June 16, 2017

Ambassador’s residence in Venezuela defaced

The residence of the Ambassador of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to Venezuela was defaced last week, an act Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves believes is because of the stance of SVG in defence of Venezuela’s sovereignty.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in a statement late Tuesday evening to Parliament, said he was informed first by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Louis Straker, and then by SVG’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Andreas Wickham, that grafitti had been sprayed on a wall of the residence in Venezuela where Wickham resides with his wife Yvette, who is Minister Counsellor at the Embassy.

“On Friday evening, when he (Wickham) went home, he saw and it was reported to him that at a wall to the rear of the residence written in Spanish, the words translated in English ‘Embassy complicit with the dictatorship,’ a graffiti in bold red,” the Prime Minister stated.

Gonsalves said that the helper at the residence indicated that earlier in the day some persons went by the house banging on the rail and shouting.

The Prime Minister said reports were made to the Venezuelan authorities, adding that these acts were in contravention of the Vienna Convention for the protection of diplomats and their premises.

“Clearly there are some persons…who are opposed to the stance of St Vincent and the Grenadines in taking a lead within CARICOM to defend the principle of the sovereignty and independence of a state and the principle of non-interference and non-intervention in the country’s internal affairs,” Gonsalves said.

However, he said that these acts have just fortified the stance that SVG is doing the correct thing.

The Prime Minister said that he is hopeful that those in Venezuela who have influence over those who would want to deface the perimeter of the compound of the residence of the Ambassador or to do things which are threatening would desist and would urge that the inviolability of our premises be respected in accordance with the Vienna Convention.

Gonsalves said that he spoke with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, who indicated that the matter is being taken very seriously and the appropriate level of security would be provided for our ambassador.

Ambassador Wickham, the Prime Minister said, has indicated that he is not intimidated by such threatening conduct.

The Embassy of Venezuela to St Vincent and the Grenadines declined to comment when contacted by SEARCHLIGHT.