Rise above petty politics – Senator Camillo Gonsalves
September 24, 2013

Rise above petty politics – Senator Camillo Gonsalves

Senator Camillo Gonsalves says he intends to rise above petty politics which has prevailed in Parliament.{{more}}

Gonsalves, who was last week appointed senator for the Unity Labour Party (ULP), as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and Information Technology, told the members of the Opposition present in Parliament last Thursday, that whenever they find the opportunity to rise above petty politics, they shall find that he has a keen ear and an open mind.

“I am not interested in debate about furniture, or whose throat you metaphorically cut,” Gonsalves said.

He said he would prefer to do battle over issues which deal with the poor, the youth, education, the airport, national growth and development.

“As we compete, let us do so with dignity,” he said.

“It is indeed humbling to stand in the Parliament and it is a tremendous honour to stand here as a senator and representative of the Unity Labour Party government and the tremendous track record they have in the governance of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.

For those who have been speculating whether he would contest the next general elections, he said it was instructive to know that the demands of being Foreign Minister are such that those who had filled the position before are no longer in active politics, but while this may be so, they all retired undefeated.

The office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs is one of importance, he stated, because we live in a much more globalized world and because of many of the challenges we face, which are not of our own making.

Issues such as the global financial crisis and drugs, according to Gonsalves, all started outside the region and make foreign affairs more critical.

“So, we must strengthen our friendships, strengthen our alliances, both traditional and non-traditional and distant friends,” the newly appointed senator said.

Regarding his other ministerial appointments, particularly trade and consumer affairs, he said that he would like to work in an open-ended manner with the business community.

“…for the greater facilitation of trade and for the opportunities of improving foreign trade and for improving legislatively.”

He added that it was important to also do work with consumers on developing a body of law and practice that will defend consumer rights on a day- to-day basis.

In the field of IT, this area is becoming ever more important, in relation to development.

But the country still had a long way to go, he said.

“Because a lot of us think of IT as Facebook and laptops, but it is much more.

“And as a society becomes more and more technologically savvy, so too must our governance and so too must the government ensure that technology opportunities and access are equal to all,” Gonsalves said.

Lastly, he said that he came to this position with a wealth of knowledge and experience working at the United Nations.

This included brokering deals between the Iranians and the Americans; forging areas of agreements between the Arabs and the Israelis; and he has aided in building bridges between warring nations.

“With those experiences, the differences in this room, while significant, seem unworthy of the malice which is often displayed in the Parliament,” Gonsalves said. (DD)