PM Gonsalves leads campaign against Almagro’s re-election
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is leading a campaign to ensure that Luis Almagro is not re-elected secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS) when elections are held early next year.
Gonsalves, during a call last Sunday December 8 to the ‘Issues At Hand’ programme on We FM said he is encouraging all CARICOM leaders to vote against Almagro and disclosed that he had another candidate in mind for the position.
He had called the radio programme to congratulate the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) on their recent victory at the polls.
“My mother teach me good manners you know, so I’ll meet him, I’ll be friendly with him,” the Prime Minister said, noting that he has a cordial relationship with the OAS secretary general.
But, Gonsalves said: “I don’t like what he’s done to the OAS and I don’t like how he’s seeking to implement a neoliberal agenda, don’t like it at all; so I have to fight against that in the interest of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the region. I’m sorry. That is the position”.
Almagro has received much criticism from within CARICOM since February this year when he made a tweet implying that the next General Elections in Dominica might not be free and fair.
On February 7, 2019 he tweeted: “Today I met with Former Ambassador to @UN, Crispin Gregoire, who expressed his concern that the upcoming elections in #Dominica are not free and fair. He also requested @OAS_official assistance to help ensure a level playing field in the country.”
Then in November, days before the elections in Dominica, he tweeted that that the people of Dominica “deserve democratic, fair, inclusive and transparent elections. Democracy is the best antidote against violence”.
His comments came just hours after unrest broke out in the capital, Roseau after the opposition party called for election reform to take place before the December 6 General Elections.
Many, including Gonsalves, see Almagro’s comments as attempts to interfere in another country’s democratic process.
It is also widely believed by political commentators that the OAS played a central role in the removal of Evo Morales, former president of Bolivia, following the October 20, 2019 elections there.
And the Vincentian prime minister, during the radio programme on Sunday said “we can’t have Almagro remaining at the OAS”.
“There is an election for a new secretary general in March and I’m urging all Caribbean leaders, not to vote for Almagro. I’m suggesting a candidate,” Gonsalves said.
“I have written the CARICOM leaders already. I wrote them and if I have to take the lead on it, I’ll take the lead on it and as you know, when I take the lead on something, I take the lead. I don’t know whether I’m going to succeed but I can’t sit back.”