OECS Chair deeply dismayed
Statement by Chairman of the OECS Authority, Prime Minister The Right Honourable Dr. Keith Mitchell
On behalf of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), I wish to express our deep dismay with the incident which occurred outside of the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, August 5, 2021, resulting in injury to Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
What we witnessed was heartbreaking and not representative of our true nature as Caribbean people, for this is not how we settle differences, political and otherwise.
Within the OECS, we strongly uphold the tenets of democracy and the right of citizens to protest and to have their voices heard, but to do so peacefully and in accordance with the law.
The OECS Authority unequivocally condemns the use of violence of any kind and any expressions of protest, such as the burning of police barriers in the street, as was witnessed in St. Vincent on Thursday.
Further, the OECS Authority calls on the opposition forces to unambiguously disassociate themselves from such anarchistic acts and to encourage supporters to keep their protest within the ambits of the law.
It is even more disturbing that the injury to the Vincentian Prime Minister occurred outside of the House of Assembly, the seat of Vincentian democracy and the location where all political differences are to be freely debated, discussed and resolved.
We extend our prayers to Prime Minister Gonsalves and wish him a speedy recovery from the injuries sustained, and we call on all Vincentians to opt for rational debate over animosity and extreme behaviour. This is a line, which once crossed, it may become difficult to return.
Given the demonstrated resilience of the Vincentian Government and people, having experienced a series of crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the volcanic eruption, we are confident that St. Vincent can rise to the higher challenge of national unity.