Gonsalves: Outsiders in St Vincent politics

(Trinidad Express) Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves is accusing two US businessmen of engaging in a smear campaign to destabilise his Government. This is allegedly taking place before announcement of an imminent general election there. In an open letter, dated August 24, and sent to Caricom Heads of Government and other Caribbean nationals, Gonsalves said the smear campaign involves the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

According to Gonsalves, the US citizens, Dave Copps, a dot.com millionaire, who owns Pure Discovery Corporation, and Blake Burris of Dynamo Labs are working with the NDP to make false claims about St Vincent and the Grenadines. He said Copps owns a house in Bequia, one of the St Vincent Grenadines, and worked previously for the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Gonsalves said they have mounted a campaign called “Save Democracy for just $5.”

The money is allegedly to be used to help save democracy in the country, according to the PM. He dismissed the initiative saying St Vincent was indeed a free and democratic Caribbean nation. He said they also were claiming that he had aligned himself with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and (Gonsalves) should be removed as a consequence. “The recent defamatory campaign against St Vincent and the Grenadines and the quest to remove my Government are but a continuation of the nasty, dishonest campaign of the NDP,” he added.

“This is not merely an exercise by an opposition party hiring consultants to assist them in mounting an electoral campaign. This has gone much further,” he added. Gonsalves stressed: “It involves defaming the good name of St Vincent and the Grenadines, attempting to destabilise a democratically elected Government, and seeking to exercise foreign control of our country, its democratic institutions and its people.” Gonsalves said his open letter was intended to solicit solidarity in the struggle to build the nation’s democracy. He called for strong resistance.

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