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PM Gonsalves slams Sir James’ statements


Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves has taken a snipe at veteran politician Sir James Mitchell for statements he made one week ago when he re-entered the political arena.{{more}}

Addressing the nation live on radio and television from the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown on Monday evening at a National Round Table Discussion on the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution 2009, Gonsalves described statements attributed to Mitchell as ‘inane’ and ‘nonsensical’.

On his return to politics after a sabbatical of eight years, Mitchell acknowledged that there were problems with the existing Constitution and agreed that there was need for constitutional review and reform. He, however, noted, that even though this was the case, on November 25, he intended to vote ‘No’ for various reasons.

“First of all, I am pleased that the exercise of constitutional reform has been undertaken, as I would like to see certain institutions modernized. However, as I advocated in the 2002 proposal, if better can’t be done, let worse continue,” Mitchell stated last week.

“Over the last few days you have heard an inane comment, intended really just for humour, but some people take it seriously,” said Gonsalves, adding “maybe the author himself thought it is cute to say so that ‘if better can’t be done let worse continue’”.

Gonsalves further stated: “First of all it’s a statement which is nonsensical.”

The prime minster also described Mitchell’s proposition as “absurd”.

Gonsalves said he wanted Vincentians to understand that this Constitution is a far better document than the one granted to Vincentians in 1979 when the nation became independent.

“When you have a situation where people will just go to vote ‘No’ on the basis that they don’t like Ralph or Campbell, or they don’t like some other person, they are really doing a terrible disservice to themselves and to their children,” said Gonsalves.

He promised to resist people who intend to make their electoral decision in the upcoming referendum solely on personality.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves has thrown out a challenge to accommodate anyone who desires to debate Parnell Campbell, Chairman of the Constitution Reform Steering Committee or himself.

“I am hoping that those who are interested in debating this matter will debate some of us: Parnell, myself…that anybody who wishes to debate this issue before the nation I am prepared to have this issue debated live, two hours, three hours, and let the people hear the issues,” said Gonsalves.

The prime minister used the opportunity to express that he is satisfied that the Constitution is an excellent product.

“Not a perfect product, but it’s an excellent product. It is better than the one before. And people all over the region are talking about this. All over the Caribbean they are talking about the Vincentian model,” said Gonsalves, as he encouraged everyone to become an Evangelist for the document. (HN)