News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 14, 2014: A diplomat at the St. Vincent & the Grenadines, (SVG) consulate in New York has ignored calls from his government to return home.
Deputy Consul General of St. Vincent & the Grenadines to New York, Edson Augustus, has ignored the recall which was issued after the Ralph Gonsalves government said he was “involved in activities outside the scope of his employment and inimical to the interest of the Consulate General and the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Prime Minster Gonsalves told St. Vincent media company I-Witness News that Augustus has failed to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingstown, St. Vincent, five days after he was recalled.
As such, PM Gonsalves Augustus’ diplomatic passport has been withdrawn and his salary discontinued as of February 7th.
The SVG government announced on Monday that it had recalled Augustus but remained mum on the reason for the recall.
“Having subsequently received sufficient confirmation of those reports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines acted promptly in recalling Mr. Augustus with immediate effect,” a government statement said Monday.
Reports in the St. Vincent media, however, indicate the recall allegedly relates to Augustus’ handling of the issuing of some Vincentian passports.
Prime Minister Gonsalves, has refrained from commenting “on the specifics of the issues” surrounding the recall of the diplomat and neither has the foreign ministry.
Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, meanwhile, has called on the Gonsalves administration to detail to the nation why Augustus was fired.
“Other heads have to roll for this. Other people must have known what was going on, and I am sure that the United States knows what was going on and we have to bear that in mind,” Eustace was quoted as saying on his weekly radio program. “We can’t have no tightening of restrictions now on Vincentians trying to travel to the United States. We already have it with Canada, [do] we want to have it with the United States?”
Augustus was a former Seventh Day Adventist before he was named to the diplomatic post last year. He hails from Richland Park, St. Vincent and was a founding member of the Missionary Action Groups and led initiatives like Operation Compassion Ministries (OCM) and CAG’s (Community Action Groups). Augustus reportedly served 20 years in full time ministry, according to the OCM website which cited the former pastor’s favorite scripture verse as: “Remember to cover me that I might go in peace. Remember to keep me lifted that I might go in spirit. Keep my name on your lips, when you pray remember this; I need you to cover me.”