SVG

PM Gonsalves says BBC journalists accosted him

  • “Your Prime Minister has been reasonably on good terms and has a good relationship with David Ames for a while so there were questions surrounding that.” – BBC journalist
  • “… I am going to write the BBC, because I am no less a prime minster than … Brown and Cameron, to accost me like that. ” — PM Gonsalves
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 18, IWN – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he will write to the London-based BBC because of an encounter with two of its journalists in Barbados on Sunday.

“… I am going to write the BBC, because I am no less a prime minster than … [Gordon] Brown and [David] Cameron, to accost me like that,” Gonsalves said on WE FM during a call from Antigua, en route to the CARICOM heads of Government meeting in Haiti on Monday and Tuesday.

Gonsalves said he left St. Vincent at 6 a.m. Sunday on a flight to Barbados, via Grenada.

He and his wife, Eloise, were sitting at the front right side of the passenger cabin, while Ellsworth John, head of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit, was seated at the front left side, Gonsalves said.

Two “white men”, whom he did not know, were seated behind John, Gonsalves said.

“But, as soon as we arrived in Barbados, and I am getting my luggage from the top drawer (overhead cabin) of the plane, one (of the two “white men”) came with a camera and the other one with a tape recorder and began by asking … ‘Prime Minister, we have three witnesses who would testify that Dave Ames came into your office with a briefcase of money and then left without it. What do you have to say?’”

Gonsalves explained that the men were speaking of Dave Ames of Harlequin Property, owners of Buccament Bay Resort.

“Well, at this point, I reasonably suspected what I had been told, that two journalist from Britain, allegedly from the BBC, had come to St. Vincent to carry out investigation about the Buccament project.

“Because, as you are aware, some questions are being raised by some investors in the United Kingdom — some investor in the project,” Gonsalves said.

“I said to them, ‘You can properly set up an interview with me. This is not the way to do it.’ They said, ‘But now we want to ask you the questions.’” Gonsalves further said of his encounter with the men.

“Of course, I can’t stop them from asking. They repeated. I continued doing what I was doing. I went to the door, they continued to ask and I said to them, ‘Why are you asking this kind of a rubbish, nonsense, foolishness, idiocy?’ In between, they were asking why I don’t explain to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines about Mr. Ames.”

Gonsalves said he said nothing further to the men, who continued to follow him.

He said the Barbadian security later told the men that they are not allowed to film on the tarmac, but they continued to do so, telling the security official that they are from the BBC.

Gonsalves said that when he got to the terminal building, the men told him they were from the BBC and he told them he doubted this.

He said the men said they have ID but he didn’t bother with them.

“Because they approached in such an unprofessional manner, I began by telling you I didn’t know who they were, but, when they asked, I reasonably suspected who they were,” Gonsalves said,

Paul Kenyon is a journalist who works for the BBC.

Paul Kenyon is a journalist who works for the BBC.

He said he was told on Thursday that the men had interviewed Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace on Wednesday.

Gonsalves said the British men showed, to another man, a video in which Eustace accuses Gonsalves of receiving money from Ames.

“But, I want Mr. Eustace to say that on radio and publicly; because, it is a dastardly lie. You see, they judge people by their own standards. And I am going to write the BBC because I am no less a prime minster than their Brown and Cameron, to accost me like that,” said Gonsalves, who identified one of the British men as Paul Kenyon.

Meanwhile, Kenyon, an award-winning journalist and author who has reported from around the world for the BBC, told I-Witness News on Sunday that he and his colleague did encounter Gonsalves on the aircraft.

“I can tell you we asked the Prime Minister some questions this morning on the plane and, when we touched down in Barbados. We asked some questions for a programme we are making about Harlequin and various things surrounding that.

“We had asked him for an interview before and he refused so we decided that we would tackle him on the airplane when it came to a halt…” Kenyon told I-Witness News.

“He responded by saying that the allegations were outrageous and he said we were not BBC journalists,” the British journalist further said of Gonsalves.

Kenyon told I-Witness news he was in St. Vincent working on an episode of “Panorama”, which the BBC bills as a current affairs programme that features interviews and investigative reports on a wide variety of subjects

“[there are] concerns about the operation of Harlequin and British Investors have put millions and millions of pounds sterling into the company and they want to see what the results is…

“The main thrust of the programme is about Harlequin and the resorts they have around the Caribbean. And, as you know, your prime minister has been quite friendly with David Ames for a period of time. Your Prime Minister has been reasonably on good terms and has a good relationship with David Ames for a while, so there were questions surrounding that,” Kenyon further said.

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Discussion

20 thoughts on “PM Gonsalves says BBC journalists accosted him

  1. This isn’t fair. I’m British born of Vincentian heritage (through my grandparents), brought up watching the BBC and a devout fan of Panorama but as Gonsalves said, “this isn’t the way to do it”. I have noticed that Panorama shows are usually cloaked in critical thinking and framed, editied as such, which is fine if you use the proper channels to obtain your information. Accosting a Prime Minister who is deservedly enjoying his “down time” on a flight to another country is predatory behaviour and synonymous with juvenile methods of reporting.

    Posted by Kisandka Moses | February 18, 2013, 09:29
  2. Mr Gonsalves, you are the prime minister of a tiny island the size of a UK or US village. We know the all important things in your life are image and control.

    I am sure you would like to compare yourself with those big time prime ministers, but don’t get too big for your shoes.

    If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

    ~Roald Dahl

    Posted by peterbinose | February 18, 2013, 09:40
  3. KISKANDRA, if you come here try and tell the truth.

    The BBC chase people down the street, in shops and stores, in hotel lobbies, airports, airplanes, toilets, anywhere, any place, anytime. In the rain in the snow, they are relentless.

    Don’t forget they tried to meet Gonsalves in SVG, he told them he couldn’t see them for a week.

    They usually have some kind of irrefutable evidence before they ask a question, they are clever and wheedle the truth out in the end.

    All us Vincentians who have lived and travelled to the UK, know that, so don’t try and bring us crap.

    Posted by peterbinose | February 18, 2013, 09:50
  4. This being accosted story sounds very much like the story of when he was accosted in a London hotel. Remember the song and dance and tails of disgust we were told then?

    Posted by peterbinose | February 18, 2013, 11:41
  5. Peter my name is Kisandka not Kiskandra (incorrect spellings of my name really irk me).

    As I said, I’m British born. I’ve lived in the UK my entire life so I know all too well which tactics are employed by the BBC during their stincts with investigative journalism. I’m also well aware that the BBC (you know, the station I actually pay for as a British taxpayer) are relentless in their pursuit of folks whom they feel have wronged the public in some fashion. HOWEVER, I simply disagree with these tactics being employed on Gonsalves as a statesman (I’m not a ULP supporter either). If he was giving them the run around then so what? He’s a prime minister and he is obligated to explain himseld to Vincentians, not British-owned televison firms. Understood?

    Posted by Kisandka Moses | February 18, 2013, 12:23
  6. Kisandka, speaking SENSE to Peter, and others of his ILK, can be a FRUSTRATING EXERCISE, because he is still SUFFERING from what is deemed to be of a THIRD WORLD MENTALITY, as you can CLEARLY see in his POSTINGS.

    He actually believes that since Dr. Gonsalves is the PRIME MINISTER of a TWO BY FOUR ISLAND NATION called St. Vincent and the Grenadines that he should not be GIVEN the SAME RESPECT and COURTESY by the BBC as the PRIME MINISTER of BRITAIN.

    Yes, such is the STATE of PETER’S THINKING and those of his MINDSET.

    SAD!!

    Posted by VINCYPOWA | February 18, 2013, 14:23
  7. Dear Kissy whatever your name is. I have worked and lived in the UK, worked in the City for five years.

    I am not sure if you really don’t understand the situation or if your another silly person employed by Gonsalves to disrupt.

    The basic facts are that a Harlequin company of which there are dozens, most un-traded shell companies, registered in the UK and in a number of Caribbean countries, with same or similar names, including in St.Vincent. All owned or/and directed or/and managed by the same people or their nominees. Most of the Essex and UK based Harlequin companies have not made any returns to Companies House or the Inland Revenue, you can view their status on line at Companies House, just as I did. Most of the companies have made statutory statements that they are not related to any overseas companies, yet have the same or similar names, and the same people owning them. People are confused and sent from company to company when trying to get their money back.

    Gonsalves most of the time has outright refused to explain himself on numerous matters of finance and state. He is well known to refuse to give the opposition party and the people information, even when requested to do so in parliament.
    He enters into agreements and treaties with Marxist leaders in the name of the ALBA association of countries. Never telling the Vincentian people what he is doing or done. The latest horrendous agreement dated the 4th of January 2013, signed and sealed by Gonsalves at Caracas, Venezuela. This agreement was submitted by me and published by i-witness-news.com
    http://i-witness-news.com/2013/02/09/letter-have-caribbean-alba-countries-published-this/

    According to the Echo newspaper from Essex, there are 6,000 people, mainly British who have invested for the most part their retirement pensions. According to that report Harlequin has gathered £300 million pounds, investment deposits for tourist developments in seven countries, yet only 300 units have been built. [Buccament Bay Resort, SVG]. Most of the projects should of started and been finished already. People are therefore asking for their money back because of breach of contract.
    The British government FSA sent a warning out to every financial services firm in the UK that money invested with Harlequin is not insured under the government financial services scheme, investors stand to lose all their savings.
    I have seen another report which seemed at the time as unbelievable, being £1.5 billion, as the amount collected from investors.

    There are also many traders and suppliers in St. Vincent who have not been paid for services or supplies, most for many months some for years. The amount owed range from $1.2 million dollars down to $1,200 dollars.

    The SVG government have got a relationship with Harlequin that I think goes beyond the normal. Senator Julian Francis, prime minister Gonsalves cousin and appointed Senator, spends copious amounts of time in and around Buccament. He said in the newspapers that he can sort out any problems that people have with Buccament, offering his services to do so. At the time I asked via I-Witness what the relationship was that Francis had with Harlequin.
    Dave Ames, the said owner of Harlequin [records do not necessarily show him as the owner] was granted Vincentian Citizenship by Gonsalves, despite having been a past bankrupt in the UK.

    According to Gonsalves the BBC reporters asked him about money that Harlequin gave him. If they have reason to believe that, and have such evidence or statements from person or persons, they must ask him the questions. How can they do that, only by coming to SVG, that they did, and were offered date a week later.

    I feel sure Gonsalves could of managed an hour here or there, if he wanted. They were not satisfied with that and followed him on a LIAT flight to Barbados, approaching him as they were about to disembark the aircraft, and again on the tarmac.

    After all if he was a leader of any other third World country they would ask the questions, do you really think Gonsalves is any more unquestionable because of his status than any other third World country leader.

    And as for anyone comparing Gonsalves with the president of the United States, dream on baby, dream on.

    The World has a lot to be thankful for to British programs such as Panorama.

    Posted by peterbinose | February 18, 2013, 16:22
  8. When I read this article on I-Witness news about the PM’s encounter with the the BBC reporters, I had to laugh. Poor my PM. Welcome to the real world Sir. What we have in Vincy are not journalist, but the distant cousins to journalist. He has grown so accustomed to the Fluzy’s in Vincy, that this suddern exposure to the real world of true journalism hit him like a ton of brick; Now he is planning to complain to the BBC. Neh, neh, neh, neh, neeeeeeh!! Stop whining like a spoiled child and face the music. I hope those journalist in Vincy will stop pandering and start doing real reporting and investigative reporting, and asking substantive and tough questions.

    I do not think that this was an act of acosting the PM. We who live in developed countries see how these reporters operate. They try to get an interview, and if they cant, they will stake you out and shout questions at you. If the PM doesn’t want anyone to get too close to him, then he should always use a security detail. A reporter’s job is to ask questions and get information and answers, irrespective of who the individuas are. They are blind to the status of anyone.

    Finaly, I think respect should be shown to every head of state, irrespective of the size of their territory, but that matter has no relevance here, in this case.

    Posted by Eric Williams | February 18, 2013, 20:25
  9. VINCYPOWA, everyone must earn respect, like every one should earn the right to be called honourable. In my book and in my belief Gonsalves has not earned that respect in either case. Perhaps he had my respect, but has since lost it, because I do not approve of his style or what I consider behaviour.

    Just like you VINCYPOWER who uses a fraudulent name and presenting obnoxious falsehoods, you have the respect of no one.

    As to whether in my mind Gonsalves should have the same respect as the current Prime Minster of Britain, the answer is no. Though a different Prime Minister of Britain may or may not have my respect. Just as a different Prime Minister of SVG may or may not have my respect.

    Remember Gonsalves has been accused of sexual assault by at least five different women, that is according to what Colin Williams the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP] told us. Gonsalves has been accused of rape by at least one of those five women, yet never been before a court to prove his innocence, in any matter he was accused of.

    He has taken us into ALBA and signed us up to treaties and agreements that he has never discussed, published or presented to the people. In the latest such document of the January 4 2013 ALBA agreement, signed and approved in Caracas, Venezuela, there are the seeds of a total MARXIST takeover.

    Gonsalves told us he sometimes tells lies, how then can such a man have the respect of any decent person.

    Gonsalves told us he only works Obeah for the Lord, you can’t work Obeah for God, so who is the Lord he refers to? how then can such a man have the respect of any decent person.

    Remember the Million US Dollars in cash in an old bag?

    Remember the Diplomatic passport given to a man that was caught using it while carrying a kilo of cocaine?

    There are so many things that have rapaciously removed any decent thoughts from my mind regarding Gonsalves.

    VINCYPOWA, if you want to respect Gonsalves, so be it, I would expect little else from you.

    Posted by peterbinose | February 18, 2013, 20:29
  10. He needs far more than this one encounter!!!!

    Posted by Noel Dickson | February 19, 2013, 01:42
  11. To Eric Williams,

    Your last point was of interest to me because I was trying to communicate that also. However, I don’t believe that equal respect shown for heads of state is irrelevant in this case. It appears that David Ames (as I can tell from the Youtube comments on a video of him explaining the Harlequin Business Model – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiGy4Tg-LOE) as a private businessman which has been accused of conning his investors. It is obvious, due to Ames’ nationality and that of many of his investors, this case is of interest to Brits (such as myself, if it warrants nothing more than a precursor warning to overseas investments with this Ames’ corporation). If what I have just mentioned if true then I believe it is right for the BBC to investigate, however, I retain the fact that the distinction between ‘first’, ‘second’ and ‘third world’ administrations is a forgone colonial description which should have died a painful death post-Cold War.

    If Ralph should be of help in answering vital questions pertaining to this case then it is fair that these lines of enquiry are pursued. What is not fair is that Ralph should be ‘accosted’ in his private time on a flight to another country. This would not happen to David Cameron or even Evo Morales, and should not of happened to Ralph Gonsalves. For journalistic purposes, there is a tint of guilt in silence. This would have been even more effective for a show such as Panorama then dramatising their ill-gotten evidence to boost ratings.

    Yours sincerely,

    a British student with nothing at all to do with the ULP or Gonsalves government 🙂

    Posted by Kisandka Moses | February 19, 2013, 06:11
  12. KSSYKISSY, stop posting your immature crap, this is the real world, Panorama will pursue anyone, anytime, anywhere. Perhaps they will not get close to Obahma, but everyone else they will get.

    When you start using words like Colonial, it exposes your left wing flank. May I ask why you are studying on an old Colonial country?

    You said about Panorama “ill-gotten evidence to boost ratings” do you know something that we don’t know? Tell us exactly what you are referring to.
    .

    Posted by peterbinose | February 19, 2013, 21:38

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