January 4, 2013

Beat up on other members, leave the Comrade alone – Gonsalves

As 2013 rolled in, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said “meek” would be his word for the year.{{more}}

And, on Wednesday, at his first press conference for 2013, he said his political opponents should beat up on other members of his Unity Labour Party (ULP), because beating up on him will have no effect.

Gonsalves was speaking towards the end of his 150-minute press conference, about the performance of the Vincentian economy relative to others within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the larger regional bloc, CARICOM.

He said a recent newspaper editorial had accused him of using the economic situation internationally as an excuse and that other economies in the Caribbean were doing much better than we are.

“So, I know that editorial has imbibed the bias of the opposition and sups at the fountain of partiality rather than dispassionate analysis,” he told journalists.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, said that in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Vincentian economy out-performed the Kittitian, Antiguan, and Grenadian economies — all of which are on International Monetary Fund programmes.

Dominica and St Lucia, which are also members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), “are just a little better than us in terms of those growth numbers”, he further said, adding that the performance of the Vincentian economy was better than the average within the ECCU.

“Those are facts and when men writing, they must not say ‘I am writing an editorial. What can I do today to shaft Ralph?’ Is that the object for editorial now?” he said, adding that editorial writers have to respect themselves and their readers.

“Because, what they must consider is this: they try to shaft me all the time and I keep winning all the time. So, that means that your shafting doesn’t make any sense,” said Gonsalves, who came to office in 2001 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2010.

“You may say you support me in 2001, but you ain’t support me in 2005 and 2010. Well, it means that your support is not important, because I won when you support me and I won when you didn’t support me. So, that mean you think your influence is greater than you have,” he further stated.

“I know when I talk like this [at] the beginning of the New Year, they will say ‘Well, boy, thing —.’ But I have to speak like this because you can’t just beat up on me all the time. I must have an opportunity to speak my mind.

“Beat up on Saboto, beat up on Ces. They say Camillo is the prince, he coming home; beat up him,” Gonsalves said in reference to Minister of Culture Cecil “Ces” McKie, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar and Gonsalves’ son, Camillo, this country’s envoy to the United Nations.

“Yo beat up on me?” the prime minister said. “It’s a wrong tactic. It ain’t wuk yet … If people in love with this Catholic boy, they in love with this Catholic boy — end of story,” he added.

“For 14 years, you on me case — unrelenting. Yo’ ain’t get the message yet that after 14 years just give up nuh. Just wait until I done retire. Leave me in peace leh me win the one in 2015 again and take on Saboto, take on Ces, take on Camillo.”

General elections here are constitutionally due in 2015 and Gonsalves, who turns 67 in August, said he would lead the ULP to the polls.

“Take on who yo’ want to take on. Maybe you will get better luck with them fellas. Just leave the Comrade alone. That should be a New Year thing for them. They might get better. People might say ‘Well, now they leaving the Catholic boy who we love —.

“… So, please, that is my request to them, beat up on the other fellas; just leave me alone because that ain’t make sense. Yo ain’t succeeding,” a laughing Gonsalves said. (