When Dr Ralph Gonsalves became prime minister in 2001, about 250 expatriates were living in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as permanent and temporary residents; some were even citizens. Many of those had political voting rights in SVG. None of them voted for the comrade because they were in the main, not extreme socialists like the new SVG members of the government.
They were also very frightened by what appeared to be a communist-led so-called “Road Block Revolution.” By 2005 just about all of them had fled, leaving about 500 Vincentians without jobs. More than half of the ex-patriots rented big houses, and Vincentian landlords had a good income from them, which was also lost.
Prime minister Dr Gonsalves knows only too well that expatriates, in general, will never vote for him or any extreme socialist government. That is the reason that he shuns the Citizenship by Investment [CBI] scheme and bad mouths it. He knows that by bringing this class of person to the main island of SVG will create supporting voters and funding for the New Democratic Party (NDP), certainly not the Unity Labour Party (ULP). That is the sole reason and real purpose he will not have a CBI scheme in SVG; despite every other island now having it and getting rich on the proceeds and cutting taxes. So once again, Vincentians must suffer due to the comrades’ politics.
Exclusively, I must analyze why people want citizenship in the Caribbean, in the main, it is because they are living in countries where extremism in politics is the norm, they want to escape from that. So leaving a country with bad politics and perhaps violence, and coming to another country with bad politics will not work for them. They are looking for peace and security and decency in leadership. The greatest buyers and investors in CBI at the moment are Chinese; they want to escape socialism, nasty rules, and questionable leadership, exactly what SVG currently offers. So Dr Gonsalves doesn’t want them, and they certainly do not want Gonsalves or anyone like him.
In about 2006, the British closed their offices in SVG. Several things annoyed the British Foreign Office about SVG at that time, and one was Dr Gonsalves. They doubted him because of his affiliations to the Castro’s in Cuba; they did not like his politics; they were certainly opposed to the British views. They also did not like what was happening with the Castro-Chavez alliance; thirteen countries signed on to Chavez’s Petro-Caribe initiative, which the British saw as an attempt to further the cause of communism in the Caribbean.
The extreme leftist’s [which included Ralph Gonsalves] and labor leaders in the Caribbean, celebrated the deal as a break from what they see as US imperialism and voiced accordingly. So the British removed [retired] Brian Robinson, the British resident consul general from the Kingstown office, and replaced him with a rather clever career diplomat with the skills of political deception, named Terry Knight.
Resident British consul Terry Knight was someone who Dr Gonsalves allowed to get close to him, they continually discussed socialism, and Knight fooled Gonsalves into believing they were good comrades and friends. Under his unfettered access to Gonsalves, Knight could provide the ambassador at the US Embassy in Barbados and the British Foreign Office in London with valuable information regarding Gonsalves and Vincentian politics.
Glenn Jackson, Dr Gonsalves press secretary, personal assistant and left-hand man, was a Vincentian acting as an American spy, gathering important information from Gonsalves and passing it to the Americans. The assassination of Glenn Jackson aggrieved and worried the British; they may have believed Knight was in danger of the same treatment as Jackson. So they closed the British Offices in Kingstown, later selling the Commissioners residence next to Kelly’s house in Rose Place, Arnos Vale. Terry eventually was recalled to Britain, and the whole shebang was wound up. SVG had a British presence no more, all the employees were laid off, and substantial revenue to SVG lost.
Much of what Knight had been up to was recorded in a cabled document from the US ambassador in Barbados to the US Department of State and also to the Caribbean Community Defense Attaché’s office in Caracas, the Secretary of State of the United Kingdom, London, and the United States Southern Command (Miami). Also, in the same cable are details about Jackson, – being one of the documents which were misappropriated and published by WikiLeaks and can be read in its entirety here.
Knight and Jackson are two of the few who have made a monkey out of prime minister Dr Gonsalves. The shame is that Jackson is now very dead, and no one has been found guilty of the assassination; “assassination is Gonsalves’s description of Glenn’s death, not my own”.
Later the British appointed a Vincentian Donald G. Browne as honorary consul in SVG; this has been rather inconvenient for British people visiting the island because consul Brown is located in Dr Gonsalves constituency in Colonaire.
There have been so many rapes and violent attacks on British residents, visitors, and tourists over the past few years that Britain made a decision last year to return with their British staff to try and look after the interests of tourists and travelers from the UK. Now with an international airport and some top-class tourist hotels coming online, perhaps the crime against visitors will increase, even explode.
The United Kingdom’s High Commission in Kingstown is now the only British representation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The new British High Commission in Kingstown gratefully [by decent Vincentians] established in 2019. The United Kingdom’s Vincentian honorary consulate is no longer applicable.
Let’s hope the comrade doesn’t embarrass us all by attempting to scrounge from the Brits. They most certainly will not be interested in buying our UN vote.
One of the things that upset Dr Gonsalves in the past was that they refused to help fund the Argyle airport. They told him the airport would need constant funding when it is built; it would not and could not ever pay for itself; for that reason, count them out [a Dragons Den quote].
I am told and readily believe that when the British exercise Brexit and depart the European Union (EU), they will be cutting their foreign aid by 50 percent, and they will no longer subscribe to the EU foreign aid fund either.
Before national elections in SVG, the Gonsalves government and the ULP political party give away up to $50 million worth of building materials to encourage the recipients to vote for them. Bribery at its worst, not a few trinkets and a T-shirt, millions upon millions of US dollars worth of lumber, metal roofing, and cement.
I, as a result of this, ask the British to monitor the bribery of Vincentians by the ULP with building materials for the four weeks before and running up to the next election. I will also invite several international TV news company observers as well.
PS, the chronology may be a little skew-whiff, as I wrote from memory. But the happenings are true, and they are well recorded elsewhere.