SVG, SVG Budget 2012

PM to withdraw judgements against opposition MPs

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace (File montage).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Worship at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve has spurred Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to take tangible steps at reconciliation here.

Gonsalves said Wednesday night that he would be withdrawing two High Court judgements against two opposition Members of Parliament (MP).

“Mr. Speaker, I personally have two judgements against the Honourable Opposition Leader [Arnhim Eustace] and the Honourable Member for West Kingstown [Daniel Cummings] — two High Court judgements — in relation to defamation action that I had brought — claims that I had been defamed.

“I want tonight to indicate to this Honourable House and to the nation, that as part of the process of reconciliation, I shall tomorrow instruct my lawyers to indicate to the High Court that I shall not proceed in any action in relation to those judgements,” Gonsalves said at end of the day’s debate on the 2012 budget.

But opposition Members of Parliament did not hear Gonsalves’ comments first hand as they had left the chamber in protest against a comment Agriculture Minister Montgomery Daniel made about West Kingstown representative Daniel Cummings’s back injury.

Cummings had earlier asked Daniel to give way so that he could make him presentation then go home and rest.

At the beginning of his budget presentation, Daniel then noted that the last general election was held in 2010 and the next one is constitutionally due by 2015.

“And so, Mr. Speaker, if I, as an individual, is being affected terrible by back pains and there are four years to come to run for another election; I am not growing younger, I am growing older and so, my conditions would deteriorate … in the next four years. Mr. Speaker is it that I want to make history to be the next wheelchair candidate for the next general elections coming?” Daniel said.

Gonsalves, in announcing the withdrawal of the cases, at the end of the day’s debate, said, “Mr. Speaker, we have to make sure that we send the signals for some healing and I hope that tonight that process will be accelerated. I know where is a lot of prayer on it.

“Mr. Speaker, I’ll tell you, I thought a lot on these matters when I went to Bethlehem and on the night when I was at the Church of the Nativity. And the next morning, when I visited where Christ was born, I got a feeling that I should ensure as far as is possible, within the cut and thrust of competitive politics, for us to just lessen the vitriol, the harshness of language,” he further stated.

Member of Parliament for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings (Internet photo).

Gonsalves did not announced his change of heart on the cases during his two-hour press conference on return to the state from the 15-day trip that took him to Bethlehem or his 5.5-hour budget address.

He said that lessening the vitriol “will be a process but whenever it comes, it shouldn’t be too difficult to say well, ‘We’re sorry’ in moving forward.”

Gonsalves noted that in his budget speech he had referred to the foundation by preceding administration for work on which his Unity Labour Party, which came to office in 2001, has built.

“And apparently, that signal had not been picked up by everyone and I am not saying just on this side because of certain comments made by the other side,” he said.

He said he feels “particularly sensitive about this matter”, adding that when he had a foot injury two opposition MPs commented about it.

“… but one in particular was not making a joke, about my injury but was speaking about it in a crosstalk in a manner which I myself didn’t think appropriate and I said ‘That is where we reach?’,” Gonsalves said.

“And this government has a very good record with how we relate with persons with disabilities,” Gonsalves further stated.

“Of course, the Honourable Member for West Kingstown does not have any disability other than has been indicated that he has a bad back and I hope and pray that he recovers and I say so with all honestly,” Gonsalves further stated.

“I think tonight that the country would feel that we have made a giant step forward,” Gonsalves said, adding that he was “sorry” that Opposition MPs had left the chamber.

Meanwhile, Cummings told I-Witness News late Wednesday night that he had not heard Gonsalves’ comments and, therefore, would not comment.

“… I have not heard it, nor have I seen [it]. I was not in the House. I will wait on word from my lawyers. So I really will not comment on the matter. I don’t have any first hand information from the Prime Minister nor have I heard from my lawyers,” he told I-Witness News.

“I know that the matter is before the court and I will wait on my lawyers to advise me on what decision the court have taken and I wait to see what they have to say on what, I am told, the Prime Minister said,” he said.

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Discussion

14 thoughts on “PM to withdraw judgements against opposition MPs

  1. Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has DEMONSTRATED that, even when he takes INDIVIDUALS who should know better, and RIGHTFULLY so, to court for MALICIOUSLY DEFAMING his GOOD NAME, he can still FIND it in his HEART and MIND to FORGIVE them by WITHDRAWING the cases.

    I must give kudos to Dr. Gonsalves for his decision to drop the defamation cases against these two individuals.

    That said; Mr. Eustace should THANK President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority for inviting PRIME MINISTER Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to visit Bethlehem around the Christmas season, part of his 15-day trip to Bethlehem, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, because if he didn’t, I do not believe that he would have withdrawn his suits against him and Mr. Cummings.

    Posted by vincypowa | January 12, 2012, 11:30
  2. Just like he did with the police woman….. he forgave her as well, right POWA? Joker u are

    Posted by vincy in bad shape | January 12, 2012, 13:06
  3. Vincy in Bad Shape, can the Prime Minister do ANYTHING Good in your sight?

    Posted by Amazona Guildingii | January 12, 2012, 17:46
    • yeah…. to all the people who he has insulted over the years, ask for forgiveness.

      then resign!!!!!! let someone who knows about economics run the country.

      Stop lying to the people of the our country, is there anyway he can practice telling the truth??? maybe too late for that.

      do you think i’m going to forget the eustace too black comments and all that crap? do you think i’m going to forget the time eustace asked to go on national television and appeal for calm during the violence of the elections, and his answer was that he was not going, because he didn’t want eustace to look good standing next to him???? Is this is a man who loves his country or himself?????

      the problem is people like you let crap like that slide and it only encouraged him to do worst….

      Posted by vincy in bad shape | January 12, 2012, 18:13
  4. I’m just hoping that this will not encourage the RALPH HATERS to continue their defamation of the PM.

    Posted by no-nonsense | January 12, 2012, 18:47
    • No-Nonsense, I notice that you keep referring to persons who are critical to Hon. PM as Ralph haters. Of course your are just echoing Mr. Gonsolves himself. I am critical of Prime Minister Gonsolves’ leadership of the country and the bad examples set and wrong messages that he has sent to the nation. I supported the ULP in 2001. I was there when the roads were blocked and the human sheild was formed at Arnos Vale. I though that PM Gonsolves, if given a chance would have done a grate job in, not by just building the nation, but creating a just society where all could be respected and contribute. That did not happen. Instead what we ended up with was a system of vindictiveness, repression for NDP supporters, reckless economic practices, immorality, compensation for corruption and a whole barrage of other political ‘too-too’. I am not perfect, but I believe in moral principles. I hate to see social injustice. I hate to see wrong call right. I hate to see poor people being used a political voting cows, while those who benefit from their vote enrich themselves while bribing the poor with scraps. I hate to see politician riding above the law while ordinary people have to face the consequences of law breaking. I hate to see politician who like to cover themselve in political ‘too-too’ using the office of the DPP’ office as toilet paper. These are just a few thing I hate and will always condem no what who or what. So if this make me a Ralph hater then so be it.

      There is an important natural law called the ‘law of neutrality’. It basically says that nothing can exist if it is not subjected to opposite and opposing forces. So you can’t love if you do not hate as well. You cannot do good if you do not know what evil is. You cannot have positive without negative( get two piece of magnets and put like poles together and there will be repulsion not attraction. The magnet will not stick if there forces are not opposing to each other). We cannot love God is we don’t hate the devil.

      Therefore, to hate is not sin. To hate without a cause is sin. So if I say I hate the ULP’s practices of injustice, all I am saying is I love justice. When I say I hate ULP’s system of political repression, vindictiveness and victimization, all I am saying is that I love fairness and democracy. So if I am a Ralp hater… go figure.

      Posted by Inquirer | January 13, 2012, 08:26
  5. Yes, he FORGAVE her, because the EVIDENCE supports the DPP’S DECISION and was UPHELD by all COURTS INVOLVED.

    So to FORGIVE SOMEONE who TRIED to DESTROY your GOOD NAME and LEGACY is HIGHLY COMMENDABLE, which is something, it seems, is FOREIGN to U and the REST of the FANATICAL SUPPORTERS of the NDP.

    By the way, with the alias “VINCY IN BAD SHAPE,” most people will CONCLUDE that the PERSON behind the name is an EXTREMELY NEGATIVE INDIVIDUAL.

    Moreover, your MANY POSTS CONFIRMED this as well.

    Posted by vincypowa | January 12, 2012, 19:14
  6. I will believe in the genuineness of this forgiveness when he” forgives” Nice radio!! He was poised to LOSE those cases.!! Let us be careful not to mock God

    Posted by Kayrab | January 12, 2012, 19:43
  7. IF RALPH IS GENUINE LET HIM FORGIVE ALL THE PEOPLE HE HAVE CASES IN THE COURT AGAINST AND ASK HIS LAWYERS TO DISCONTINUE THOSE CASES AND GIVE THE TEACHERS THEIR JOBS BACK, I WILL BELEIVE THAT HE MEANS IT FROM HIS HEART, FOR NOW I WOULD WAIT TO SEE THE NEXT MOVE.

    Posted by UNITY FOR SVG | January 12, 2012, 23:45
  8. GOD help you all. how long will you continue to live in the 15 th century. Take a good look around and learn.

    Posted by tony | January 13, 2012, 07:02
  9. I will not judge Mr. Gonsolves here. I believe in the human potential for meaningful and moral change, with the help of Jesus Christ. I hope this is the beginning of a process that will manifest itself in a spirit of forgiveness and healing. Our country need this very badly.

    ASIDE: The beauty about democracy is that its allows the protution of all voices, opinions and sentiments. A democratic government duty is to protect the rights and freedom of all citizens whether it agrees with peoples views or not. Democracy must also protect the rights of people to acknowledge all views and expression but allow people the freedom to disagree and be critical to what is said without contension. It would be nice if on both side of the political sides this is acknowledged. I do not agree with the stands taken by VINCY POWA, NO-NONSENSE and others. But I now must acknowledge their democratic right to say what they say, without being prejudicial. However, I reserve the right to disagree and criticize and decide whether what is said is ‘too-too’ and to be able to say so. What we need to work on now, is to disagree without being abusive to one another in a personal way. This is something I have decide to work on myself. I hope other will follow and lift the discourse of this blog.

    You see, if PM Gonsolves can change, we all can.

    Posted by olbap | January 13, 2012, 14:54
    • OLBAP/INQUIRER, I’m happy to know you now acknowledge my democratic right and you yours. I do hope we can all lift the discourse as you suggested.

      I love that statement, “A democratic government duty is to protect the rights and freedom of all citizens whether it agrees with peoples views or NOT”. I know for a fact that this government agrees with SOME peoples views and at times they DO NOT. and that MUST be respected. My point is as a leader you must lead, there are definitely things that people will suggest that you will not accept. I am sure if you are a leader and you know that (A) is good for your business and someone else tells you that (B) is good, but within your heart you believe (A) is better you will go for (A).

      OLBAP, I hope you will also see the good that the PM did over the past 10+ years and commend him. I promise then that I will not refer to you guys as RALPH HATERS…lol

      LETS KEEP THE LOVE GOING!!!

      Posted by no-nonsense | January 13, 2012, 20:01
  10. Folks can’t you see that Ralph Gonsalves like he already fixed every thing his way in his Govt. Tell me which manager of director will not fixed every thing to their benefit? Ralph Gonsalves appoints that Court Prosecutor man and I heard he give him an exponential $$$ raise(tax payers money). So if Ralph look out for the Prosecutor interest,don’t you folks have enough sense to know that the prosecutor will also look out for Ralph interest as well.

    Next, this is the first Prime Minister in SVG and also in the entire world I ever heard going around suing people every 6 months. It sound like a childish act to me. It also sound as if RalphGonsalves real reasons for suing folks is more or less a ‘mind problem’ arising from a sort of ‘egocentricity’ one that deeply involves some sort of ‘Power control obsessiveness’.
    Again, I really cannot understand why a man wants to sue people so often because they voice their opinion. Therefore,Inquirer and Olbap,I 100% agree with your statement.’laws of neutrality’ and freedom to voice one opinion’
    VincyPatriot
    Neut&Ind
    Prof-Das

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 16, 2012, 09:07

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