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ST. VINCENT | PM defends appointment of honorary consul

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Aug 7, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has defended the appointment of an honorary consul to Oman, questioning the motives of those who “want to undermine and sabotage the government”.

A St. Vincent and the Grenadines national, Deron Grant, who has been living in the Arab country on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, has been announced as the country’s non-paid diplomat.

Gonsalves at OAS

“I must have someone appointed an honorary consul who wants to undermine and sabotage the government? I ask that simple question,” Gonsalves said.

The announcement by the government has triggered criticism from some quarters, with some people noting Grant’s apparent closeness to the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and others questioning whether his appointment was reward for his contributions to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund.

But Gonsalves said having contributed to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund “should not be a reason to deny you. That is not the reason why.

“We are a serious government. We look at the young man and to see what is the contributions which he can make,” he said.

Gonsalves said that while the government is still awaiting a response to its notification regarding the appointment of Grant, the proposed honorary consul “is an accomplished young man.

“He started on the YES (Youth Empowerment Service) Programme here. He is very well respected in Oman. As far as I know, Deron is not a member of the Unity Labour Party, but if he were, that wouldn’t disqualify him,” Gonsalves said in a call to a local radio station here.

“Look at the interest this young man is showing in so many things. The Zero Hunger Trust Fund, for instance, I notice that he gave EC$10,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) last year or some number close to that and he has given EC$5,000 this year. He came with a number of things dealing with tennis — lawn tennis.”

The Zero Hunger Trust Fund has been set up as the government pursued the goal of trying to ensure that by 2020, no Vincentian goes to bed hungry.

Gonsalves noted, however, that Grant’s appointment has not been finalised.

“Now, we have to await the response from Oman because usually, you will say to them, we have done all the vetting of this person, we’d like to send this person to you, is this person acceptable to you? That’s what happens with honorary consuls. We don’t have a number of Vincentians who act as honorary consuls. Usually, honorary consul is a position granted — it’s not a paid job you know.”

  • Countries: St_Vincent_Grenadines