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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves Saga - part 2: Clearing up ambiguities

 Caribbean News Now

It seems as if the letter which was written by me and was captured The Ambassador Gonsalves Saga: the long and short of it, appear to have been the only voice to express opposition to the ambassador’s actions and declared Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves to be at fault for causing his arrest and by extension acknowledged and deem the police officer’s actions against the ambassador to be Justified. As a result of that article, many questions were asked, some of the questions were asked not as a genuine search for answer, but to aid in casting a shadow of confusion on the real issue. Apparently, there are those who have saw it fit, to help the ambassador has monopolize on his newly found status of victim, by hosting a town hall meeting last evening: April 11th, 2012, to discuss the events as it relates to the Ambassador misfortune.

As report states the St. Vincent mission had a visit of USA ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice who was true to her post and reach out to my ambassador and  expressed her regrets, such a thing happened to Ambassador Gonsalves. Less anyone get the wrong impression, my stance or honest views on this matter, is nor a sign that I am jubilant over my ambassador’s experience, for I too am sorry, this young man had to experienced such misfortune; my sorrow does not blind me to the facts and cause me to indulge in dishonest rambling; my sorrow also does not negate the fact; the police officer acted in good faith and his actions was legal and reasonable whilst Ambassador Gonsalves actions was not.

If the New York City mayor and the Police Commissioner though that the officer action, under the circumstance, was not the actions that could be expected of any reasonable person, and the officer’s actions constituted an violation of the ambassador’s rights, he would have been issued with public apologies from these to officials and without a doubt; the Brooklyn Representative, Councilman Jumaane Williams, would have been the first man, working the streets, beating the main symbol on Camillo Gonsalves’ behalf against the NYPD.

Let me take some time, to answer a few of the question that was asked. I will do so in order to lend some semblance of clarity for those who are genuinely seeking to understand this seemingly hairy matter. We must view the questions and answer with the prospective: Hind sight is 20/20. We must also understand that the officer in this case did not have the benefit of hindsight, but acted in real time and responded as he saw the events unfold.

There is an issue as it relates to the jurisdiction of the building in relation to the New York City Police officer entering the same; this in it self is not an issue. Although the building in question is used to house international, diplomatic missions, the edifice is considered a public building. This is so for the simple fact, the building is used by many different entities and the public has conditional access to the building. Therefore, the police going into that building do not constitute a trespass as some are trying to suggest. We must also remember, the police action was done, to restore a security breach in the outer perimeter that advanced to the inside of the building. We must not forget the officer’s objective, in this case, was to ensure the welfare of the occupants of the building.

What Constitutes Trespass in Diplomatic circles

The event that occurred here and the nature and use of the building, places this situation in a completely different category. It is different when a sovereign nation takes possession of a compound or property: by lease, rent or purchase and go through the correct procedures to set up an embassy within that perimeter. Then the activities that is carried out within the confines of the boundary, is no business of the host government and cannot be questioned or investigated by the law enforcement of the host government. In a similar case, where an embassy shares a building with other entity, (commercial or other wise) it certainly do not make that building off limit to law enforcement, however only that portion of space which is occupied by the nation for the purpose of and is considered the embassy is off limit.

In such case, it is only upon the official request or a similar invitation, of the alien sovereign nation can the law enforcement of the host country encroachment onto the premises of that which was declared an embassy (which is considered foreign soil) means other than an official request or similar invitation, such actions will be consider a serious breach of the diplomatic protocol and amount up to trespass.

I am sorry to inform, the supporters of Ambassador Camillo Gonsaloves, the police officer’s actions to meet and take action against the unknown person, who he later found out to be Ambassador Gonsalves. Unfortunate for ambassador Camillo Gonsalves; the police acted in good faith and he had territorial and lawful Jurisdiction to act in the manner he did.

One person was of the opinion that Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves should not have been arrested and placed in hand cuff. Let me answer this question this way. If you were a police or a security officer and you were assigned to be on duty at a high security risk area, such as United Nation Mission. And your responsibilities were among other things, to ensure the security of the mission and those who dwell there. While there you see an unknown man, (according to the police officer he did not know who Ambassador Gonsalves was) removing the barriers that was put in place to direct and restrict pedestrian movement in and around the perimeter of that building, you shouted to that person who ignored your effort to stop him. What will you do?

1.       Will you go in pursuit of that unknown person and apprehend that person then make inquiries?

2.       Or will you leave him alone hoping that he or she was not a terrorist?

Before you give an honest answer I will like for you to consider the under mentioned events and possibilities which are:

1.       Don’t forget there are thousands of terrorist sleeper cells in and around the USA and in New York City.

2.       Don’t forget year before last December, a man parked a car bomb in Manhattan that could have killed thousand if poor electronic skills did not cause a flaw in the mechanism.

3.       Don’t forget the underpants bomber.

4.        Don’t forget the 911 bombing of the World Trade Center. 

5.       And don’t forget the fact at approximately 10:35 am, on today’s date: Thursday 12 April, 2012, NYPD evacuated number two (#2) World Finical Center, (a building in the finical district in Manhattan) because a suspicious package was sent to the building, although it turned out the package did not post a real threat.  

6.       The person may have a weapon

7.       It takes only a twitch of a finger or dialing redial in a digital or cell phone to activate a bomb and kill everyone with the building including you.

Now put yourself in that officer’s place; what would you have done? I sure would have erred on the side of caution, as the NYPD did on July 12th 2012, when they evacuated thousand of people from number two ( #2) World Financial center; which is the wise thing to do.

One person is concerned that according to Gonsalves’ account of the incident, the manner in which the police officer addressed Ambassador Gonsalves was responsible for motivating the younger Gonsalves, to intentionally ignore the police officer’s effort to stop him. My first answer to this is: two wrongs do not make a right and a soft answer turn away wrath.

We must remember that the ambassador is not a gangster and he was not hired to be a gangster, The Ambassador is not from Bottom Town the place where I was born or the slum (Paul’s Lot), two areas within St. Vincent which is noted for public bad behavior and people who are  defiant of and to authority. We must not forget that Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves was hired to be an ambassador. One who is endowed with the responsibility to behave and interact on his country’s behalf with diplomacy?

Diplomacy means: to negotiate between nations, skillful in the handling of a situation.  

·         Did Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves act with diplomacy?

·         Aren’t Ambassadors and other officials who are appointed or hired to serve in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines diplomatic missions trained in the art of diplomacy?

There are rumors hinting the St. Vincent and the Grenadines mission, is considering taking legal actions against the NYPD and the officer in question. It will be good for them to pursue legal actions, and it will be even more interesting to read the finding of the judge. I think a legal judgment; will declaring the Ambassador’s actions to be wrong and clear the police officer of any wrong doing. Unfortunately this is exactly what we needed to set the record straight. What the government and people of St. Vincent need, is another international embarrassment.

Here are three questions, for which we must search for answers; questions as it relates to this incident and they are:

§  Could this incident been avoided?

§  Did the person who is trained in art of and is expected to practice of diplomacy in his professional and private life (Ambassador Gonsalves) acted with the level of diplomacy that could have brought a speedy resolution to this mater before it escalated into the Jersey shore style dramatic saga that it turned out to be?

§  Should we blame the police officer for being firm and taking action that was a display of courage and vigilance?

Mr. Editor I rest my case.

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