Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves (C) with two of E.G. Lynch’s children Keino Spring and Shafia London (Photo: I-Witness News SVG)
By Ken Richards
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (WINN) -- St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was booed and jeered in his own constituency, as he tried to pay tribute to a rival and former friend at a funeral service.
Gonsalves was greeted with sustained booing for several minutes as he stood at the podium waiting to pay tribute to the late E.G. Lynch at Saturday’s funeral, and it did not stop when he tried to address the congregation.
"EG has been the point person on radio for the Opposition New Democratic Party's programme called 'New Times,' and he has been there for 11 years. Many people attribute to him the fact that he was the person who helped the New Democratic Party to gain ascendency after... Ralph came into office, because the NDP was decimated in the 2001 elections. So he was very, very, very caustic at times, very aggressive in terms of the way he presented the party's agenda," Kingstown-based journalist Jerry George explained.
"He is a person who Ralph has also sued three times I think, and got judgment against him. The prime minister decided that he was going to the funeral. He said that the family had invited him to come to the funeral. But there has been a lot of acrimony in between all of this, and he was advised... not to have gone to the funeral, because the opposition party supporters made it clear that he would not be welcomed,” he continued.
However, that did not stop Gonsalves. He was though, clearly stunned by the reaction, as video footage of the event showed.
"Well, the prime minister showed up, and when he was given an opportunity to speak, the audience in the church, the majority of them... decided that he was not going to speak... the prime minister stood there, and they refused to relent until he was advised by the family and others to... give it up,” George recounted.
WINN FM asked the veteran journalist whether Gonsalves' popularity is waning, or if the incident had occurred because he was in an opposition stronghold.
"You ask a very important question. This was in the heartland of the prime minister's constituency... he was literally in his front yard when all of this happened and I understand... that when he actually exited the church, he was booed so much that the security literally had to surround him and put him into the car, and he was literally booed out of his own constituency," George told WINN FM.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
EG Lynch's funeral marred by anti-Gonsalves protest