St Kitts envoy slams NY arrest of Gonsalves

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Delano Bart has described the New York police officer’s treatment of his St. Vincent and the Grenadines counterpart as “provocative and uncivilized”, according to a press release from the Office of the St Kitts Prime Minister.

Bart, who is chairman of the United Nations CARICOM Group, accused the New York City Police Department of “flagrant violation” of the rules of diplomatic immunity by aggressively arresting the ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Camilo Gonsalves.

Reuters reported that in a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, Ambassador Bart said that Gonsalves walked past a police barrier to take the elevator to his office.

“On his way to the elevator, he was shouted at and confronted by a police officer, who rudely questioned his action and then grabbed him by the neck and shoulder, displaying undue physical harassment against the ambassador,” Bart wrote.

The New York Police Department presented a different version of events.

The New York police countered by saying that the envoy refused to identify himself after pushing past a security barrier intended to protect Israel’s diplomatic headquarters in New York City from attack.

Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said Gonsalves stepped out of his car in front of a double police barrier in front of the building where his office is located. The Israeli mission and consulate are housed in the same building.

Gonsalves moved the barriers and walked through, ignoring orders from a police officer not to move the barriers and to stop, Browne said. Gonsalves refused to stop or to identify himself. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and handcuffed near the elevators inside the building.

“He was subsequently identified and released at the scene,” Browne said.

Neither Gonsalves nor the U.S. mission had an immediate response to requests for comment.

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