What is wrong with the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Ralph E Gonsalves. Some will say he has always been an obnoxious big-headed man with a devotion to left-wing politics and Cuban communism in particular. Some will say they love him and his ability to speak at the rostrum like no other. Some even find his charismatic charm enchanting and magnetic.
Most of our grandparents hated him; some even feared him and his communist-style politics. They would never have elected him in a million years; local Vincentian newspaper columns were always full of comments by those folk condemning and calling him nasty names. They saw a threat in him being head of government, leading the government, even being a member of parliament (MP) as a definite no. No.
I suppose on the surface, all that sounds a little difficult to understand, so I will try and explain.
So how did Dr Gonsalves become the leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP)? How did he and the ULP get elected? If he was disliked and distrusted, how on earth did he become the ruler of SVG? How was he ever put in the position to be able to start to build a family dynasty?
I suppose the answer is not as difficult as one may think. Sleight of hand, smoke-and-mirrors, devious politics, buying power, and once obtained by paying proper stipends to those that helped him with his mastery of it all. So the answer is a mixture of all those things. But they are mixed with the Leninist ability to instill fear when all else fails. Our grandparents hated him; some even feared him and his communist-style politics.
So let’s get the most obvious out of the way first. “Fraud at the Election.” Someone or some group has manipulated the poles from day one of the elections to the government of the ULP. Was that done directly on the instructions of Gonsalves? That I honestly do not know and have absolutely no evidence about that at all. We do know that buying votes by bribing the electorate with building materials, according to recorded comments, he does know about that, and I believe he is the orchestra conductor on that front. As for rigging the boxes and the voting lists and polling forms, I do not know who organized that, I have heard opinions putting dynasty member his cousin Julian Francis in the frame for that. I slapped those people down for saying that, because they do not have, and I have absolutely no evidence one way or the other as far as that is concerned. So to say that is unfair if unfair or fairness means one iota to them.
I am going way further back to the Road Block Revolution when teachers and other government workers blocked roads. They were all promised if Gonsalves and the ULP were elected, they would all get a 30 percent pay-raise. The Union leaders being like-minded Socialists to Gonsalves urged their members to man the roadblocks. People were greedy to the point of being evil, so the 30 percent pay-raise brought out just about every man and woman who thought they would benefit from that. As a by-the-way, after Gonsalves was elected, not one person in the country got a 30 percent pay raise, except of course Vincent Beache, who won what was equivalent to the US lottery.
So the roads into Kingstown were blocked, busses and other transport, private cars and trucks, and most importantly ambulances with the very sick and dying were held up. The police stood by and abandoned their duty. Some say they even cheered on the actions of the criminals that handled those roadblocks.
That action caused fright among the general population. The Marxist-Leninist movement frightened some citizens shitless. Vincentians are generally peaceful people, and sooner than have another such instance or something even worse, they decided to vote ULP. But that action has had adverse effects on the country from the day it happened until today.
Investors, Industrialist’s, service companies, all have stayed out of Vincentian business. None want to put their capital at risk in a Marxist-Leninist style governed country. That very action has set SVG workers in the wilderness of unemployment for almost 20 years. Those that organized and those that took part in the Road Block Revolution are responsible for destroying the very fabric of employment for the Vincentian work-force. They are responsible for people going hungry, living on the streets, children going to school hungry, even the abuse of those children.
This action of blocking the roads with barriers was not a demonstration; this, in their own words, was a revolution, a revolt to overthrow a legally elected government.
But how did the ULP get going and how was Gonsalves chosen to lead it? Gonsalves was one of the leaders of the MNU, a communist based Vincentian political party. Try as they did, the leadership could not get the party into power even though Gonsalves somehow got elected as an MNU member of parliament.
Between March 1978 and April 1984, Vincent Beache served as the Saint Vincent Labour Party [SVLP] [the real labour party] member of parliament for North Central Windward and government minister of trade and agriculture.
Beache retained his seat as member of parliament for North Central Windward in 1984 when Sir James Mitchell’s New Democratic Party (NDP) was voted into office. However, Hudson Tannis, who had lost West Kingstown to John Horne, was elected Leader of the Labour Party to replace the retired Cato in 1985. Beache became leader after Tannis’ died in a plane crash during August of 1986.
Beache served as the SVLP opposition leader between July 1985 and March 1989, then the NDP made a clean sweep of the polls, and Beache has swept away as well. He became the scapegoat for labor’s total defeat. By 1992, Stalky John moved him out of the party top spot. Beache, however, as a spite to labour SVLP, returned as a turncoat to lead the MNU in the 1994 election.
Beache won the South Windward seat in 1994 and served as leader of the MNU opposition. The ULP was founded in 1994 by a merger of the MNU and the SVLP with Beache as its leader.
1998: At the end of the contentious 1998 general election, when polling results giving the NDP eight seats and the ULP, seven seats were announced. Beache declared that he could not accept the outcome and called for fresh elections, alleging voter intimidation, fraud, and bribery. The NDP promptly refuted this. In December 1998, in the first transfer of power, Beache resigned as leader of the ULP. Dr Gonsalves was later elected in his place. Beache, however, remained as leader of the ULP opposition in the House of Assembly through a secret deal between Beache and Gonsalves in 1999.
1999: Beache was eventually replaced as opposition leader by Gonsalves.
Of course, what had happened was that the labour party ceased to exist and the Communist Party of SVG (MNU) had been re-cloaked to reappear as a renamed labour party, the ULP was under the same control as the old MNU. The people of Saint Vincent, the traditional labour voters, had been fooled and tricked. Even to this day, they think that the ULP is the original labour party when it most certainly is not. It is the renamed communist MNU, now called the ULP. Thousands of Vincentians are now communists and don’t even know it.
In the 1998 polls, the ULP won the popular vote but remained in opposition under the nation’s first-past-the-post electoral system.
2000: This was the juncture when the Road Block Revolution took place in 2000, and the NDP was told that SVG would be made ungovernable. The unrest, which saw the roads to capital city Kingstown blocked, grinding the economy to a halt, forced the NDP government to hold talks in Grenada, with the ensuing agreement popularly terms the “Grand Beache Accord.”
Not much is known of what Sir James, now retired, and then opposition leader, prime minister Dr Gonsalves, discussed while walking along Grand Beach when they reached a deal. Under this threat, which may be viewed by some as a form of blackmail, which resulted in capitulation by Sir James Mitchell when he also did some unknown deal with Gonsalves and called an early election to take place in 2001.
On 27 October 2000, Mitchell resigned as prime minister, under the terms of an agreement with the opposition designed to end the anti-government protests that had affected the islands since May. Arnhim Eustace became the third prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
2001: When the ULP was elected to office in March 2001, Beache was returned as member of parliament for South Windward; he resigned before the 2005 elections. In doing so, he stepped aside to allow Ralph Gonsalves to become the owner of the whole cartload.
2002: Beache had made the MNU the ULP. Of course, you can call a dog by the name pussy, but the dog is still a dog just as the ULP was still a Marxist controlled communist party.
As Beache’s initial reward for passing government to Gonsalves, a part reward for services to the Gonsalves/Frances proposed family dynasty, Mr. Vincent Beache was knighted by the Queen. Beach, at the recommendation and behest of prime minister Gonsalves to the governor-general, was bestowed a knighthood when he was awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for distinguished public service.
But the real function was not quite so open; the service was to the Gonsalves/Francis family/dynasty. Beache had done nothing for the people of SVG that deserved a knighthood. Did he earn or deserve such an honor, surely not, he sold out and was now a Gonsalves owned collaborator.
But this was only the beginning of his rewards; it went on for years, right up to the time of his death, and even beyond.
However, he only served one term in office under the ULP administration, and under the Gonsalves/Beache deal, he bowed out of electoral politics in 2005. Beache was almost instantly appointed minister of national security, and head of the public service and airport development.
The Beach/Gonsalves accord was a successful transaction for both Beache and Gonsalves. Resulting in bringing a bunch of communists to power in SVG who previously had been unelectable to run the government and the people did not know the difference. Even today, they do not see the difference; Gonsalves specializes in attracting the most ignorant among us.
Gonsalves well-rewarded Beache for his transfer of personal power to him.
Over the next decade, however, Sir Beache continued to wield political influence, well rewarded for that, of course. Which included being a government-paid employed consultant and advisor to the minister of national security (Dr. Ralph E Gonsalves), something that Beache was almost incapable of doing.
In that post, he, along with the permanent secretary in the ministry of national security, supposedly had primary oversight of the day-to-day operations of the ministry.
But even after leaving the post of prime minister’s adviser to national security in December 2015, Sir Vincent continued to serve on various government boards, including as chairman of the Board of the State-owned Housing and Land Development Corporation, and as a member of the Firearms Board. He appointed as Chairman of PetroCaribe (SVG) Limited, another highly paid position. Directorships of the East Caribbean Group, VINLEC, Cadet Force.
He remained a well and massively paid personal advisor to Gonsalves to the end of his life. The rewards were terrific, but so was the gift of leadership that he granted Gonsalves, which Gonsalves was incapable of winning or earning by himself. Without Beache, Gonsalves would have remained in the political wilderness forever. The old people would have seen to that.
There were constant public rumblings about all the paid positions that Beache held, none of which he would or could have held without Gonsalves putting him there.
Beache was an ancient man and was most certainly not capable of proficiency in any of those overpaid capacities. Commanding eight boards of directors at the age of 86 years. Well, not commanding perhaps, but the boardrooms being boring were at least somewhere to take a nap.
The only person to call a spade a spade was NDP hero MP for Central Kingstown, St Clair Leacock. “It is corruption of the highest order, and I do not care, I will stand the onslaught of any and every member of the ULP because we must rid ourselves from that type of devious practice where we are overfulling (sic) the belly of one house.” https://www.iwnsvg.com/2015/09/09/placing-sir-vincent-on-multiple-boards-is-corruption-mp/
Even in death, Beache was rewarded by Gonsalves, when a State funeral was arranged for the ending of a perfect partnership, for services rendered to the Gonsalves/Frances family Dynasty. Why on earth did he deserve a state funeral, his family is now so rich money is spilling from everywhere? Why should Vincentians pay for a benefit that Gonsalves personally claimed many times over?
Perhaps Beache should have been renamed Bleach because he bleached the country clean of many millions of dollars, millions upon millions. But just why was Gonsalves so over-generous to him? Did it go beyond what we thought we knew?
As they say, never speak ill of the dead, which I generally observe, unless, of course, they have seriously pissed me off. Others received rewards such as this, the knighthood of Sir Louis Straker.
In 1994, Straker contested the general elections on a ULP ticket and became a member of parliament for the Central Leeward Constituency. He was re-elected in the 1998 general elections, and again on 28 March 2001. On 1 April 2001, Straker was sworn in as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, commerce, and trade. In May 2005, he was appointed the minister of transport, works, and housing. He was returned as minister of foreign affairs, commerce, and trade after successfully contesting the December 2005 general elections.
In 2010, Sir Louis bowed out of politics. However, in 2015, he was selected to represent the ULP in the Central Leeward constituency, which has been subject to dispute. He won his old seat and was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and regional integration in the fourth Gonsalves administration. There is absolutely nothing there that deserves a knighthood on behalf of the people. The Gonsalves/Francis Dynasty has derived the real benefit. Because when you analyze what he did, he got Camillo Gonsalves on the first and following rungs of the ladder to a set of high government positions, culminating with the second most crucial government ministry, as minister of finance. https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/opinion-camillo-gonsalves-and-the-leapfrog-syndrom/
The award of the Kingstown central car park to a group of past MNU members, who formed a corporation called Solidarity Inc to run the car park, can you believe the audacity of using that communist related name? They were given the car park; forget about a Tenders Board, they didn’t feature at all. What a slap in the face that is for decency.
All rewarded really for service to Gonsalves, and what has now developed into the Gonsalves/Francis Dynasty.
Often heard never seen, but squeaky clean.