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St Vincent Prime Minister Makes Son New Finance Minister
Being miles away from home last night did not prevent St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves from the backlash of a controversy involving his son.
His handling of a situation in which a former model, Yugge Farrell, is claiming to have had an affair with his married son, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, prompted a small group of placard-bearing protestors – including a University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer – to disrupt a public lecture he was delivering at the Cave Hill Campus.
The Prime Minister has told his son not to speak on the allegation of the extramarital affair, which came to light after Farrell was charged last month with using abusive language to his son’s wife. The 22-year-old was remanded to the Mental Health Centre for observation when she appeared in court on the charge, but has since been released on bail until her next court appearance in December.
Many across the Caribbean have used social media and other outlets to criticize Gonsalves for alleged misuse of power and abuse of women over the years.
And last night, lecturer in Political Science and International Relations at the Cave Hill Campus Dr Kristina Hinds; Public Relations Officer of the National Organization of Women (NOW) Marsha Hinds; and Luci Hammans, of the Life in Leggings movement, made sure their voices were heard as they chanted “justice for Farrell” and “justice for all” as Gonsalves delivered a lecture on ‘Helping Hands or Damaging Lands?: The effects of international relief on CARICOM small island developing states’.
“We are in solidarity with our sisters across the region,” they chanted as they waved their placards.
The trio also demanded “an end to nepotism”.
“We do not like the abuse of power. We will not show deference to politicians or prime ministers, because we are in solidarity with our sisters across the region because women’s lives matter too,” declared Hinds.
However, their demonstration lasted just about 10 minutes before security officers and police escorted them from the room.
During the short-lived protest, the women declined an invitation from Prime Minister Gonsalves to discuss their concerns at a more “appropriate time”. Despite the rejection of his offer, the Vincentian leader said his invitation stood.
CAMILLO GONSALVES IS ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES’ NEW MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has handed over the important finance ministry to his son in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Camillo Gonsalves, 45, has taken over the responsibility held by his father since 2001.
It has been added to the portfolios he previously held – Economic Planning and Sustainable Development. But the other ministerial responsibilities for Industry, Information, Labour, Postal Service and the Bureau of Standards which he also held have been given to other Cabinet members.
Industry, Labour and Bureau of Standards have been added to Saboto Caesar’s existing post of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation.
“Outside of tourism, the economic levers, from a formal standpoint, are in the hands of Camillo and Saboto, of course, with the prime minister having oversight responsibilities,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said on a local radio station.
Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government, Senator Julian Francis takes on the further responsibility for Postal Services,while Minister of Education, Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs, St Clair Prince, has the added responsibility for Information.
The 71-year-old Prime Minister Gonsalves will continue as Minister of National Security, Air and Sea Port Development, Immigration and Legal Affairs.
The younger Gonsalves is expected to present his first budget as Minister of Finance by mid-January 2018.
The Prime Minister defended the Cabinet reshuffle and said it was important for the new Minister of Finance to be in place before the budget presentation.
“The new minister needs some time to familiarize himself in detail,” he said.