device used to hear interpretation of the speeches attached to his right ear.

Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Douglas Slater is also shown in the picture. Slater, who is wearing spectacles and appears to be reading, is seated at Gonsalves’ immediate left.

Among the persons sharing the photo on Facebook was opposition senator, Vynnette Frederick, who wrote “this should tell you everything you need to know about the ULP leadership and administration…..TIRED….is only the beginning”.

North Leeward representative Patel Matthew, an opposition lawmaker, shared the photo under the caption “Your tax dollars at work”.

Margaret London, who was initially identified as a candidate for the NDP for the 2010 general elections, posted a link to the picture on Communications Consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Elson Crick’s Facebook page, under the caption “Elson — Entertainment if you please!!!!”

Crick responded: “Aaaaahhhhh Nobody else sleeping during the UN debate? Why pick on PM Ralph? Streewps”

Crick on Tuesday circulated to the media a photo of Gonsalves and his wife Eloise Gonsalves posing with US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama. He also posted that photo to his Facebook page on Tuesday.

This writer shared on Facebook a link to the photo, under the caption “Look whose [who’s] sleeping at the UN…”

Mixed reaction

But reaction on Facebook to the photo of Gonsalves at the UN were mixed.

“Wake he up tell he stop disrespect we country at the UN,” one person wrote while another commented “This is embarassing and hilarious. […] This should not be a partisan issue..this is a national joke!!!”

But others noted that the prime minister is just human.

“He’s a hard working n also human,” one person wrote, while another said: My pm was tried love u pm u r d best”.

For others the photo was just funny.

“Slater wake up the PM, or are you sleeping as well,” one person commented, while another quipped: “Looks like it was a good piece ah sleep too eh. Mercy!! Hand drop all thing. … I wonder if they were able to answer ‘present’ when the roll was called.”

At least one commenter blamed the prime minister’s shut-eye on the presenter.

“He’s not the only one there who appears to be sleeping […] probably more of a reflection on the ability of the speaker/presenter to capture the interest of the audience rather than of the level of interest of the audience”.

Another said: “Those meetings are always long and drawn out. (Boring)”.

Gonsalves addressed the UN Friday morning and delivered a speech that touched on national, regional, and international matters, including climate change and inter-regional cooperation.

He will hold a town hall meeting with Vincentians in New York on Saturday before returning home on Sunday.

Gonsalves told reporters in Kingstown yesterday that the annual UN meeting is a very tiring event.

He did not mention the photograph, but said he is a hard worker on behalf of the country.

“And I work hard. And I happen to recline tired — up and down with a limited staff — at the General Assembly, and it is a capital offence. Well, may heaven help us,” he said. (