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Dr. Gonsalves wants full, honest discussion on race


The debate on skin colour, which has dominated many radio talk shows and has been the feature of a number of letters to the print media, has attracted the attention of the Prime Minister, who has said that he welcomes a debate on the subject.{{more}}

Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who has been directly and indirectly referenced in much of the debate, called for a discussion which he said he hopes would be without opportunism.

“I want a conversation on recolonialization, colonialism, anti colonialism, imperialism, anti imperialism, class and race. Let us have an intelligent conversation; not a self serving one.”

“I want a full and honest discussion. I don’t want a hit and run discussion and I want those to put their records before the people in the defense of the poor and working people who are largely of an African descent.

Acknowledging that there were a number of racial issues from the country’s past that still needed to be discussed, Dr. Gonsalves dismissed the idea that there is a case of ‘black self loathing’ here, as some have suggested.

“Those who are in the forefront of wanting to recolonize St. Vincent and the Grenadines; wanting to insult Vincentians and say that they hate themselves because they are black…. I know the constituents whom I represent, and the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines don’t hate themselves. There are certain residues which can be debilitating from the earlier historical period, and we have to have an honest conversation on these matters. But there are some who cannot advance in the normal way, would want to use categories to advance their own political self interest.”

Dr. Gonsalves accused his political foes of trying to detract the public from their political failures, by raising the issue of racism, and pointed out that they would fail in the process.

“I just want to say they must stop their maligning of Ralph in saying that I said things that I’ve never said; which are false.”

“None of them have a record which I have in defending the poor and the working people in this country… and I will not yield the ground to any of them including opportunists, self seeking persons; and the public will see the confusion which they want to create.”

The recent discussion on race in St. Vincent in the Grenadines was sparked by a letter published in local newspapers on February 17, written by Maia Eustace, titled: “Can we talk about race in SVG, please?”(JJ)