It is sad, but the truth be told, Vincentians have an extremely short memory. As the saying goes in St Vincent and the Grenadines, when there is a scandal: “It is only a nine days talk.” After nine days pass, then it will all go away. Unfortunately, when the unaffected members of the community stop empathizing and sympathizing with the injured party, it sure does not mean that the pain and the difficulties of the injured party automatically go away with the attention and concern of the community.
Say, for example, the pain of the female police officer who accused Ralph Gonsalves of rape, even after seven years her pain has not left her because the community, which she protected and served, stopped caring and in some case never cared. Miss Margaret Parsons’ trauma resulted from the alleged sexual assault by Ralph Gonsalves, which occurred when she kept an appointment to meet with him in his office, one professional to another, has not gone away.
Just a few months ago Pastor Edson Augustus was recalled from his post of deputy consul general for dishonestly and fraudulently obtaining thousands of United States dollars from illegal immigrants in New York City. Although it seems like no one cares anymore, the plight and the hardship of Pastor Edson Augustus and PM Ralph Gonsalves’ victims in New York City are still there confronting them. The victims are still without their monies and they are still without the right to live and work in the USA legally but,, what is worse, the victims have no lawful means of redress.
It is unfortunate that Augustus was an agent of Gonsalves and the political entity that Gonsalves leads, the Unity Labour Party (ULP), and one of his unofficial assignments in the USA was to rally Vincentians living in the USA to make financial contributions to the Argyle International Airport and the re-election of the ULP as well as the victimization of anyone he (Augustus) and Gonsalves saw fit.
It is hard to believe that a man of the cloth, Edson Augustus, would have stooped so low as to swindle poor illegal immigrants out of their hard earned monies. Information reaching the desk of my point of view said that many of the people who Augustus swindled out of their monies would have invested all that they had, twenty years of savings, with the hope of living and working legally in the United States of America.
They have cleaned grimy floors, white and old people’s backsides, taken insults, while working below minimum wages to accumulate the seven and eight thousand dollars he (Augustus) stole from his unsuspecting victims. There are some people who have stashed away that money just in case they were deported so at least they would not have to go begging and/or depending on the charity of friends and families.
It will be unfortunate if any of those people are deported now. They will be sent back to St Vincent and the Grenadines without a red penny to get from the airport to their homes, they will not be able to eat without relying on some good Samaritan, be it friends and/or family.
There are also those who have borrowed monies from friends, family and their employers in order to meet Pastor Augustus’ demand of eight thousand dollars to obtain their green cards. Monies that have to be repaid from below minimum wages salaries; this has to be done while meeting their daily living expenses, as well as rendering help to families at home. It is not an easy path Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Pastor Edson Augustus have sent these people on. Where is justice for these victims?
Yet the prime minister saw fit to allow Augustus to keep his diplomatic passport, and manage the stolen funds from which he (Edson Augustus) is now living a fairly comfortable life on, monies that total almost US$400,000 (monies swindled from illegal Vincentian and Caribbean nationals). I guess, Augustus played a master stroke, and Gonsalves rewarded rough Pastor Augustus for a job well done. What kind of pastor and what kind of prime minister will rob the poor?
Allan H. Palmer