KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 20, IWN – Vincentians in “voluntary exile” who fancy themselves the nation’s next leader but have never run “a fowl coop” have been criticised by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for their “general antipathy and suspicion”.
Gonsalves’ criticism came at a media conference last week as he spoke about the importance of balance when managing the economy.
“But when we get foreign direct investment, even before a foreign direct investor sets up shop, or a local investor, you begin to hear complaints about this or that and you begin to hear people on the Internet, ‘Well this fella was once bankrupt, where are you going with him?’”
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, asked if bankruptcy is a problem, why are so many U.S. states trying to woo Donald Trump, who has been bankrupt multiple times.
“It (bankruptcy) is a form of business arrangement to put yourself in order and come back again,” he said.
He added that while citizens have to cut out their “general antipathy and suspicion”, the State also has to be careful about investor.
“We have to be careful whom we get, make sure they are not involved in money laundering, make sure they are not involved in drug trafficking, trafficking of persons or the financing of terrorism or any such activities. But you are not looking for candidates to be pope, when you are looking for an investor, or somebody to be canonised as saint,” he said.
He said citizens know these things.
“But we allow one or two people to run us in directions which are entirely unproductive and wasting time with the discussion.
“And, invariably, some of these persons have no interest in setting back foot in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but just want to create mischief.
“And some of them are frustrated politicians. I believe for every five of 10 educated Vincentians overseas who have an interest in politics, … they fancy themselves as the next prime minister, they have every solution to everything under the sun, everything is Ralph’s fault, just give them a chance.
“But they might be in Brooklyn or Toronto, they never run a fowl coop in their life, they jump on the train, they go to work on mornings, they work somewhere, they get the money to go back, they eat some food, they drink two beers, they jump on the Internet and they start to imagine themselves –
“It is a nice, voluntary exile, creates a particular kind of mind-set with some people. And, of course, we have some in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. But, what we need is hard work and smart work, disciplined work. That is how we have to grow,” Gonsalves said.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we mistakenly wrote “fowl coup”. The correct term is “fowl coop”.