Deputy Consul-General fired because of passport related issues — source

The information came from a well-placed source who, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested that the former diplomat could be subjected to an extensive investigation that could involve agencies outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingstown announced on Monday that Augustus has been officially recalled from his post.

The Ministry said in a brief, four-paragraph statement that it received, last Wednesday, reports suggesting that Augustus, while posted to New York, was “involved in activities outside the scope of his employment and inimical to the interest of the Consulate General and the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Having subsequently received sufficient confirmation of those reports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines acted promptly in recalling Mr. Augustus with immediate effect,” the release said.

The release did not detail the nature or extent of the former diplomat’s activities outside of the scope of his employment.

“All matters touching and concerning the said activities are under further review,” the Ministry, however, said.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, told I-Witness News late Monday evening that he did not want to comment “on the specifics of the issues” surrounding the recall of the diplomat.

He said he did not know if Augustus had returned to St. Vincent, but added, “The fact that he is recalled means that he can’t go at the office (Consulate)”.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace has called for more heads to roll at the consulate.

Eustace on Monday also called on the Gonsalves government to detail to the nation why Augustus was fired.

“Other heads have to roll for this. Other people must have known what was going on, and I am sure that the United States knows what was going on and we have to bear that in mind.

“We can’t have no tightening of restrictions now on Vincentians trying to travel to the United States. We already have it with Canada, [do] we want to have it with the United States?” he said on his weekly radio programme.

Speaking on his weekly radio programme hours after the Ministry’s statement, Eustace said the statement by the Government doesn’t give “the detail that is required to explain to persons why this matter is so important.

“… this kind of diplomatic letter is good to send to an embassy or a government, not to send to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“People need more information than this, otherwise, the information would be given otherwise, you know. Am letting them know that now. … I already have certain information; I didn’t say it this morning… Come clean, say who all were involved other than him, and let’s deal with the matter here in our country,” Eustace further said, adding, “I expect that there would be a further communication shortly”.

But Eustace said that his own information is that what Augustus is accused of doing “would make things more difficult for Vincentians going to the United States, especially when an embassy official at that level gets involved in activities not consistent with his duties…

“… coming now only a few months after Canada has removed the right of Vincentians to travel freely without visas, it speaks to something smelly in our foreign offices,” he said.

Ottawa, in late 2012, imposed visa requirements for Vincentians and several other nationalities travelling to Canada.

“This is a very serious matter and the government has to become even clearer and say what it is that Mr. Augustus has done. … If they don’t, somebody else will do it…

“It is not in our best interest and can in fact, and, I believe, will, be harmful to the interest of people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and those who wish to go to the United States.

“It is an extremely serious matter and therefore one must be more careful with who we push to go into such posts. Our image as a nation is also a function of how people in that kind of position operate in the country to which they are assigned.

“And because of what I know, I am ashamed of what has happened, and embarrassed that the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines should find themselves in that position today. It is a disgrace to our interest, and I am taking interest not only in the sense of the Government of the United States but in the people’s perception of us as a people, not only here, but outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace said.

“We cannot continue to operate on this basis in this country. We must be clear [about] exactly what we are doing and who we assign to carry out certain duties. … That is the situation and you will be hearing more in the next few hours.”

Source: http://www.iwnsvg.com/2014/02/11/deputy-consul-general-fired-because-of-passport-related-issues-source/

Eustace takes off the gloves at NDP public meeting

In an unusual move, for the Leader of the New Democratic Party, Hon. Arnhim Eustace took off the gloves slamming critics calling for leadership change within the NDP when he addressed the NDP’s public meeting at Mamas Corner in West St. George last Saturday. In a biting, and explosive presentation, Eustace explained that he will not tolerate corruption, questioning the motives of some of those who have publicly been critical of his leadership style within the New Democratic Party. Eustace went into some detail about one critic’s conduct as a functionary in charge of a statutory body, where he purported to hire a company with which he was connected, and paid them money from the statutory body to carry out work. Eustace remembers the figure as being some sixteen thousand dollars.

“I told him to bring it back tomorrow…or leave.”

The party president explained that he made the process for selecting the leader of the New Democartic party more democratic, increasing the base that elects the leader to include not only parliamentarians but convention delegates. He also reduced the number of years which a leader could serve, before having to seek re-election, reducing it from five years to three.
Eustace was upbeat about the NDP’s chances of winning the next general election, and made no bones about what he sees as the priorities for the incoming government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Jobs, Agriculture, Healthcare, lower utility costs, and an improved economy must be top of the list of issues which an NDP led administration would tackle.
The NDP’S Public Meeting Campaign took to Barrouallie some weeks ago where Ben Exeter, the Party’s new Candidate for the Central Leeward constituency made his debut on an NDP


The President of the NDP the Hon. Arnhim Eustace along with the Shadow Minister for Agriculture Hon. Roland “Patel” Matthews and NDP Candidate for North Windward Lauron “Sheara” Baptiste took their message of hope and redemption for the Agriculture Industry to the North Leeward constituency and Community of Fitz Hughes on Thursday evening.

In a presentation and question segment over three hours, the three speakers reiterated the NDP position that Agriculture is central to the nation’s economic recovery. Eustace detailed how income support, which he described as a “salary for banana farmers over six months,” would enable the farmers to focus their efforts on the recovery of their fields while being sure that their commitments to family and home could be met.

The Opposition Leader gave some background on his work in securing the purchase of The Banana business and the 50% share we have in the joint venture with Fyffes in the UK. He emphasized the merger between Fyffes and Chiquita as presenting great opportunities for our farmers to benefit and condemned the government for not exploring to discover and ultimately exploit these opportunities to the benefit of the farmers. Eustace described his effort to negotiate the joint venture which saw him sit as Chairman of the Board of WIBDECO, as one of the most important contributions he has made to the region and the industry. Shadow Minister Matthews focused his presentation on the opportunities that exist in Fishing as well as farming in the community and nationally, and blamed this government for neglect of the farmers and the industry in North Leeward and island wide.

Mr. Baptiste endorsed the views of the other presenters before him and ended the night with a power point presentation which encouraged the listening audience to support the NDP in its bid to lead the nation and pilot the recovery of a “critical and important agriculture and fishing industry.” This was the second of three NDP planned consultations which will target farmers nationally across the agriculture belt of the country.

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