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23 Peace Corps volunteers leave SVG in shroud of mystery


TWENTY-THREE Peace Corps volunteers who were stationed in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) were flown out of the country last week Friday, but the reason they were evacuated remains shrouded in mystery.

Gaïna Dávila, the acting Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in response to an enquiry by SEARCHLIGHT said in an email “they were relocated because of a potential specific safety concern.”

The only other information offered was that the volunteers are completing training in the region.

“I don’t have any further details at this stage, but Peace Corps will continue to assess the situation,” Dávila said in the email message.

An official of the local Peace Corps office and an official of the Ministry of National Security separately declined to comment when approached.

Up to press time, no response to enquiries by SEARCHLIGHT had been received from the Peace Corps head office in Washington D.C. as promised by a press office staffer there.

On Wednesday, the landlord of one of the Peace Corps volunteers told SEARCHLIGHT that last Friday, August 24 at about 5 am, he observed his tenant getting into a taxi which already had other Peace Corps volunteers inside. He said he later received a message that the tenant was in St Lucia “as a safety precaution” and the volunteers were awaiting the all clear from Washington DC before returning to SVG.

Someone close to one of the Peace Corps volunteers said the relocation may have been prompted by the alleged verbal abuse and robbery of an elderly female volunteer. There are unconfirmed reports that racially inflammatory remarks were made, that the volunteer was called a spy and told to go back to the United States. It is also alleged that negative comments directed at President of the United States Donald Trump were made.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that two investigators from the United States Embassy in Bridgetown visited St Vincent and were provided with information relevant to the investigation by local law enforcement.

However, up to press time, the matter appears to be still inconclusive and no one had been charged in relation to the alleged incident.