On Thursday 5th August, at approximately 5:15pm, the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, duly elected Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, was physically assaulted and wounded by Opposition demonstrators while attempting to enter the House of Assembly.
Approximately 200 demonstrators, responding to a call to action from the Leader of the Opposition, picketed the Parliament and blocked the entrance to building. When the crowd prevented the vehicle carrying the Honourable Prime Minister from driving through the gate of the Parliament, he alighted the vehicle and attempted to enter on foot.
An Opposition demonstrator then hurled a projectile at the Prime Minister, which struck him in the head, inches above the temple. The Prime Minister, bleeding profusely, was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital by his security detail, where he was met by his wife.
The Prime Minister is now recuperating under the care of Hospital staff. He will remain at the Hospital overnight for observation. He has informed his colleagues that his is recovering, and reaffirmed that no lawless mob will prevent him from doing the people’s business in the seat of our democracy.
Further, the Prime Minister strongly reiterated his belief in the solemnity of the vote as a cornerstone of parliamentary democracy and basis of governmental legitimacy. In spite of his injuries, the Prime Minister welcomed all peaceful demonstration as a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution, but cautioned that legitimate peaceful demonstration should in no way impede parliamentarians’ rights of entrance and egress from the House of Assembly.
Moreover, the use of violence in pursuit of political purposes is entirely unacceptable. We expect that the perpetrator of the actual act of violence will be brought to justice.
Such an act is to be unequivocally condemned. Equally to be condemned are the instigators and back-room authors of this kind of violence.