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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves Saga: The Long and Short of it

Anyone with any sense of or at lease some knowledge of foreign affairs, will know, Israel is one of the most hated nation in the middle eastern world, (some will differ with me and say, in the entire world) and this country share boarders, with countries that hates then (Israel) severely. Even worst than that; Israel  is in a part of the world that see every nations, say for about two exceptions, hold strong feelings of anger, resentment and hate for and against them. As a result, citizen and residence of Israel, have to live each day in fear of terrorist threats; unfortunately, for their diplomatic envoy and embassies world wide, they to have to function in their capacity on foreign soil, with the same level of fear as people on their home front.

When one is offered and accepts an ambassadorial posting of a country, or holds any diplomatic posting of any kind; one is expected at all time to, associate with people of good repute and act and speak as your posting demands. You are no longer representing yourself, your opinions, ideals, aspirations, and dream must take a back seat to those of your country, if they in any way conflicts with those of your mission or that which your post have entrusted upon you. One is expected to behave like a states man, carry oneself with specific decorum and behave with a level of diplomacy that can bring credit and respect to your country.

We have seen how activities in the private life of Koby Bryant and Tiger woods, cause them to lose their lucrative endorsement, for being poor ambassadors of the brand they represented. How much more important are the responsibilities, the role, and the sacrifice one is asked to make when one has such high calling, which involves representing a nation and all its people.

We all know, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines diplomatic mission, to the United Nations (UN), occupies the same building that houses the Israeli mission to the UN. And the NYPD has its hands full with keeping all of the missions that is housed in that building safe. The question that must be answered is this: was ambassador Gonsalves found in Violation of breaching the security of the building?  The ambassador made it clear that his point of entry was a point that he uses on a regular basis without any complication, he also point out the Israeli ambassador, also use that rout to get to and from his office. Not once, did I ever hear Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves declare that he was entering the building through the official point of entry. Is this a case of: I am accustomed doing the wrong thing and no one had ever corrected me before, so no one has the right to correct me now?

As a matter of fact, the Ambassador, or anyone who use that building for official or business purpose should not, on a regular basis, be using any other rout to enter or exit that edifice, other than via, those that was officially earmarked for the purpose. Exception could be made in the cases of great urgency and even then, the appropriate declarations and permissions should be made and granted before doing so.

From dwelling and holding a diplomatic post in the United Nation’s headquarters in New York City, Young Gonsalves, have to know how sensitive, the issue of security as it relates to terrorism is in this city. He should be aware, how overly sensitive the USA government more so New York City is about the protection of members of the Jewish community and anything that has to do with Israel. When ambassador Gonsalves breached the security of that building, by removing the security barriers that was put in place, to direct pedestrian traffic, when he failed to acknowledge and refused to comply with the on duty police officer instructions; he was putting the entire building and all of the foreign mission who conducts business there (including himself) in danger. That is a chance the on duty officer could not take, should not take and did not take.

Ambassador Gonsalves must realize he is not in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where security is not a real concern and anything goes, where his father holds the title deed to the piece of real-estate that is St. Vincent and the Grenadines; a place where he will be awarded certain courtesy base on facial recognition.

On the matter of diplomatic immunity:

 It is true, most diplomats are immune from arrest and prosecution by the law enforcement agencies of the host country; It is also true, the official posting of Camillo Gonsalves as Ambassador so awards him that privilege. It will be important to note, this does not mean that people who are protected by such immunities cannot be arrested and prosecuted. In order to do so however, the host nation has to follow specific diplomatic protocol and receive permission from the offending diplomat’s government to proceed with such actions. It is important to note; when a diplomat’s actions is so severe, that the host Government request permission to prosecute one of their immune diplomats, refusal may very well result in expulsion of the offending diplomat from the host nation and strain diplomatic relations between both countries.

On Camillo Gonsalves’ arrest:

When Camillo Gonsalves was stopped, his liberty was taken away and he was placed in hand cuffs, he was not Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves, permanent representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to the United Nation. To the officer he was just an unknown man, possible a terrorist, who had breach the security which he was responsible for. When The suspect (ambassador Camillo Gonsalves)was positively identified and he was verified as one having lawful rights to enter and exit that building to conduct business on his country’s behalf and the level of his posting afforded him certain privileges, one of which was immunity from arrest he was immediately released. Ambassador Gonsalves’ immunity privileges do not make his action right and the police officer’s action wrong. It does not matter how embarrassing this event was; Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves must come to the conclusion; his actions, was wrong and constitutes a serious criminal offence under the anti terror legislation. Many of men were arrested, charged, tried and was convicted for lesser offence that that which Ambassador Gonsalves inadvertently committed. This young man must also accept the fact, the police officer acted within the scope of his authority base on the information he was exposed to and that make his actions right, legal and lawful.

It is no doubt that there is an issue of racial prejudice exist within the ranks of the dominantly white NYPD, however, it was unfortunate that Ambassador Gonsalves, in his interviews, try to play the race card, by identifying the race of the officer as being white. Even if the officer’s actions was racially motivated, because Ambassador Gonsalves used a regularly use but un-official rout to enter the building and because he did not follow the protocol where identifying oneself is concerned when entering a high security risk area, he will have to suck salt on the issue of race, on this one. We are no stranger to the world of arrested, so lets count our loses and move on with life.

I know of and I have had some several negative experiences dealing with members of the New York City Police Department; I have undisputed documentation of several of the running that can bring disrepute to this institution. However, when it comes to the “official” word of the NYPD, (not a single or a few officers) I will take the NYPD’s words over camillo Gonsalves’ words any day. I do not know Camillo personally, but the acorn does not fall to far from the tree. It is sad that I have judge this young man’s actions base on the public behavior of the father; but when you understand family dynamics as it relates to the influences, transmission and the adoption of parental behavior as I do, you will understand my position.

It is important to note, the outer perimeter and the inside of this building is littered with high tech surveillance cameras which is controlled by a state of the arts security operational system. So there is no hiding the truth. There is no doubt that the administration would have review the footage of the incident before replying to the claims of an international representative before making a media release.

My Disappointment:                  

It was my disappointment, with the level of bias that filled the commentary that was written by Sir. Renold Saunders (which was published on the Caribbean News Now) that led me to write on this matter. It was unfortunate that this writer refused to properly research this story before he write and submit his commentary for publication. Although he made it clear that he wrote the piece base on Ambassador Gonsalves’ prospective, it would have lend some credibility to his writing and his character if he took some time to use google in an effort to get the New York Police Department side of the story. This only tells me that Mr. Saunders is not a writer any thinking man (and worst if you are not a thinking man) should pay any attention to or take serious.

Allan Palme

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