By Kenny Bailey
As St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves embarks on a diplomatic journey to the first-ever Caricom-Saudi Arabia Summit in Riyadh, a curious scenario unfolds within his delegation. The presence of two key figures – Seon Marshall, the Prime Minister’s long-standing Press Secretary, and an enigmatic figure known colloquially as ‘Candyman,’ the newly appointed Press Officer, Shevrell McMillan – raises pertinent questions about the dynamics of power and influence in the backdrop of international diplomacy.
The contrast in the roles and visibility of these two individuals is striking. While Marshall has traditionally been a fixture in the Prime Minister’s press team, his absence in such a high-profile international summit is conspicuous. Conversely, ‘Candy Man,’ who reportedly accompanies the Prime Minister everywhere, has rapidly ascended in prominence within the delegation’s hierarchy. This raises a fundamental question: In the realm of public influence and inner-circle access, who truly is ‘the man’?
‘Candy Man’s’ presence at the API and his despicable confrontational interactions there only add layers to this unfolding narrative. Such behavior seems unbecoming for someone in a position of diplomacy and public communication. It brings to light the critical issue of professionalism and decorum expected from those representing a nation on the global stage.
On the other side, Seon Marshall’s absence could be interpreted in several ways. Is it a strategic move, keeping him in the background for more significant tasks? Or does it signal a shift in the Prime Minister’s inner circle, with ‘Candy Man’ now taking a more front-and-center role? The optics of this situation are crucial, especially considering the high stakes and opportunities presented by the Caricom-Saudi Arabia Summit.
The summit itself is a pivotal moment for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The discussions on climate change, trade, and investment, and the focus on the Saudi Arabia Development Fund, are opportunities for significant advancements. Each member of the delegation, including Hon. Benarva Browne, Hon. Shackell Bobb, Ms. Angie Williams, Mr. Cecil Harris, Mr. Tony Regisford, Mrs. Janelle Hannaway-Horne, Ms. Avanell Da Silva, and Sgt. Kendal Horne – I assume – plays a vital role in representing the nation and advocating for its interests.
In this context, the delegation’s internal dynamics take on added importance. The contrasting roles of Seon Marshall and ‘Candy Man’ are not just a matter of personal intrigue; they potentially reflect on the delegation’s effectiveness and the image of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a high-profile international forum.
Therefore, as the delegation heads to Riyadh, the question remains: Who is ‘the man’ in the context of wielding influence and shaping the nation’s diplomatic narrative? Is it Seon Marshall, with his experience and established role, or ‘Candy Man’, the new face with seemingly direct access to the Prime Minister?
The answer to this might lie not just in their titles, but in their actions, influence, and the outcomes of this significant summit.
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