January 8, 2016
Social media posts reported to US authorities

Certain posts on social media made by Vincentians residing overseas are being viewed as inciting acts of terrorism on Vincentian soil and have been reported to the American authorities.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday that there have been calls on social media for his assassination and that of his family, as well as calls encouraging persons to burn down local structures and private property.

He said a context for the propagation of information is being inflamed by a number of persons who are on social media.

“Most of them living in the comfort of overseas,” said Gonsalves during a press briefing at Cabinet Room, hours after firefighters put out a blaze at the Public Works Department in Arnos Vale.

“There are calls to assassinate Ralph and his family. There are calls to burn down Ralph dwelling house, his personal property. They are encouraging people in the acts of terrorism to burn down the city,” said the Prime Minister while stressing that he is curious to hear what Leader of the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace has to say about the posts.

Gonsalves said that some of the persons who are articulating these things were here during the recent elections campaigning for the NDP.

“There are persons who left the United States, who left North America to campaign for the NDP and have gone back, some of them, and from what they believe is the safety of their home in Brooklyn or wherever, to encourage this kind of lawlessness.

The Prime Minister said the police have informed the United States authorities of what has been happening and have provided examples of the posts.

“I just want to make that point and I happen to know that the Ambassador himself, the American Ambassador to St Vincent and the Grenadines has been engaged to be made aware of the use of this illegality on US soil directing terrorist activity against St Vincent and the Grenadines and the leader of the country.”

Terrorism is defined as, “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

Gonsalves said that he has never mentioned these things before but in the light of the fire at the Public Works facility Thursday, he thinks it appropriate to talk about it.

On two separate occasions between January 1 and January 4, Molotov Cocktails were thrown at the west side of the St Vincent Electricity Services Building in Kingstown.

Posts made on Facebook recently by someone calling himself or herself Jeffrey Providence called for persons to burn down the police station and burn materials in the street, while somebody calling himself or herself Mildred Hussie suggested that persons could start a fire at the “big house in Gorse”. A third person going by the name Sharlene Rawlins said, “I agree, burn the capital down.”

The Prime Minister has a personal residence at Gorse on the Windward side of the island.(LC)