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Sehon Marshall still being considered for NY post

Sehon Marshall still being  considered for NY post

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It appears that Sehon Marshall is still being seriously considered for the post of deputy consul general in the office of the Consulate General of St Vincent and the Grenadines in New York.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, noted Marshall’s accomplishments and opined that he was qualified to serve as a deputy consul general.

Over the past week, some controversy arose over Marshall’s pending assignment, after an audio recording was circulated of comments he made on radio about Vincentians living in the diaspora.

“I want to begin by saying that I heard about this matter when I was in Jamaica recently,” Gonsalves said on Tuesday.

“Since I came back I have listened to the tape. Not the edited version, but the whole tape. I have received telephone calls from persons on it at home and abroad and on Sunday I spoke on the telephone to my comrade Sehon and I spoke with him this morning.”

The Prime Minister revealed that during Tuesday’s conversation, Marshall told him that “I would have neither as an individual, Sehon Marshall, or my family, would we feel in anyway hard done by, if the Government or you, in particular, if you were to consider stopping the process for my appointment as deputy consul general.”

Gonsalves added that the former co-host of the Morning Scoop programme on Star Radio intended to appear on Senator Jomo Thomas’ radio programme on Wednesday to say that he misspoke.

“Sehon Marshal is a good human being and is qualified to be a deputy consul general. It is clear that he himself has to make the requisite corrective to his misspeaking,” Gonsalves said.

“Something may be completely appropriate for a commentator to say, but not for someone who is entering the diplomatic service and therefore, care has to be exercised. It is unfortunate that the issue has taken on in part, a political colouration and that the entire 16 or 19 minutes of what he said, all what he said is truncated for political purposes by the Opposition or persons associated with the Opposition.”

According to Gonsalves, a hallmark of being someone that holds a diplomatic position is that they should not be the subject of discussion in the news, but rather it should be the quality of their work within the diplomatic service.

He also took the opportunity to highlight that the current government serves to elevate the diaspora into public policy and so it is necessary for every single diplomat to represent and treat all Vincentians abroad equally.

“You must not be the news. Your work must speak,” he said.

“There is no differentiation between a ULP or an NDP or party person, none whatsoever. You are Vincentian. You get quality treatment, equal quality treatment. That is what we want our diplomats to do with our nationals abroad. It means, therefore, that not only must an ambassador, consul general, deputy consul general not involve in polemical political discourse. They have to avoid discussions such as what happened before the ULP came to power and after the ULP came.”

The Prime Minister added that nothing disparaging must be said about any Vincentian abroad in the political sense by a diplomat or someone hoping to be appointed to a diplomatic position or else this would be seen as misspeaking.

Furthermore, he said he regretted the comments of Marshall, who he said was known for his sharp tongue in his commentaries.

“Sehon misspoke. I am very sorry about that. I want everyone in relation to this issue to accept the regret that I have, that there

was a misspeaking, a lack of clarity and if there was any misunderstanding, beyond those who were trying to make it narrowly political, I am truly sorry,” he said.

“Does that mean, I should as Prime Minister, hold a young man who is qualified for a job, come from humble beginnings and throw him under the bus metaphorically? I say no.”

Gonsalves noted that the situation would be discussed in Cabinet and also opined that Marshall would learn from this experience.

“It’s a good thing that this has happened to Sehon Marshall. It would be a lesson and we would see whether he learns from it or not. I believe that he will learn from it. There are some who would say ‘don’t send him; we don’t think he should come anymore’. I say reflect on what I’ve said,” he said.

SEARCHLIGHT last week broke the story that Marshall, a former co-host on the Morning Scoop programme on Star Radio, had been recommended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fill the position, effective September 1, after Marshall updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect this. (BK)

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