Security no excuse for arrest of diplomat – Foreign Minister

  • Kingstown to raise with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton the arrest of a its U.N. envoy in New York.
  • ‘An incident like this can’t just go like that with a handshake. …  we, as small, developing countries, black people, ought not to be intimidated.’ – Foreign Minister.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sen. Douglas Slater (File photo)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The need for security at diplomatic missions is no excuse for the arrest of Camillo Gonsalves, this country’s ambassador to the United Nations, outside his office building in New York on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sen. Douglas Slater said Thursday morning.

Gonsalves on Wednesday night received medical attention at a New York hospital for injuries to his left hand and shoulder, sustained when a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer handcuffed him as he made his way to his office.

The NYPD said Thursday that Gonsalves was arrested and placed in handcuffs after he refused to identify himself.

“The officer asked the ambassador to stop, he refused, he continued and entered into the location, and the officers followed him into the location,” the NYPD said in a brief statement.

Slater said on Thursday that the Unity Labour Party administration, headed by Gonsalves’ father, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, would “leave no stones unturned” in its quest to seek redress.

The government on Thursday morning had already assembled a team of lawyers to travel to New York and had been contacted by civil rights activists in the United States.

“Something like that needs to be investigated,” said Slater, who rejected the cop’s explanation that Gonsalves behaved disorderly. “We don’t accept that. I trust the account given by Ambassador Gonsalves.”

He said an investigation would “make a lot of sense” because of the surveillance cameras outside the building and Gonsalves welcomes an inquiry into the incident “so that they will see for themselves … exactly what happened.

“As you would imagine, it is a serious and important diplomatic incident,” Slater further said, adding that Kingstown had held discussions with its ambassador in Washington and Prime Minister Gonsalves.

“… we are leaving no stones unturned to get whatever redress we think is necessary,” he said. “There is no reason to believe that after being there for five years, you have never heard of any incidents of disrespect, … he will just all of a sudden demonstrate a behavioural pattern that necessitate his arrest by New York police. It just doesn’t sound right, logical.”

And while Kingstown had assembled a legal team to send to New York, Slater said that his government had been approached “by very leading civil rights leaders in the United States” and was “waiting to make some decision”.

He noted that the arrest of Gonsalves “comes on the heels of the Trayvon Martin incident in Florida and you never know the reasons for such action”. George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch captain, shot and killed an unarmed Martin this month and the case has spurred public outrage and debate about racial profiling.

‘Astounded’ but trying to understand

Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves (U.N. file photo).

Slater said that while he was “astounded” by Gonsalves’ arrest, he was also trying to understand the logic behind the cop’s actions.

“Was he ignorant of who the persons was? That is possible. For that to be so, he had to be a rookie, a new guy on the block. And … if he is ignorant, I think the NYPD has something to explain. I would imagine, if you are going to put a police officer to guard diplomatic buildings, you are to coach them and direct them accordingly as to how they are expected to behave,” Slater said.

He said that while security officers at a building housing diplomatic missions might not know every diplomat, “that in itself … should suggest that you …, in a very cautious and appropriate manner, fit in with what is expected at a diplomatic mission”.

“You should not be going and assuming – despite, I understand, the need for security – … that everybody who passes there is a terrorist or a threat. The onus is on you to find some way not to infringe on the diplomatic rights and privileges of the bona fide persons who enter and leave that building. So, I don’t see that as an excuse. … It is for you to ensure that you don’t cross that line and I think that they have some explaining to do,” Slater said.

The incident took place outside the building which houses the Israeli mission, which has added security.

NYDP comments could ‘aggravate situation’

Slater, responding to Internet accounts of an NYDP spokesperson’s comments on the development, said that the NYPD “may aggravate the situation if they suggest that Ambassador [Gonsalves] was behaving in a way that he certainly wasn’t”.

“That would be adding insult to injury,” he further said, adding that the matter is a “delicate” one.

He noted the “very excellent relationship” this country has with the United States and said that while the development is unrelated to those relations, “an incident like this can’t just go like that with a handshake”.

“… we have been in contact with the State Department and I am certain discussions will continue,” Slater said, adding that he and Gonsalves plan to raise the incident with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at the Summit of the Americas in two weeks.

“These are things that we, as small, developing countries, black people, ought not to be intimidated. We must stand our ground. Stand for respect. We are a sovereign country with equal rights in the United Nations as the biggest country and respect is always due, both ways.

“We should respect the host country and their laws and I have no reason to believe that Ambassador did not. And therefore, we know that sometimes things happen that is not necessary a policy of the host country. But that is not to say when these incidents occur that we must not expose it for what it is,” Slater further said.

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21 thoughts on “Security no excuse for arrest of diplomat – Foreign Minister

  1. That family is an unruly, disorderly family. Ralph had no home training. I am not surprised at his son’s behavior. Poor Vincentians money is going to be used to sue the United States Government. What an A-Hole!

    Posted by L Sutton | March 29, 2012, 19:17
  2. Are you spiteful bunch of ULP idiots kidding. Your all as stupid as each other, the man deserves the sack, give him the boot, he admits his wrong doing. Your all trying to support him in his undiplomatic behaviour. The boy is too big for his boots.

    Send him all paid holiday with his father to Cuba.

    Posted by Peter | March 29, 2012, 20:11
  3. PETER. I hope you send a message to Eustace, advising him to shut is big mouth up until he do his house work this time before getting involve and coming out looking like a jackass again.

    Posted by kyshit | March 29, 2012, 20:44
  4. Folks,
    The entire story is still to be heard. Slater has one side of the coin and should shut his rambling until the entire story is investigated.

    Posted by Vere | March 29, 2012, 21:27
  5. VERE ,the FOREIGN MINISTER of St. Vincent and the Grenadines should SHUT HIS MOUTH on a MATTER DEALING with the AMBASSADOR of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the UNITED NATIONS when the STORY is ALREADY in the PUBLIC DOMAIN?

    People who are reading your post and that of the others are probably shaking their HEADS at the IGNORANCE on their screens.

    Posted by vincypowa | March 29, 2012, 22:52
  6. It is public domain,but it’s 50/50,some are saying it’s the usual new york police racial profiling,but others are saying he should have shown his ID…but seriously given the israelis are in the building you can’t blame the cop for being stringent about security,especially now with the nuclear impasse over iran

    Posted by James | March 30, 2012, 00:31
  7. I never undersatand why the pm says “Ambassador Gonsalves”, people would be more sympathetic if he said “ooh Lordeee,Lord dey lock up me little boy Camillo”,instead of the british formal(lawyer) approach…but seriously though if Camillo or Ralph turn it into a big deal,the racist media,aka Fox might go dig up all sorts of dirt on Camillo,it’s best to just call it a misunderstanding and move on.Please nobody draw comparisons with the cell phone issue or say the children are arrogant and spoilt,they’re just kids

    Posted by James | March 30, 2012, 00:40
  8. The Gonsalves infant says he doesn’t understand what happened. But he already told us and the rest of the world, he got out of his car, went under or around a police barrier. When confronted by a police officer he ignored him and kept walking to the elevator, when asked for his ID he refused, when asked why he ignored the policeman’s commands he said ” you couldn’t of been talking to me”.

    Well after telling us all that, and then saying he doesn’t understand what happened, like his father he is an arrogant idiot, not fit to represent SVG, the undiplomatic, ninja nonse diplomat.
    Daddy send him up more pampers because he’s not really grown out of them yet.

    Posted by Peter | March 30, 2012, 11:19
  9. I really don’t know what that boy Slater is saying, he couldn’t even represent his constituency and so he couldn’t even win another seat in SouthLeeward. Is this the kind of guy Gonsalves put to represent STV and the GRE on the international level. The boy can’t even speak,its a shame. I know that there are far more intelligent people in STV than some of these comedians who are senators and Ministers of Government. In SVG if you can’t lick boots,you get no position. Besides,some of the lick boots boys them think they can do any thing and get away with it in SVG, but not in the USA. Yes Gonsalves lick boots boys them going out slapping Vincentians (civilians) and getting away with it. The ULP lawmakers almost wanted to or arrested Eustace and his NDP parliamentary representative in the House and get away with it. This demonstrate the behavior of people with power. So what if Camillo get arrested! He for sure will not be the first and the last,because even if Daddy Gonsalves does something in the US that deserves and arrest, his anus will be arrested too. Millionaires,judges,doctors policemen,governors,mayors ect get arrested in America from year to year. So is Camillo Gonsalves above the law?. Yes in SVG and the caribbean but not in the developed nations. All this money, that Gonsalves planning to invest talking about sending team of lawyers to the USA is going to be wasted in exchanged for an apology. Daddy Gonsalves should be fortunate that nothing happened to his son and close the argument. What the hell does Obama and Hilary has to do with small matters like just an arrest? In the USA an “arrest and quick release”,especially, when nobody was hurt and no serious charges was applied is nothing,absolutely insignificant. In the USA a man is just a man,no one is above the law. Christ was arrested and sent to trial for no reason,who the hell had cared?


    Posted by Prof-Dasilva | March 30, 2012, 11:58
  10. Why is this man not in the hospital practicing medicine and actually helping the people of SVG?If there’s one doctor who can work without medicine it’s probably Slater,he needs to get in there and show the young ones how it’s done,so they wont waste tax payers money on frivolous things like medicine.Montgomery Daniel should be well versed in the indigenous medicinal plans used by the caribs before the colonials came and brought ther medicines to enslave us

    Posted by James | March 30, 2012, 15:38

    Camillo Gonsalves is the PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the UNITED NATIONS.

    Does that mean anything to you as a Vincentian?

    That said; your IGNORAMUS post is almost TANTAMOUNT to saying what the BIG DEAL is if SUSAN RICE, the USA AMBASSADOR to the UNITED NATIONS, was ARRESTED by a VINCY POLICE OFFICER as she exited a vehicle with DIPLOMATIC PLATES on her way towards the PERMANENT MISSIONS BUILDING where she resides at the UNITED NATIONS, which is LOCATED in KINGSTOWN, SVG.

    I have NEVER COME ACROSS such IGNORANT PEOPLE who called themselves VINCENTIANS until now. Luckily for this BLESSED NATION, the MAJORITY are not of that MINDSET.

    Not only are you guys EMBARRASSING yourselves, you’re EMBARRASSING your own COUNTRY with your PATHETIC reasoning/rational for the WORLD to see.

    Anyhow, here is the PM speaking on the matter on Thursday morning.

    Posted by vincypowa | March 30, 2012, 17:46
  12. Unfortunately VINCYPOWA, Gonsalves is a known and self admitted liar, therefore looking at his speech should be just that a look, because we can never tell truth from lies when he speaks. Inevitably he plants a few mis-truths in everything that he says, which makes the whole thing total lie.

    Donkey Gonsalves is our prime minister and almost every other kind of minister, he has always had a bad mouth. His talking out of place to people over the years has brought him numerous slaps, which tended to keep him in check. But since he came to power he surrounded himself with police body guards to guard him against slaps and punches.
    Like most cowards he takes advantage of his police protection and verbally attacks every decent person who he sees as a threat to his attempted dictatorship, and the creation of a Gonsalves dynasty. You cannot expect his children not to think that they are also untouchables. Infant Gonsalves got his position as Ambassador at the UN by the intervention of Donkey Gonsalves, of course Donkey tried to hide up his involvement in Infant getting the job. There were others who should of been considered for the job but were not.

    The arrogance and conceit that Infant Gonsalves has shown in this current matter just shows that he was the wrong choice for the job.

    Gonsalves has employed a whole lot of scum to protect him on the Internet, people such as VINCYPOWA, JASON, STARR, who lie on the behalf of Gonsalves to protect him from the truth. There are many others who are led to believe they are protecting the Labour Party, not understanding that they are in fact supporting a bunch of Marxist’s. There are also some Cuban trained such as SLATER and several other ULP rif-raf.

    Where did all those US dollars that flooded Kingstown come from, at least US$1 million in cash. Most of the Marxist rubbish of the party and family members had a share out.

    The whole Gonsalves family is out of control.

    Posted by Peter | March 31, 2012, 09:03
  13. Are you suggesting that I read or listen to a speech by Gonsalves and believe anything that he says, he is a known and self admitted liar, and a big one at that.

    We all know that besides telling lies he also signs agreements that are unconstitutional and unenforceable.

    Like you VINCYPOWA the liar, you see when you repeat his lies, its like being a receiver of stolen property, it makes you as bad, if not worse than the thief. Remember Gonsalves said “SHOW ME A LIAR AND I WILL SHOW YOU A THIEF”, yes he actually said that, wasn’t it good of him to confirm the link.

    When I was eating a wonderful breakfast in my hotel room, I got to thinking about dogs. You know some dogs piss on furniture and people, they leave the property and go shagging bitches on heat, they try and shag the cat, they roll in goat and pig shit, well the answer to that kind of behaviour is castration.

    Here is the brilliant part. When the recently arrested Gonsalves the ambassador, and his father piggy Gonsalves the $20 fertilizer man, and Slater the no rater, when they go to Cuba for the Poodle brain transplant, why not castrate them at the same time. Now isn’t that an absolutely brilliant idea, no more 4 am wanderings, no pissing all over the New York police.

    And as an afterthought VINCYPOWA, if you ask massa nice he will take you to Cuba as well, the operation is cheap and you can all pay in US dollars.

    Posted by Peter | March 31, 2012, 09:19
  14. VincyPowa SVG number one notorious liar Peter responded well on my behalf so I don’t need to say to much but what I will add is that Camillo could have been the President of SVG or the Secretary General of the United Nation for my part it does make a difference.If the boy didn’t show some respect then he couldn’t get some. There isn’t a problem here,I haven’t seen Camillo did anything out of the norm here. It is the norm for the ULP law makers to behave disrespectfully in SVG towards NDP representatives their own policemen and the civilians and so it will be a normal thing for them to demonstrate this behavior anywhere where else. The only difference is that the penalty against vincentian lawmakers and Diplomats will be different in the developed nations especially the USA. I read Camillo statement and he admits that he ignored the police officer and then turn around and admits that he refused or fail to cooperate in so much that the officer had to call for backups. The first offense is a disorderly conduct and the second one is resisting an arrest. Papa Gonsalves knows the law I don’t anticipate an argument surrounding the legal action taken by the USA police officer, an action that would have been taken by any US police officer in such a situation against any one. Furthermore sick head Powaboy, I am certain if Susan Rice the US Ambassador see a road block and an officer standing there she will wisely make her decision between choosing to remove the block or questioning the police officer. So fool stop trying to make a propaganda with that woman name so uneducatedly,foolishly and unintelligently.
    That all for now as usual FoolPowa.

    Posted by Prof-Dasilva | April 1, 2012, 14:01
  15. MY DECEITFUL n NUTTY PROFESSOR, you cannot be this DENSE.

    I keep telling you to use a DIFFERENT ALIAS, because your LIMITED REASONING SKILLS and LACK of COMPREHENSION always seem to HINDER you when it comes to DECIPHERING what is put before your eyes.

    What RESPECT did the police officer, who was a mere sitting guard, showed the AMBASSADOR of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who has INTERNATIONAL LAW on side and even USA LAW on side when one looks at the ACTION taken by the POLICE OFFICER?

    Moreover, what if CAMILLO was the AMBASSADOR of ISRAEL and he had done exactly what he did, what do you think would have happened to that police officer for his action against the Israeli Ambasador?

    I know what would have likely happened in the case of the USA GOVERNMENT response to the incident. The AMBASSADOR from ISRAEL would have heard from the STATE DEPARTMENT immediately, with an APOLOGY and other ACTIONS forthcoming.

    Moreover, that OFFICER was going to be HISTORY at the UN, and he probably would have been in JEOPARDY of LOSING his job.

    That said; do you not understand that the BARRICADES are there for when protest marches and other matters of that nature are taking place OUTSIDE of the UNITED NATIONS??

    Camillo stated that he has been walking passed that barricade for over 4 years without any incidents. He has also stated that other DIPLOMATS as well has been doing the same. Is there something that you do not UNDERSTAND?

    Moreover, is there something that you do not UNDERSTAND that a MERE COP has no legal right to arrest a FOREIGN DIPLOMAT, especially inside of the PERMANENT MISSIONS BUILDING, as stimulated by international law that governs the UNITED NATIONS???

    I SUGGEST that you go and READ UP on the VIENNA CONVENTION, especially article 29.

    You know what, let me POST it for you because it seems like you do not want to DEAL with FACTS but rather engage in childish distraction as your lies about what goes on in St. Vincent has clearly shown.

    “Article 29. Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32. Under Article 34, they are exempt from most taxes, and under Article 36 they are exempt from most customs duties.”

    The FACTS are RIGHT before your EYES.

    It seems like the police officer was either not briefed on what he was supposed to do working as a guard stationed at the UN or he did know but still went ahead and BROKE the PROTOCOL LAID out to him by his SUPERIORS.

    When you ready to DEAL with the REALITY of the case instead of your FANTASIES about what Camillo should or should not have done, let me know.


    Posted by vincypowa | April 2, 2012, 01:33
  16. Unpatriotic, is the only way I can describe the trite in this blog post.

    A diplomatic was asked to stop he did not stop and was handcuffed and we are condemning this person. Did he break a law? Was an offence committed? Get a hold of your selves! If the NYPD chooses to bring charges it will not be for passing a barricade, but as they say for the resulting behaviour. People pay attention and stand up for Vincy!

    Most of us seems like we will prefer to send mice to represent us in foreign capitals. We are small and we must not be intimidated. Any ambassador must repents their country well, one must not cower at the sound huff and puff from a PC form some local precinct.
    The Ambassador acted within his rights. he heard but he did not do anything wrong and hence he did not stop. Vincy wants an ambassador who will jump with fear when he is shouted at- never! I will not be proud of that fellow. Camillio acted in the spirit of our national hero Chatoyer!

    Posted by Dean Peters (@splitdown) | April 2, 2012, 12:25
  17. DEAN, thanks for explaining to all the people who read these posts that both you and the ULP in particular are really extremely stupid.

    Posted by Peter | April 3, 2012, 12:01
  18. DEAN PETERS, Chatoyer kept slaves, owned slaves, worked slaves and sold escaped slaves to the French. Are you comparing Mule Gonsalves with Chatoyer? Chatoyer was also a general in the French army and a French citizen. Mule Gonsalves is only an American, Jamaican and Vincentian citizen.

    Your explanation does the ULP a great disservice, keep up the work of an idiot.

    Posted by Peter | April 11, 2012, 21:55
  19. It appears to me that this website doesnt load up in a Motorola Droid. Are other folks getting the same problem? I like this website and dont want to have to skip it any time Im gone from my computer.

    Posted by click | May 30, 2012, 14:31

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