Thursday, April 05, 2012


Release from Star983fm

Chairman of the United Nations CARICOM Group, Delano Bart, who is also St Kitts and Nevis permanent representative to the United Nations, has accused the New York City Police Department of “flagrant violation” of the rules of diplomatic immunity and privileges by aggressively arresting the ambassador of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Reuters news agency reported that, in a letter to US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, Bart said the incident occurred on Wednesday after St Vincent's envoy, Camillo Gonsalves, stepped out of his car. Gonsalves is the son of the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves. Bart said in the letter, which was obtained by Reuters on Friday that Gonsalves walked past a police barrier to take the elevator to his office. “On his way to the elevator, he was shouted at and confronted by a police officer, who rudely questioned his action and then grabbed him by the neck and shoulder, displaying undue physical harassment against the ambassador,” Bart wrote.

Under international agreements, the United States commits to recognizing diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution for accredited foreign diplomats. The New York Police Department (NYPD) could face possible legal action as Caribbean governments respond to the detention and handcuffing of this country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Camillo Gonsalves.

According to reports, CARICOM ambassadors sent strong protest notes to the United States ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice and to Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon expressing their outrage at the situation. It is understood that Caribbean ambassadors spoke out against what they described as the blatant and aggressive conduct of the police officer who handcuffed Mr. Gonsalves.